So we all know the minimum requirements tell us that Derby Girls need to be able to hit and take a hit, as well as be able to look right, left and all that while skating. I’ve come up with a few super simple drills to practice this.
First drill is the Super 3-Way Blocking Triangle of Death. Ok, I just now made that name up but it sounds better than “3 girls blocking”. See, how boring is that name? Anyway, split your girls up into teams of 3. Give them some room to spread out with their team on the track, because it can get messy. Have each team of 3 girls skate together shoulder to shoulder in a nice little line. The girl in the middle will be receiving the shoulder checks. Her only job is to defend. Make sure to cover proper stance, staying low, etc before hand.
Ok, now the girls on the outside will be executing shoulder checks on our target girl in the center. I like to have girls on either side because it will give them a feel for shoulder checking from both sides. The girl in the middle will be getting the crap kicked out of her, but she will learn to take those hits. After a minute, I blow the whistle, and another of the 3 girls takes the place in the middle. Keep switching up the middle girl at 1 minute intervals. I do this drill from anywhere from 6-8 minutes, depending how much of an asshole I want to be.
This next one is very simple. I expect other teams do this, but I’ve never seen it written down so here you go. I call this the Booty Blocking Cube of Pain. Ok, I don’t really call it that. Hell, it has nothing to do with cubes at all. But I like cubes. Actually this is a partner drill. Have your girl grab a partner… or assign one if, like our team, it takes 2 hours to figure out who is going to be partners with whom. Ok, so the object of this is to work on looking over your shoulders and staying in front of your opponent utilizing speed and agility. While skating quickly around the track, one Girl 1 will block, while the Girl 2 will attempt to skate past her. Girl 1 will quickly move back and forth to stay square in front of Girl 2. Emphasize watching for quick moves and being aware of what direction the opponent is going to move. Once Girl 2 has passed Girl 1, they switch up, and Girl 1 now begins to try and skate past Girl 2, and so on. I run this drill for a good 6-8 minutes, or longer.
This next one is The Endless Jammer Drill I choose to call it the Jammer Blocking Rhombus of Discomfort which is way catchier. Imagine it on a t-shirt and tell me that isn’t catch-phrase gold. Anyways, this one is a pack drill. Grab about 5-6 girls and put them in a pack. Now grab another 5-6 girls and line them up about 20 ft from the pack, in a line, one behind the other, these will be the “jammers” for this drill. The pack will begin skating at regular pack speed. The line of jammers will skate behind maintaining their distance. At the whistle, the first in the line of jammers will maker her way to the pack and attempt to get through. The pack needs to block the hell out of her, emphasize strong shoulder checks, booty blocking, building walls, etc and so forth. Once the Jammer is knocked down, or out of bounds, immediately blow the whistle and the next girl in the line of jammers will make her way to the pack. The idea is to not give the pack time to rest, constantly sending jammer after jammer into them. Now once a jammer is knocked out of bounds, knocked down, or actually gets through the pack, she will return to the end of the jammer line and prepare to go in again. I like to let all the jammers try and make their way through about twice before calling the drill and changing out the pack and jammer line. It's good times.
I also highly recommend purchasing a blocking pad (the kind used in football, karate, Extreme Hungarian Fish Slapping, etc) and practicing shoulder checks. While holding the pad you can get a feel for what that particular girl will need to work on to maximize her strength.
Thanks to D. Dan Devious
Panama City Roller Derby
Coach/MC/Ambassador of Goodwill/Dancing Machine