Have you been told you “skate tall” or that you stand up too much when you skate derby? This is especially noticeable if you are a taller person in general. Trust me a 6 foot tall derby skater gets in trouble for it way more often than the 5 foot 1 inch skater does. Not that I ever rolled my eyes at the coach for that one. (if she asks that is the answer, okay?) Either way, every skater will benefit from having better derby form.
There are MANY ways to work on your form, I will go over five tips that I found most useful when I first started derby.
Tip one – for getting better derby form, this may sounds like a no-brainer, but it really is important. Make sure you are concentrating on it every time you are in skates. Going to a social skate? GREAT! Make sure you sit into your form the whole time. Going outdoor skating? GREAT! Make a mental note to check your derby form frequently. By making a conscious effort to make sure you hold your derby form even if you are not skating for derby at that particular moment, that will help you hold it when you are skating derby. It will become second nature. That means eventually when you are in the middle of a scrimmage you will be able to concentrate on strategy and helping your jammer, because you no longer even have to think about keeping your form correct it will just happen!
Tip two – exaggerate the form. If you are just doing laps or a social skate, practice several laps getting way lower than you need to. Then rest from it either in regular derby stance or standing more up-right for a lap or two, depending on your abilities, then back into the exaggerated stance, switching between the two. By doing more than you have to, this will make the correct derby form more comfortable. This is the same rule you use for perfecting your crossovers, you isolate the movement, exaggerate it and then when you put it all together it becomes so much more natural.
Tip three – SQUAT!!! ALL.THE.TIME. Making sure you squat correctly is important, so please make sure you have your form on your squats correct, knees, toes, butt in the right place. Then get your booty low and get to squattin’! Spending time in a squat while not actually skating will help you build up those muscles that you need for holding your form.
Tip four – make it a game while watching TV. This was one of the really great tips I first got from a derby vet when I joined. Love watching TV? Great! You can use that time. During commercials, make it a game, kind of like a drinking game…but way healthier and less likely to cause poor decisions later in the evening. At the beginning of a commercial standup and then hover your booty over the chair or couch you were sitting on., in a—-you guessed it! —squat! You can start out by just holding it for one commercial, then rest during the next, then back to a squat for the next one. Eventually working to holding it for the entire commercial break. Then heck, for the entire TV show one day!
Tip five – wall sits. This again builds the muscles you need for when you need to be in derby form! Again starting at a certain amount of time you hold it and increasing once you improve. I personally would do 5 sets of 30 seconds when I first started and as that became less make-me-want-to-cry-out-in-pain-the-whole-time-ish, then I would bump up the amount of time of each one in the set 45 seconds, 60 seconds etc.
Remember always consult a doctor before starting any exercise plan, we are not doctors, I am just trying to share some tips to help you have the best derby form possible, so you can concentrate on the important stuff…like laying out the opposing jammer…errr I mean…frontal blocking like a pro!