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A Blog Written By Skaters for Skaters

7 Tips on How to Become a Derby Girl

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So you want to become a derby girl, right? We know how you feel. The adrenaline rush, cool alias, plus the thrill of rolling in a mad frenzy are too awesome to pass up.

Aside from the coolness factor, roller derby is not for the faint of heart and weak of knees; there are times when you collide with skaters, take a fall and even get into fights with other players while deep in the game. But all these are worth it because being a derby girl is totally fun!

Many of you may ask — how do I become a derby girl? We have a few tips to get you started. Let’s roll ’em out:

1. You must be able to skate. This is a no-brainer but you definitely must know how to roll. You don’t have to be an expert though; skaters in all skill levels are much welcome. Just knowing the basics and having good balance are enough, coupled with the drive to learn, the willingness to improve your skills and the openness to work with a team.

Quick tip: There are derby teams that accept first-time skaters, as long as they are eager to learn and show promise as a derby girl. Visit your local rink and ask about derby team schedules and tryout information.

2. You need to gear up. Derby girls should always wear protective gear and own the right skates. Roller derby is a contact sport and involves a lot of fast skating, maneuvers, blocks, jams and falls. Here’s a rundown of roller derby must-haves:

  • 4 Wheel or Quad Roller Skates
    • Helmet
    • Wristguards
    • Elbow and knee pads
    • Mouthguard
  • Aside from these essentials, derby girls should wear clothes such as pants, shorts or tights where they can move comfortably and also serve as protection from falls or slides. For teams, uniforms may be a requirement. As a rule, always be dressed to sweat!

    Quick tip: Fashion is now a vital part of being a derby girl — the key is to express yourself. You can wear fishnet stockings, knee-high socks, skirts and even statement panties! Roller derby boots and wheels in vibrant colors and cool designs are also available. Check out your local rink shop or visit online sites that offer derby wear and skates.

    3. Go on tryouts. The wannabe derby girl should enter in tryouts offered by derby teams. These leagues have open recruitments where you will be evaluated while skating with a small group of skaters.

    Be ready for a short interview as well. Derby leagues are looking for committed skaters so make sure you are trying out for the right reasons. Call backs soon follow and you will be required to join many training sessions. Skaters are then selected and will move on to become full members of the derby league. A complete list of derby leagues can be found at the website of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) here.

    Quick tip: Before trying out, try to build your endurance as hard as you can, on- and off-track through skating or even running. Strengthen your lower body as well as your core muscles through exercises.

    4. Make time for skating. Derby leagues offer practice sessions and training but as an individual skater, make sure you skate a few hours a week at your local rink or park.

    5. Know the rules. Many see roller derby as a wrestling match slash hockey game on wheels — with no holds barred. There are actually rules set for every bout. Each league has its own rules but it also strictly follows those set by the WFTDA. You can read about it here.

    6. Have a positive attitude. Derby girls should always have the right skate-titude. Be willing to apply new knowledge, listen to opinion or critique, and give your all to truly enjoy being a derby girl.

    7. Choose your alias. Congratulations, you’re now part of the team! After the grueling training sessions, you’ve finally been made a full member. Now comes the cool part: choosing your moniker. Be as creative and hardcore as you can be! Your pseudonym should represent the bad ass derby girl in you–ready to face opponents and whipping it real hard!

    Quick tip: No two derby girls can carry the same alias. For a quick check, see a comprehensive list of monikers here.

    Being a derby girl requires full commitment, time, budget and perseverance, but the benefits are tremendous. So, go ahead and skate on! Who knows, you might be the next queen of a derby team!