Skills, Drills and Spills (Part 2)

A big part of roller derby is the set of minimum skills that every skater needs to be able to do in order to be game ready. These skills range from being able to stand on one leg in skates for 30 seconds, all the way up to taking and giving a big ol’ full body check safely.

Passing minimum skills is a rite of passage for every skater – and it isn’t easy, and it definitely isn’t always quick! In this series, some of our skaters share their minimum skills journeys and their top tips for persevering when it seems like 27 in 5 or reverse crossovers are constantly out of reach.

Half Hinch

Photo by David Prentice

How long have you been skating?

Technically, since 2010.

What level are you skating at now?

A Team

How long did it take you to pass your minimum skills in full?

Approximately five years

How did you feel while you were working towards passing?

Fun. I’ve said this a bunch of times to our pre min skaters, that learning curve you have when you first start skating is exhilarating.

What was the final skill you passed?

Leaning.

How did you feel after you passed?

FINALLY. It was also at a really bad time for me, I’d just been given leave from work to deal with depression and I had no idea what I was doing with my life. Derby was something I was doing well at and pushed me a bit forward.

What advice would you give to yourself back then?

Don’t give up.

What advice would you give to people who are worried about passing min skills now?

I think the only thing you should really do is everything! Do everything, get feedback, talk to more people, try and make things click, ask questions. You can’t take it too seriously either, it loses its fun if it’s too serious.

Anything else you’d like to say?

I started skating in 2010 when I was 19. I didn’t do particularly great, I pootled about a bit, could skate in a straight line, plough stop, knee tap etc. Then, I moved to Manchester and joined Rainy City where I thought “I like this” but I was pretty busy at university. I still didn’t pass, but I definitely got a lot better. I then moved to Germany and joined a brand new team called Sucker Punch Ultras, so we spent a lot of time doing ploughs and other basic skills. THEN…I came home. It was final year of university. Worst year ever. No skating. Much sad. Stupid degree. So when I finished, I came back to Sheffield and started with SSRG, AGAIN. This time, I took my time and enjoyed it and worked hard, and reader, I’m proud to tell you, I passed. I passed after five years of skating!

When I passed, my mental health was awful. Derby was a bit of a release and also a support network. What I want you to know is that it’s OK to have your own thing and to have different strengths to the others you started with and to have different time constraints. It’s OK that you need help from us as a team, and whether that’s mental or physical help, chances are someone will understand you and have your back!

Also in this series:

Part 1

Part 3

Part 4

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