5 Ways to Empower Junior Roller Derby Skaters to Take Hits like Champs

South Side GirlsSkater Spotlight

5 Ways to Empower Junior Roller Derby Skaters to Take Hits like Champs

Since 2006, I’ve been coaching tweens and teens in the fast-paced, exhilarating sport of junior roller derby. My name is Brenda Holley, and throughout my coaching journey, I’ve seen many young skaters struggle with the intensity of the game. One of the major obstacles I’ve encountered is teaching these skaters to take 100% roller derby hits without feeling bullied or ending up in tears.

Over time, I’ve developed a five-step approach that has successfully transformed my team’s mindset, empowering them to handle hard hits while maintaining their sportsmanship. Here’s how I did it:

1. Foster a Positive Team Culture

The first step was to cultivate an atmosphere of encouragement and support within the team. I made sure to emphasize that every hit or block is part of the game, not a personal attack. We started each training session by reminding ourselves about the importance of respect for each other and the sport.

2. Teach Proper Falling Techniques

Roller derby is a contact sport, and falls are inevitable. The key is to teach skaters how to fall safely and get back up quickly. By learning proper falling techniques, they became less fearful of hits and more confident on their wheels.

3. Incorporate Strength Training

Strength training for roller derby is essential. It not only improves performance but also helps to reduce the impact of hits. We incorporated strength training exercises into our routines to help the skaters build muscle and resilience.

4. Practice Scrimmages Regularly

Regular scrimmages helped the skaters become accustomed to the physicality of roller derby. These practice games allowed them to experience real hits in a controlled environment, helping to desensitize them over time.

5. Encourage Open Communication

Lastly, I encouraged open communication amongst the team. If a skater felt uncomfortable or upset after a hit, they were encouraged to voice their feelings. This helped us address any issues promptly and reassured the skaters that their feelings mattered.

These five strategies have proven successful in helping my junior roller derby skaters handle 100% hits without feeling bullied or resorting to tears. It’s been a rewarding journey to see them grow into resilient, sportsmanlike athletes who can take hits like champs. Roller derby is a tough sport, but with the right mindset and preparation, our young skaters are proving they’re tougher!

Brenda Holley / Tater#300
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