#1 Welcome to derby! You made it! Now the hard work really really starts. It is imperative that you put in as much time as you can on skates, because even though the league gives you time to learn skills, you are ultimately held responsible for your progress. If your plow stops are not what they should be, you need to hit every open skate possible and work work work on your skills!
#2 Derby isn't how you get into shape; you have to get into shape FOR derby. That means you have to do cross training. I suggest you ride a bike, run, lift weights, walk, do yoga, dance naked in your living room, I don't care, just get out there and do it!
#3 Don't get butthurt if the veterans don't talk to you at first. Derby is a sport where many people are really driven and self focused. Also, derby is a sport where many people join originally with great enthusiasm, and then eventually fade away. Sometimes it's hard for veteran skaters to build relationships with newbies and have them walk away after a couple of weeks. My newbie class had six members, and only two of us are still skating, so do the math.
|Ballz and I were the last two standing....uh, skating. This picture is before we had derby butts.|
#5 Watch footage with a veteran skater. If you can bribe a veteran skater to watch footage with you and explain it, you will be on your way to being a better derby player. As a word of advice, don't watch a game in which she played; she'll be too distracted critiquing her own performance to really enlighten you. By the way, beer is a good bribe.
#6 Bond with your fellow newbies. They're the ones going through the same ordeals that you are; get together at open skates, plan footage viewing, check up on each other. You are going to need support to get through this and so are they. Don't get jealous of one of your group learning something quicker than you. Ballz had been skating and teaching skating for years before she joined derby, so she was head and shoulders ahead of me in the skills department. It just made me try harder.
This is just some basic advice I have for newbies; it's a hard position to be in, but it can be made a lot easier by following my advice. And by the way....CONGRATS FOR MAKING IT!