Monday, January 28, 2013

Bring It On

There are some movies that I love to watch, even though they're horrible movies.  If it's a lazy weekend afternoon, and one of my secret favorite movies come on, I will probably stop and watch a few minutes of it, if not the whole thing.   I'm sure everyone has a list like that; mine include "Ten Things I Hate About You", "Big Trouble in Little China", "The Thing" and, hanging my head in shame,  "Bring It On!"
Image found here.

If you're unfamiliar with Bring It On, it's a throw away movie about a cheer leading squad who discovers at the last moment before their championship, they have to create an entirely new routine. In order to make their routine exciting, unique and challenging, they research all types of dance styles, mime, and even martial arts.   Of course, they have a great routine and even learn a lesson or two about how to be a team, blah blah blah.  I never said it was Shakespeare, but I think that it does have a lesson that derby training can learn from, we all need to think outside of the box and look to new areas for training.

Derby is a fairly new sport, regardless of its several incarnations in the past; we have to look to various sports and physical exploits to glean some skills from; it's fine and good to watch derby and see what other teams might be doing to get those footwork skills, but have you looked at non roller sports to make your team even more awesomer?  (Awesomer is a perfectly cromulent word.)  Here are some ideas for you to research if you're looking to up your game.

1. Soccer footwork drills.  According to some of the Gotham team members I've been lucky to interview,  soccer drills can make all of the difference in footwork.  Off skates drills are not my favorite part of derby practice, but they do seem to be working.  The great thing about soccer drills is you can literally find them anywhere on the web; I can't wait for derby to be as universal as soccer is.

2. Watch all of the hockey.  Seriously, why aren't derby peeps watching more hockey?  They have excellent footwork and are capable of skating every which way on a dime.  Hockey players have great transitions, and have you seen those hits?  Damn.  I want that kind of control!

3.  Football blocks.  I think we all saw the wonderful footage of Scald Eagle clobbering a blocker who was facing the wrong way, but if you have been living in a cave, here it is.   Boom!  BOOM!  Every time I watch the footage, and I watch it a lot, I think about how football players drive with their legs and hit hard.  I think if someone is skating backwards on the track, or moving in the opposite direction, it's your duty to put them on their butt.  With love.

4.  Martial Arts.  Sounds extreme?  It shouldn't.  Martial arts can help you with your balance, core strength and awareness.  So many people skate and don't pay attention to their surroundings on the track; jammers have it easy when it comes to the knowing they'll going to get hit; everyone wants to hit a jammer, but blockers are easily distracted and in danger of getting blindsided.  Martial arts can help you increase your awareness and focus.  Most of us could use that kind of training.

So go out and find some skills from other sports; beg, borrow and steal from the other sports and bring all of that yummy goodness back to derby!  I think that we can get some great ideas from the other sports and make ours even stronger, all it takes is creativity and drive!


  1. this is an excellent post for several reasons:

    1. I am a martial artist, and so wish the girls would learn some tai chi or something in order to be more aware of their surroundings.

    2. I worked on the set of "Bring It On" as a massage therapist. got to massage cast and crew, including Kirsten and spent several hours chatting with Eliza.

    3. use of the word "cromulent".


  2. OMG, I caught a Bring It On marathon last sunday! I felt so guilty but just had to watch.

    As for looking at other sports for inspiration, I completely agree! Whenever I can get my hands on a freshie, I try to get a feeling of what sports they have played in the past and try to explain skills in a language they are familiar with. And physics. I just can't stop being an engineer on the track.

    I've also used ballet and yoga to teach off-skates strength and motion concepts.