What hasn't changed?
You still need to be able to skate. Duh. You have to have good derby posture, smooth crossovers, stability, t-stops and plow stops. You still need to be able to do "knee taps" and "double knee slides" which means you shouldn't be slamming down on your knees when you do a "fall". You have to block and avoid obstacles, just like before, and that's about the crux of it.
|Yes, you have still have to plow stop.|
So What Has Changed?
1. 27 laps in 5 minutes.
The first issue some people are upset about is that they upped the requirement to 27 in five minutes. It's really not that gigantic of a change, but I can already hear the panic in the posts I've seen on Facebook. It seems like so many people tend to have mental issues with making 25 in 5, and now they've made it even more laps. Whenever I see someone post that they're having issues with their lap time, I know that the root of her problem is that she needs to work on her form. You can lose weight, quit smoking, and work on your strength training, but if you have lousy form when you're skating, you are sabotaging yourself. To make your laps, you absolutely need to practice good form. That means no standing up, strong and even crossovers, and remembering to breathe.
2. Being able to move without rolling.
I don't know if anyone else thinks it's a little ironic that the minimum skills are encouraging "not skating" but it's what the game has become. They've added the non rolling grapevine to the list of skills all skaters must do to be able to bout. It's all about edges, and if you don't have control over your edges, then I suggest you start exploring what it feels like when you have successfully used them. It's going to take a lot of practice and experimentation, but the grapevine is a good place to start.
3. Where did the baseball slides go?
Yes, most skaters have never ever ever used a true baseball slide in a game, scrimmage or drill, but it's still an important skill to know. When I was learning that particular fall, I really thought "Good gravy, are they just making us do this to torture us?" The answer of course is no. Baseball slides teach you the muscle memory to avoid breaking your tailbone. We all try not to fall over backwards when being hit, but sometimes you can't avoid it; the baseball slide teaches you to turn and take that fall on one cheek. Anything is better than a broken tailbone! I am a little surprised they took those out, but I still suggest each league continue to teach them.
Hey WFTDA, why for you no make hockey stops required?
They still haven't required a hockey stop, even though it's a pretty standard skill for most interleague skaters. Hockey stops are so important in the game at this point, that I personally think it should be a minimum skill. This isn't 2009, when only a hardcore few could do a hockey stop; quick stops and transitions they way you win games; I was surprised that they weren't included. Don't be surprised if they show up in the next minimum skills update. Or at least I can dream.
So, there you are. Has the WFTDA raised the bar? Yes, but it's not insurmountable for new skaters. Derby is a dangerous sport, and you have to be skilled to play it. Long gone are the days of women and men barely capable of skating being in a bout, and thank goodness for that!