So, why did we start messing around with asking our players to take out their toe stops? Well, to explain why we did, I'd have to go back to about 2009, when I joined derby. At the time, my league didn't encourage people to use toe stops in derby. All of our freshmeat skills were based on edges, including sprinting and stops. You could have toe stops, but they were definitely seen as a crutch; I actually had teensy tiny ones after I passed my assessments, but only used them to get up quicker from a fall. Eventually, our entire league embraced toe stops. But as the years progressed it seemed like our toe stop training overtook our edges training, and everyone who came through our freshmeat program was prodigious at toe stopping all over the place, but their edges were sorely lacking. Hey, we did the best we could with our training, and sometimes you have to sit back and reevaluate what your plan actually is.
The funny thing about practicing your edges is that it's kind of hard to break people away from their
|You'll need some of these.|
One of the things we noticed when we started Toe Stopless Tuesdays, getting on the rink might be the most dangerous part of the whole evening. Even if you're constantly reminding yourself not to use your non existent toe stops, people still seem to blank out and fall flat on their faces. Seriously, like two steps and wham! Wipe out central! Another issue with no toe stops is skating bakwards; well, it's more like stopping while skating backwards. That one takes two or three falls to get it into your head. Trust me. You try not forget, but sometimes habit wins. We kind of had a running joke about who would be the first to wipe out; it became a point of honor if you were the first.
When we do toestopless Tuesday, we usually don't do any contact; mostly we work on transitions, and stopping. In fact, almost every drill we use tends to come from hockey sites I go creeping on, like this one. Hockey has some perfect drills for edges; I'm sure some of you know this already, but I'm just offering some info. Hockey drills are tough to master, but they're really fantastic for derby.
Has this training paid off? Honestly, I see that people in our league are more aware of their edges than they've been before, and that's a great first step.