Friday, January 11, 2013

Bootcamp Team France "Born to Reform"

A dozen members of the 2011 French selection who made it to the World Cup in Toronto (Dec.'11) gathered to organize a huge advanced French bootcamp on January 5-6, 2013, entitled "Born to Reform". The aim was to share experience throughout on-skates and off-skates classes and conferences.

The event was divided into three different cycles: skater / coach / staff, with specific classes according to the cycle you had applied to.

Honestly, I would have loved taking part in that bootcamp.
Coaching was fun too, though.


We were located in the usual University Sports Hall in the suburbs of Bordeaux, easily reachable by tramway. The hall is big enough to trace two tracks so that there were permanently two on-skates classes unfolding on both tracks. The off-skates took place in a gym of the sports center next door, just like the coaches and staff conferences, which were located in the sports center's class rooms.


Obviously, the skaters' cycle was the biggest.
(we are all skaters basically...)
The Skaters were about a 100 so that they were divided into three groups attending three different workshops at the same time, and we would repeat our classes three times in a row. It was hard work!

The classes alternated between jammer and blocker themes, according the to specialities of the girls running them. Pooky Balboa and Dual Hitizen teamed up to run blocker classes, Francey Pants did jammer classes and a conference on mental coaching for the coach cycle, Karla Karschër and Belle Zebuth were in charge of the coaches but also did an on-skates class on pack management, Hell' Alaniak ran the staff cycle especially with a workshop on team project management, and I took care of the off-skates workout and the agility class.

I spent my whole Saturday from 9:30AM to 3PM locked up in that off-skates hall, cut from the rest of the world, traumatizing rollergirls. The off-skates class lasted 1h30min and was divided into three parts. Sadistic? Who, me?
1) warm-up with jogging, articular mobilization and pre-effort stretching, followed by running basics drills.
2) two plyometrics courses to work on explosivity, reactivity, power and cardio.
3) core workout with various abs and plank drills.

As for the agility class, it took place on Sunday, and I chose to focus on jumps!
1) breaking in of the different phases of a jump and the different types of jumps
2) jumping obstacles, piling up bags on the track
3) jumping the apex, showing various ways and explaining different concepts


The schedule was from 9:30AM to 9PM-ish on Saturday, with classes all day and scrimmages in the second part of the afternoon. I helped benching with Laniak, debating with the players and the coach trainees. We will never know at what time we should have finished because the lights just went off in the middle of a jam. Am somehow pretty jealous of the jammers who found themselves in the dark in the middle of their bend! Must be exciting!

Yet, the day was not over, and we all headed to the Heretic Club for a rockabilly night.
No rest for the brave!

The least to say is that the waking up was hardcore on Sunday morning. The classes started late -- we were closer to 10:30AM than to the initial 9:30AM -- and we (I) spent our (my) time trying to complete the morning classes without shortening too much the content. I was so focused on my track (jumping class) that I did not realize that they even did an improvised mixted scrimmage on track 2 in-between two classes!

The derby marathon ended up at 3-4PM, and the toughest warriors could enjoy the Bordeaux Petites Morts practice until 6PM.

Apart from the class runners, let's not forget to thank all the assistants, Emi Wild, Joan Get27, Butch Shan, Cash Pistache, Chakk Attack... those who helped but could not come, Dixie Pixie, Whisky Mamy, Feroce Satine... and of course all the volunteers of the Petites Morts of Bordeaux who greatly helped! I must be forgetting names, truly sorry for that in advance, not on purpose...

Credit: Scare NX, 2013. Lost people on the way.


Sharing experience is the best way to go back on a past event and go forward, building up on the drawn conclusions. Let's not be misunderstood here. Running such an event may be politically labelled very easily. All the more as it is currently at the heart of a fiery debate...
Walking on broken glass.

When asked about political facts,
Elvis used to say "I'm just a singer".
Likewise, "I'm just a skater".
I do not wish to be involved into such debates.
What follows is only facts. No taking sides.

The facts are here (no offence):
  • There have been no updates since last December and the Team France association was dissolved after the World Cup.
  • The 25 girls of the selection have been released into the wild, while some national teams of neighboring countries are still active and bout. Which is pretty frustrating.
  • The next world cup seems to be planned for 2014.
  • Nothing and nobody is currently in charge of it. Who could, who should?

We, 2011 members, are not so presomptuous as to take charge of it, of course.
The only thing in our power: Let's shake things up and see what happens. Any move is better than keeping on vegetating until 2014!
Let's just DO something.

The point is not to make decisions but to browse different ways of getting organized and united to revive a French selection process, taking into account the comments and experiences of every motivated soul.
Let's hope that such an event will have made people realize the urge and the importance of a national selection, for the good of every French derbyperson and to push French derby upwards.

What I see with my skater's eyes is:
Put the 25 to 40 of the best French rollergirls together, make them train and share, make them improve and experience, make them bout against big teams, and make them teach all that to their leagues. It is a win-win. More level, more speed, more tactics, more footwork, more workout, more FUN.



  1. Thanks for this great & useful recap of the Boot Camp! I'm sad I couldn't be there in person, but glad that it was a success! I agree we need more events of this type which help to promote derby skills all over France - we have so many talented skaters all across the country and we should help everyone improve and advance together! :)
    PS - I am stealing your adorable Care Bears skating pic!