Thursday, October 24, 2013

First strides as a Bear City Rollergirl

FRESH DERBY NEWS! It has been a while. For those who would have missed a chapter, I have moved to Berlin (as explained more thoroughly here). Here is a feedback on my first impressions about my new league, BEAR CITY ROLLER DERBY.

A (not really) BRAND-NEW WORLD (but still a lot new)
Berlin was no complete unknown territory to me, I had already been there several times for skating events, in freestyle and more recently for the EROC, where I represented the Paris RollerGirls as their head coach two years in a row, in 2012 and 2013 (French HERE).
I had also skated quite a few times in the Bombshells' training venue, first time back in 2011 for a bootcamp run by Suzy Hotrod and Swede Hurt; I also took part in the 2013 EROC scrimmage (in 2012 I had crutches), played a bout as a Paris AllStar against the Inglorious Bombshells last April and joined a couple of practices the following week while I was at it... with already the idea of moving in mind.


My last encounter with the ground surface was bad, with the feeling it was extremely demanding and energy-greedy but yet quite slippery. Maybe because we had a roster of 10... (!) Yet it was not our only suicidal feat of the season and the other one was just fine (physically speaking).
Thus I had kept in mind that I really needed hard wheels and lost one week trying different sets at each practice, without success. I spent my time skiding off the track at each bend, at each hit, at each brake. Frustrating. Very.
Hopefully, I settled the problem after three sessions: Came back to square One with initial set-up. Thumbs up!


I have not yet understood all the ins and outs of how the league works, but I am starting to get an idea. Roller derby has much more entered the system in Germany than in France. First, it is part of their national skating federation, the DRIV, with an official German Team and an official national Meisterschaft/Championship.
Moreover, to put it (very) simply, due to the German Verein/Association structure, each sports association is part of a bigger one etc. and gets subventions and facilities. At least it is the case of BCRD. We have access to a sports hall and the rooms around, including free access to the gym with workout equipment. Thumbs up no.2!


The Bombshells have time slots almost every day with:
  • MON. free skating
  • TUE. agility (scrimmage) and strategy
  • WED. off skates workout
  • THU. free skating
  • SAT. drills and scrimmage
  • SUN. drills scrimmage
I have attended each session at least once, except for FREE SKATING. At first I wanted to use the time slots to work on technical dance moves, but you have to wear full protective gear and I refuse to dance with pads out of principle. I am considering exploiting the free sessions for cardio training on skates, once I will have a little routine.

The AGILITY SESSIONS are brand-new and I believe it is an excellent improvement. Groups are dispatched into several stations with dedicated drills, and there are turnovers every 10 or 15 min. I have entered the Training Committee and I will probably be in charge of those sessions in the next future! A great honor and I am pretty excited about that.

The OFF SKATES WORKOUT sessions are organized about the same way as agility practices, with turnovers and stations, and are run by a real coach and there is quite a lot of equipment at our disposal.

As for DRILLS & SCRIMMAGES, I have already picked a few useful jammer and blocker tips. But the most wonderful thing is that I ALSO GET TO PLAY AS A BLOCKER AT SCRIMMAGE !! And it is utterly interesting. I was really missing it. The unique chance I had not to be a jammer-only since my recovery was for my Wonder(eng)land adventures last April. And the least to say is that derby has evolved a bit since December 2011. I am aware that I have a lot of work ahead as for team work, strategy and blocking techniques, but this is all the more motivating.

I would be skatingly fulfilled if I managed to find a place to train in rollerdance too,
but there are not many rollerdancers in Berlin,
so I might switch my field of research to skateparks,
no matter how unreasonable it may be!

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