This Monday just gone was sign offs day again for Level 1 minimum skills with the Norfolk Brawds.

You may not know this, but to play Roller Derby competitively there are minimum skills set down by the WFTDA. It’s not just a case of strapping wheels to your feet and hoping you can stay upright. My league, the Norfolk Brawds, has split those skills into 4 levels that skaters move through and are assessed at each point up to level 4.

Each level is a 6 week rotation, with week 6 being an assessment. I went through one rotation of skills, but failed 2 blocks, so this Monday was my chance to take them again. I’d been practising hard, skating on Thursdays at the Roller Disco for practice as well as on Mondays. Even dressed as a superhero, this counts as practice!


Thankfully this time I didn’t have any panic attacks, in fact it was quite relaxed as I only had to do 2 out of 7 blocks of skills, though we all joined in for pack skating and pace line just to make sure there were enough to form a pack!

T Stops, Plough Stops and one foot glides went smoothly enough, but my big fear was the 20 laps in 5 minutes. I fell badly last time and hurt myself, and though I’ve had 3 attempts at 20 in 5 and done it twice, I just couldn’t get out of my head that I would fall and mess it up again. I even spent the night before dreaming about it.

It was with a little trepidation I got up to start skating, my plan being just to focus on my form rather than trying to go too fast. The lovely Imogenicide was counting for me, and thankfully decided not to shout how many I’d done at me, this meant I didn’t start trying to do maths in my head, but instead concentrated on just skating, and her big thumbs up I assumed meant I was on track! I started slowish partly through stress and as I just wanted to find my stride, and partly through an urge to pace myself and not burn out. After a minute or so I noticed I’d been over taken a few times, so sped up to over take some people, and then tried to stay ahead of them as they came up behind me, a similar tactic to the end of a race where I might try and overtake the person ahead of me, or just try to not be overtaken.

At about the time 30 seconds remaining was called Imogenicide let me know I’d done the 20. I did a little internal whoop and kept skating, eventually coming in with an exciting lap total of 22.5 in 5 minutes. Not quite at final sign offs level of 27 in 5 yet though….

So, of course, a little celebration is in order.


Although when I started at the Fresh Meat nights I didn’t find it that hard to just stay on my feet, not all of the skills come naturally to me (or anyone, it’s strapping wheels to your feet!) I’ve worked really hard to learn these skills, and I feel really good about what I’ve achieved over the last 4 months. I’m really starting to feel like I can feel the balance of my skates, and I’m starting to understand the way they react to what I do, rather than just letting them wander off on their own!

It’s also a cracking leg and core workout!

So. I am now officially level 2 and need to start attending on Saturdays to work on more advanced skills like whips and jumping over things. Eeek.