At the Norfolk Brawds our coaching is split into 4 levels, we work our way up towards being signed off on all the minimum skills set down by the WFTDA, the sports governing body, with a sign off session to assess our progress every 6 weeks.

I passed Level 1 back at the end of September, but for various reasons, this was the first sign off session I’d been able to make on skates. This one felt like a biggie, as after Level 2 you take 3 contact classes, and then move onto learning how to scrimmage and actually play the game, after 4 months training towards it I felt like I was ready to start learning new skills, but found myself really nervous as the day approached.

The best thing to do if you’re nervous is leave yourself plenty of time, arrive early, get kitted up in a relaxed fashion and be all warmed up ready for a 12pm start. And that was the plan. My friend picked me up at a relaxed 11:20am, plenty of time to drive a mile to the venue and get kitted up. We chatted about how nervous we were, then suddenly realised we’d gone about 2 miles out of our way and were half way to the skate rink on the other side of the city, which was NOT the venue for sign offs. Cue frantic consultation of Google maps, a panicked arrival and a hurried change into kit. Not an auspicious start.

My nemesis skill so far has been endurance/speed skating. The WFTDA minimum skills specify 27 laps in 5 minutes, for Level 2 we’re expected to reach 25 laps in 5 minutes. Sliding on the corners has been an issue for me since I fell badly doing this skill at Level 1, so I recently invested in a new set of wheels and bearings. Rollerbones Turbos 92a, if you’re interested, with Bones Red Bearings.

IMG_0366I put an awful lot of faith in this new set up, and hoped to beat my previous best on the surface of 23.5 laps. The next time I tried it with new wheels, however, I managed 24.75 and felt pretty downhearted. I’m asthmatic, and since the bad cold I had over New Year I’ve been struggling with my breathing, so about a week ago I finally went to the Doctor and got myself prescribed some proper medication. It must have been having some effect, as endurance skating definitely felt much less of a struggle, and I came out with 26 laps in 5 minutes.


(note, must not beat myself up for not getting that extra lap to make the 27…..)

The problem I find with getting the endurance skating out of the way at the start of a session is that I’m then completely exhausted for the rest, so there some skills I didn’t perform as well on as I’d have liked. My whips were a little clunky, I have trouble twisting my back very much, so I tend to use my arms rather than my core muscles like I should, and the pack work block certainly didn’t feel like it went as well as it has in practice. The other skill that worried me, weaving through a paceline, went perfectly smoothly, however.

Anyway, at risk of wittering on about things that make no sense, the upshot is that despite a panicky detour to completely the wrong venue I passed Level 2 sign offs and, and can now move onto to trying to master some far more terrifying skills and being hit about a lot by people far better at this than I am. Yay!

roller derby

I got a certificate and everything (with the wrong date on, but never mind!) I tell you, I live for a certificate!

In celebration, I treated myself to a new pair of socks. I’d had my eye some amazing socks from a company called Sock It To Me for a while, but when I logged on to buy postage was $43.50, for a $12 pair of socks. I was pretty disappointed, but then I managed to find a UK company on eBay that stocked the brand, and I ordered me some Jellyfish socks for just £7.79, all in all, a pretty good day!

jellyfish socks