Roller derby is a fun, crazy sport, and everyone has questions when they first start. Take a look below and see if we can answer any of your queries. If not, just drop us an email at RWRD07@hotmail.com.
I can’t skate, like, at all!
No, you can’t skate yet! Obviously, it’s a bonus if you have previous roller/ice skating experience but it’s not essential. We can teach you everything. You’ll go from hugging the walls to one-footed transitions in no time!
Am I too old/too unfit/not sporty enough for this?
No, no, and nope! You must be over 18 to join an adult league but there is no upper age limit. The age range of our league has spanned 19-50+. Fitness is not a prerequisite either: yes, this is a competitive sport, but skating gets you fit pretty quickly, and often without even noticing. The community within roller derby is body positive and very welcoming: even if you’ve never considered yourself a ‘sporty’ type, you’ll be able to join in and, most importantly, enjoy yourself!
Is it dangerous?
Roller derby is a full contact activity, so there are risks, as with any sport. However, before you get on track you are fully kitted out with good protective gear (a helmet and knee, elbow and wrist guards). As soon as you are cleared for contact, you will add a mouth guard to your kit list.
Furthermore, all skaters have to pass a set of Minimum Skills in order to be eligible to play in a bout. The first thing we’ll teach you is how to fall safely, followed by stopping (followed by speeding up!).
I don’t have any skates!
Not a problem! We have a collection of quad skates, pads and helmets in a variety of sizes that you can use during your first sessions. Just let us know in advance what size you are and we’ll make sure they’re waiting for you. However, we do suggest that you buy your own equipment after the first few sessions so that you can get the best and most comfortable kit for you.
What do I need if I want my own kit?
The basics are: a pair of quad skates, kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and a helmet. Wheels vary depending on how you like to skate, but rookie wheels are generally wide and grippy, for stability. We would recommend visiting Skatestation, our league sponsors, for your basic rookie kit.
Different skate brands suit different types of feet (e.g. narrow versus wide). The same goes for pads and helmets. A skate shop can help you find the right fit for you. If you’re on a tight budget however, second-hand kit groups do exist. Watch out, though, for details like US versus UK sizing.
How much does it cost?
The first session is free. After that, it costs £5 per weeknight session or £10 for Sunday scrimmage (practice gameplay).
After your first month – or sooner if you want to start saving money straight away - we recommend you pay a monthly subscription of £38, which works out a lot cheaper than pay-as-you-go.
What should I bring to training?
Bring water, and wear comfortable, stretchy clothes such as leggings and a t-shirt. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that you can fit pads over and move easily in. More information about our training venue can be found on the Training Schedule page.
What is a derby name and do I need one?
Derby names are part of the history of the sport. They’re fun and can add a little confidence to your derby persona. Some people keep it simple and go with their surnames. At the other end of the scale are the magnificent puns based on your interests (Harry Potter puns are pretty popular, for example). Try not to choose one that someone else already has, but other than that, go nuts!
You also need a player number. You choose your own number (provided that someone else in the league doesn’t already skate under that number); however, spare a thought for the officials that will have to call out your number during a bout and try not to choose something too tricky, like 0000 (zero, zero, zero, zero)!
Does it matter if I can’t come to every session?
There are two sessions a week available for skaters at RWRD. You can attend one or all of the sessions available to you. Obviously, life gets in the way sometimes, making attending several sessions a week difficult. And if there’s a period where you know you won’t be making sessions for a while, just let the Head Coach know. Attendance is considered when rostering players for games, but is rarely mandatory.
I’m a bit nervous, is that normal?
Absolutely! Walking for the first time into a room of people whizzing around on skates can be a little intimidating. But remember: we all did that walk once. Most of us looked like Bambi on ice when we started, and thought we probably couldn’t do it (spoiler: we could!). We have a bunch of friendly rookie coaches and can offer one-on-one support if that is what works for you.
I’m still not sure…
You may decide that being a roller derby player, although awesome, is not for you. That’s cool, and doesn’t mean that you can’t be part of the league. This is a volunteer-led sport. In addition to players, the derby world needs referees, non-skating officials, announcers, and game-day helpers to make the whole thing work. Contact may not be for you, but roller derby has many other ways to involved. Check out our Officiating page for more information.