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Roller Derby Blog | March 2014

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March 2014 WFTDA Ruleset

31st March 2014

As of tomorrow the March 2014 Updated WFTDA Ruleset will take full effect. Since publication in March skaters everywhere have been scouring over the changes, trying to make sense of what this means for the game and how to capitalise during their own gameplay. While some skaters are pushing the boundaries during training, others are erring on the side of caution. To make the transition a little easier, RDA has posed some questions to four premier refs from the Sun State Roller Girls.


Which rule change do you think will have the biggest impact on gameplay and why?
Clockwise Blocks (No Impact/No Penalty):

5.9.15 - Any block by a stopped or clockwise-moving skater that forces the receiving opponent off balance, forward, backward, and/or sideways, but does not cause an opponent to lose relative position, or the initiator or a teammate to gain relative position.

Previously it was hard to skate back through the pack without getting a penalty. Opponents would position themselves to receive a clockwise block and draw a penalty. Now with "Major" impact required skaters can push harder through the pack in the wrong direction. Opponents no longer try to position themselves to stop this, they now go for the head on collision type block as a physically hard hitting block which will hopefully either catch someone off guard or wear someone down to create an advantage late in the game. That's a big change in game play if you ask me.

Which change do you think will be the most challenging to call as a ref?
No Pass/No Penalty

5.11.8 - A skater, having gone out of bounds or straddling, that briefly and unintentionally completely returns to the track on one skate in their efforts to remain or return out of bounds.

The forgiven cutting. There's a lot involved in getting that call right, there's some very specific requirements which a ref needs to check off in his head whenever he sees that potential cut. Because it's something we have to think about a bit more it will take that extra half second to call cuts. Also while we're concentrating more on the maybe cut, our minds are less able to think about and track other things. In time this will become more automated like other things we do as refs, but for a while this is going to be very distracting not just when it happens, but when it almost happens as well.

What's one piece of advice you would give skaters when implementing the changes?
My advise for playing under this new ruleset is to manage your penalties. With 30 second penalties I've seen skaters foul out from every game I've reffed. As the negative impact from committing a penalty has been reduced it may seem more "worth it” to commit a penalty. I think games will be won or lost in the last quarter of the game. Will you be there when your team needs you?



Which rule change do you think will have the biggest impact on gameplay and why?
30 second penalties Less time in the box means skaters have less time to take advantage of power jams, and blocker-walls returning to full-strength faster. Also - more time on track means a higher risk of skaters fouling out.

Which change do you think will be the most challenging to call as a ref?
Not saying 'major' after each penalty This habit has pretty much etched itself into my brain - undoubtedly I'll slip up a few times while I train myself out of it.

What's one piece of advice you would give skaters when implementing the changes?
Support your referees. Read the rules, discuss them with your referees, and encourage a safe environment at scrimmage where both skaters and referees can make mistakes, laugh them off, and learn from them. Great derby can't exist without both great skaters and great officials.



Which rule change do you think will have the biggest impact on gameplay and why?
I think the changes to the cutting rules will definitely have the biggest impact. If you've ever seen a skater paused while straddling the line, staring at their feet and trying to figure out which one they should pick up to avoid a cutting penalty, you'll understand what I mean. With the new rules, there's some leeway such that if she picks up the wrong foot momentarily, but is clearly intending to stay out of bounds and yield, the cut will no longer be called. It's part of an overall movement to minimise the 'technical' penalties that can be applied, so that the skaters can just play derby without fear of the tiny mistake.

Which change do you think will be the most challenging to call as a ref?
I think the updated direction of gameplay rules are quite a challenge to call - on one hand, they've updated the impact spectrum to be in line with other penalties, so that a skater needs to go down, out of bounds or otherwise lose relative position for a penalty to be called. On the other hand, they've still cracked down on intentional and prolonged clockwise and stopped blocking - so that actively maintaining a stopped or clockwise-moving position is still penalisable, regardless of impact.

Effectively, it means as a ref that you're watching for an 'impact' factor, but you're also watching for a force/duration factor in the same action - too much focus on one will make you miss the other.

What's one piece of advice you would give skaters when implementing the changes?
My main advice to skaters would be to push the boundaries - within the limits of friendly and safe gameplay, of course! Particularly at home scrimmages designed for practice rather than game results, read up on the new rules and then 'test' them - if nothing else, it allows you to check if your interpretation is the same as the refs', but it also helps you to determine exactly where the line is for a penalty call, and that serves to broaden your range of 'safe' actions confidently.



Which rule change do you think will have the biggest impact on gameplay and why?
I believe the introduction of 30-second penalties will have the most impact on gameplay. The reduction in time served by a Jammer reduces the total number of scoring passes likely to occur, and change the nature of power jams as we have seen them in the past. This could lead to smaller points differentials and encourages closer games.

Which change do you think will be the most challenging to call as a ref? 
The most challenging calls to make are those which require the application of a referee’s discretion. Not only do these calls require a thorough and practiced knowledge of the rules, but also an understanding of the way the most experienced WFTDA certified referee might approach making the call. The feedback and support of referee peers, and continual personal development play an important role in aligning the individuals understanding and the appropriate application of discretion. For the latest rule change, this would most apply to ‘flopping’.

What's one piece of advice you would give skaters when implementing the changes? 
Not to feel too overwhelmed by the changes. It’s fundamentally the same game, now with some very clear clarifications around actions that might have been murky in the past. This is a vastly smaller rule change that the removal of minors, and should be welcomed by player and referees alike.

Photo Credit: Lara and Susie Photography


Ref Profile: Harry Spot'er

27th March 2014

This week RDA catch up with Australia's highest qualified WFTDA referee Harry Spot'er. Keep an eye out for Spot'er at this weekends sold out WFTDA Officiating Clinic in Brisbane.

Referee name, number & league?
Harry Spot’er 934 Victorian Roller Derby League

How long have you been involved in roller derby?
I have been involved with roller derby since April 2007

What do you like most about reffing this sport?
I really like that the action doesn’t stop when there is a penalty. There is also the fact that there is offence and defence happening almost simultaneously.  The sport can be very challenging to officiate but it can be super rewarding.

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to reffing? 
This is difficult to answer because there are multiple things that you need to consider when officiating derby. Firstly you have the rules, something that luckily came relatively easily to me. Then you have the skating skills. Skating well is something that’s super important; because without solid skate skills you can’t get yourself into the position you need be to make the right call. This is where you need to anticipate the action. By anticipating the action you can be sure that you’re always in the right place at the right time, and able to view the penalties and points as they happen. 

If you could create one rule OR change one rule – what would it be?
If I had my choice  it would have to be  limiting skater numbers to 3 digits, numbers only. Yes boring I know, but it’s the small things.

Can you describe the most unusual game scenario you’ve had to review? 
Off the top of my head I can’t pinpoint a specific moment there are so many to think of that one doesn’t stick out clearly out.

Is there a ref that you look up to or go to for advice?
I have a few that I frequently talk to, Eric Rawk, Richie Frangiosa (Judge Knot), Matt Mantsh (Rev Riot) and Sir Osis.  They're all great referees, who are really passionate and knowledgeable about the game, who are now really good friends of mine.

The stakes are high, there’s only a couple of points in it and the crowd is going bonkers… how do you deal with the pressure of being Head Referee? 
I try to remain calm and take a few deep breaths between jams and sometimes positive self-talk. I make sure to relax, as tensing up can lead to frustration. That’s one thing you most definitely want to avoid. One big thing in my role as a Head Referee is to make sure the rest of my crew is doing ok, so I will check in on them to make sure there doing well and are staying focused.

What’s your preferred skate set up? 
I’m currently rolling on Riedell custom 495’s with Snyder Advantage plates with Atom Jukes which vary in hardness depending on the floor.

Did you go into derby wanting to be a ref?
When I first got into derby I honestly had no real idea what to expect as derby was only  in its infancy, and VRDL were still a few months off scrimmaging when I joined. But after the league started to scrimmage I knew I wanted to be a ref.

What are the personality characteristics of a good ref?
I value communication, focus, fast thinking, impartiality and honesty very highly

Any advice for up and coming zebras?
Focus on your skate skills. It’s really important for referees to be good skaters. It’s ok to just read the rules to begin with,but you can’t apply the rules until you can skate well.

What’s your greatest achievement in your reffing career? 
There are so many that I’m super proud of:

2011 – Becoming the first Australian official to be granted WFTDA Referee Certification; and Head Refing the VRDL All Stars vs Texas Hotrod Honeys game at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds 

2012 – Reaching Level 3 Certification; and Head Referee for the VRDL All Stars vs Gotham Girls All Stars

2013 – a massive year for me! I am now a WFTDA Level 4 Certified Referee as a Head Referee, Inside Pack Referee and Jammer Referee; and Head Referee for the Rose City vs VRDL All Stars game in Portland, Oregon. But my biggest achievement was being a Jammer Referee at the WFTDA Salem playoffs in September 2013.

If someone was interested in joining Victorian Roller Derby League as a ref or NSO, who should they contact and how? 
You can contact us via email

Reffing aside, how do you like to spend your time in real life? 
Derby and work rule my life though I do enjoy general exercise outside of derby; I also do enjoy doing some design work or hanging at home with my two dogs.

Image: Jules Doyle Photography

Hooray for Australian Derby!

21st March 2014

This past weekend was spent exactly the way I like it – completely oversaturated with roller derby and fairly significantly derived of sleep. I wondered if I was the only loon foolish enough to eschew sleep three nights running in favour of watching our boys compete in Birmingham this week, but it seems I was in great company: according to the Men’s Roller Derby World Cup site, three of the ten cities with the highest viewership of the cup were in Australia!

I’ve never been much of a nationalist, but when I turned on the feed and saw our Team Australia coach Galah, and local boys like HP, Kaneage and RPG, my little Aussie heart began to flutter wildly. I thought of the groups of us all around the country, setting our alarms for 2:45am so we could get at least a few hours of shuteye, and waking up together to watch our boys make us look good. It reminded me of the very early mornings the whole country awoke when Victoria made it to D1 WFTDA play offs, and of the messages of support people sent us at all hours of the night during the 2011 Blood and Thunder World Cup.

This is truly what I think sets Aussie derby apart - the nation-wide network of tireless support, and the genuine pride and joy the rest of us feel when we see our fellow skaters take on the world.

Off the back of the men’s World Cup, it occurred to me I never told you all about our very first Team Australia training down in Melbourne last month! I’ve always been partial to a good road trip, so you can imagine the sheer ecstasy I feel when we get to take the road trip to the sky. That weekend saw a mass exodus of skaters from Brisbane for both Team Australia training, and that weekend’s Battle on the Bent Track tournament, also in Melbourne. Needless to say, the best way to prepare for the most exciting training session of your life to date is always watching live derby (regularly interspersed with bouts of intense snacking) so I was psyched to make it in time for the BOTBT final.

Heading to the training session the next morning incited many thoughts and feelings:

“I have almost definitely not got the right wheels with me. Oh man, I can’t believe it’s here. I haven’t even met some of these girls before! This is going to be incredible! It’s five hours, though…I certainly don’t have enough snacks. Is 43 degrees really hot? It sounds like it would be really hot; is a gallon of Powerade enough? Or is it entirely too much?”

First of all, it was really hot. It was so absurdly hot, Wizards skater Bohemian Slapcity joined the party by distributing bags of ice for the team to place atop their overheated heads. Between drills, the team sat on the hardwood floor that was literally emanating heat, ice packs on their heads, while misting themselves with water from magical fan spray bottles. As soon as the drill was explained, however, no one had a concern in the world other than executing the living hell out of it. Heat, fatigue, and whatever else simply fell away as the team focused 100% on honing skills, perfecting plays, and communicating up a storm. The determination displayed that day alone reinforced something I already knew: it’s one hell of a team, and the world best be ready when the Aussies come.

After a short meeting, the team geared up and dove headfirst into two hours of scrimmage scenarios: impenetrable walling, dominating in power jams and working as a solid unit were the focus for the first portion of training.

With only time for a short lunch break between sessions, Cookie, Rosie, Mad Mel and I hooned up to the IGA to be harassed by locals (in fairness, that wasn’t the goal of our trip, but it happened anyway). Armed with bananas, carbs, protein and coffee, we ate as quickly as our tummies would allow, then slipped back into our sopping gear.

The afternoon was dedicated to individual skating and blocking skills, with homework liberally applied at the end. We started with stops, footwork and agility, before moving onto the really tricky stuff. In case you’ve never attempted to weave backwards through cones on one foot before doing a one-foot transition, here’s a spoiler: it’s really hard! I’m determined to go to the next training looking more like Mad Mel and less like a wacky, waving, inflatable, arm-flailing tube man, so I’ve been doing my homework at every Sun State practice since. I’m happy to report about a 50% reduction in arm-flailing, but the whole thing’s still pretty wacky overall.

Spending the day surrounded by my new teammates and support staff, I found myself feeling pretty overwhelmed. The excitement for the coming year, and for the opportunity to train with and get to know a group of badasses from around the country really sealed the deal on an amazing weekend.

Steel yourselves, world… the emu is coming.


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The MRDWC final battles

17th March 2014

Day 3. Finals Day.

Australia vs Argentina in a knockout final, winner goes on to play for 5th, the other team packs their skates and becomes a spectator. The team was focused, but we knew those Argentinians has a lot of fight – they arrived in Birmingham with just 8 skaters, and had made it this far.

We hit the track at 9AM, and the crowd was clearly getting behind the little guys in the white and blue stripes.
It was such a close game every jam. The Argentinians play like they are on a soccer field, but their rules knowledge and strategy application are first rate. Agile and penalty-free jammers made them really hard to compete with. But compete we did, at the halftime the score was 151-144 in Australia's favour.

The penalty board was looking dire for Argentina - 3 of their 8 skaters on 6 penalties, with the second half not even underway. However the Wizards themselves had clocked up 24 mins in the box. Both teams had to get clean. The plucky guys from South America got clean, got tight, and really made the Wizards fight for every point. 

In a nail-biter finish, with just a last minute power jam clearing the way for the Wizards, the final score was 252-238 in Australia's favour.

In the race for the World Cup, Canada took on Team USA while England played France, with a battle royal setup for the grand final - it would be America vs England to decide the champions of the World. Meanwhile, Scotland were defeated by Wales to advance the men from the south-west to The Plate final with Australia.

The 14 to represent Australia for 5th in the world was announced, the team geared up, and at 2PM The Wizards of Aus took to the track for the final time at the 2014 Roller Derby World Cup.

The Wales team look like a bunch of rugby players, and block like them too. They came out firing, and pulled a lead and were hard to chase down. The Wizards kept our cool and made it to the half time basically level with the Welsh boys.

Sausarge Rolls and Skate Pilgrim were our primary jammers, with co-captains Mr Spew and Flaming Galah holding things strong and tight in the packs, all 4 ensuring their calm approach, clear communication and positive attitude spread to the whole team.
With smart calls and strong pack lines from the coaches, the score was AUS 148 to WAL 167 with just 2 mins to play.

Wizards took the lead, and with just a few seconds on the period clock, Sarge went for a hockey stop at the back of the pack and slid into a Wales blocker - to the box for a low block and the final jam starting as a power jam against Australia.

Fortune favours the brave, and the Wizards were able to force a no pass-no penalty on the Wales jammer, meaning no lead. Sarge burst out of the box, through the Welsh defenders with an assist by Justin Credible and through to get lead jammer - and call the game with Australia on 201, and Wales on 200.

A 1 point game. Wizards of Aus are #5 in the world.

The USA vs England grand final was not quite the edge-of-your seat excitement of the Wizards game, but the most amazing derby skills were on display.

Jonathan R lining up against Ballistic Whistle, Frank Not Sohatra vs Sully - while in the packs watching former Aussie Flat Track Bully blocking Quadzilla, it was like a wet dream of derby talent.

Half time saw the Argentina captain propose to his (now) fiancé - and the second half was more explosive, strategic and hard fought derby. The scoreboard told the story though, Team USA clearly in a class of their own, and now the holders of the World Cup.

Phew! What a journey. So proud to have worn the green and gold, skated with these men who are now like brothers, and shown the world what Australia is made of. The support from home has been nothing short of incredible.
Thank you everyone, its now time to celebrate, and then start the 11,000 mile journey home.

Skate! Skate! Skate!
KP #89

Photo by: Roaringstorm Photography


Lay back and think of (Team) England

17th March 2014

Perhaps the most mind-boggling thing about being part of an event like this is just how common the most uncommon and significant of happenings tend to occur.

On Tuesday the Wizards of Aus played our first bout on international soil, yesterday saw us make the final 8 in the first ever men’s world cup, last night we played the most physically intense game we’ve known and today our nation took on one of the best teams in the world, Team England.

We knew the host nation were going to be hard to beat from the outset – their jammers were potent, their defence was menacing and their home crowds fierce. But our team had proven our ability to match it with the likes of France during day 1 of competition, so we went into the game with an upset in mind.

The early jams were hotly contested, both sides bringing a fast physical game, with points evenly divided throughout the first quarter of game play. However, as the half wore on, Team England’s pressure and well-drilled patience began to take control of the game, affecting a number of heavy powerjams that suddenly blew the score out and took the game away from the Wizards.

I know if I told you it felt a lot closer on the track than the final 338-138 score, you’d say “Yeah, that’s what everyone says”, but it really, actually did! It was a truly amazing game to be a part of and Team England were a particularly delightful bunch of chaps to share it with. And I know you’d be all like “Yeah, that’s also what everyone says”, but it’s the 100% truth as well. Geez, get off my ass already.

Tomorrow we take on Argentina at 9am for a spot in the 5th place final and while we may have come off second best in today’s competition, it’s amazing to know the team is in such high spirits and will be putting every effort into making tomorrow another great date in Australian men’s roller derby.

“Aussie! Aussie! etc….”

Photo by: Roaringstorm Photography

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It's Finally the Day!

15th March 2014

The Men's Roller Derby World Cup is here.

Nerves were high, but national pride overflowing as we skated out on the track for the opening ceremony. Australia greeted the crowd first (Argentina went at the end as they were playing the first bout of the tournament). Japan won the skate-out, pulling off a leg whip during their lap of honour.

It was a bit hard not to be in awe with skaters such as Ballistic Whistle for Team England (London coach, Reidell rep), Jonathan R for Team USA (Founder of modern Men's Derby), Mr Furieux for Team France (Parkour convert, Bont Quadstar and jukiest jammer you'll ever see), The Rev for Team Canada (Long-time RollerCon coach and scariest blocker around), and many, many more.

Some nervous introductions were going around the gear room, where every country was assigned a square. A few jokes were made with USA spilling out into Japan territory and the England boys coming to point out their incursion onto foreign soil.
Pretty soon, the first game for the Wizards was on us, and it was time to see how we faired.

We took the track against the unknown squad from Germany - and while the men in black scored first, it was soon pretty clear the green and gold was in sync across every pack. Germans made it to 12 points, but after 10 mins in, they did not score again as the Wizards went on with textbook defense and a 232-12 final score.

USA showed how strong they were scoring 314-0 against Finland, but Wales gave them a better workout, final score 217-13.
Showing dominance also was England - with 345-22 over Netherlands and 363-0 over Sweden. Team Canada were also showing their experience with 220-18 against Scotland and 349-11 over Japan.

Argentina certainly the team with the most fight, with some strong results despite a roster of just 8 skaters.

The Wizards took the track again in the afternoon, this time against Ireland. What a strong team they were - smashing our walls and punishing jammer mistakes, and took the early lead against the Aussies. Strong jamming by Rave N BustHer and Lt Damn kept the Irish score always going up. However we kept our cool, discussed where we were failing, and corrected those mistakes. Some solid defense and some good assists helped us knock the scoreboard back in our favour, and after the longest 30 mins I can recall, we finished in the lead at 111 to 65.

Not long after, the toughest challenge of Day 1 - Australia vs France. The Wizards picked a super strong roster, unfortunately without AJ Stephens due to illness nor Ya Mum due to a shoulder injury from the Ireland game. The Aussies knew the goal - solid walls and shutdown the French jammers.

Mr Spew, Copter, Monkey Nuts and Galah really lead the way for the Wizards in building defense that was infuriating Mr Furieux. Despite a few jammer penalties against us, Australia kept it cool and even took the lead just before the 15 minute mark. Sausarge Rolls and Skate Pilgrim were on fire with the jammer star - using speed, strength, agility and smarts to get past the French defense, and keep the game close. The win was just our of reach however, a few calls going against the Wizards toward the end and allowing France to take the game 117 to 57.

So that's day 1. Now we move into full length games, and the Wizards line up against Team England at 2:30PM local time (GMT). If we win that game, we can play for the World Cup. If England come out ahead, we still play off for the Plate trophy - 5th will be possible.

Who's going to tune in to be cheering us on tomorrow? Check out the standings and game times at

Til then, Skate! Skate! Skate!
KP #89

Photo by: Roaringstorm Photography

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Captain, we need more power!

13th March 2014

Last night the Wizards of Aus visited Team Scotland’s ‘Power of Scotland’ side for a vital, pre-tournament warm-up bout hosted at outer Edinburgh’s Grangemouth Sports Complex.

This game served as a final hit-out before Friday’s world cup and provided our side with an opportunity to test our squad under those exciting and often unpredictable elements such as crowd noise, timeouts and seven sets of zebra eyes, watching your every move.

I guess one of the biggest mysteries facing our team was the question of who we actually were as a team. Many of us had played together in the Wizards’ Aug ’13 bout against New Zealand, but our roster now boasted a raft of exciting new players, leaving us with the somewhat daunting task of defining what we, the current generation of Wizards, represented on the track – what were our defaults, were we dynamic, were we capable?

Thankfully, the result was one of resounding positives. Our jammers were lively and disciplined, our defensive combinations found rhythm and momentum and our team, as a whole, found its voice. When we struggled, we worked out ways to respond positively and capitalize. When we earned each successive victory, we enjoyed and celebrated our successes as a team.

And while the 442-81 winning final score didn’t count for all that much in the end, our performances went a long way to continuing to define the character and resilience of our side – a side that now takes a well-earned sense of confidence and momentum towards this weekend’s world cup.

Tomorrow morning we travel to Birmingham where we’re due to start competition the following day. This tournament, consistently referred to as ‘in the distant future’ has suddenly become a ‘day after tomorrow’ predicament and it’s hard to ignore the fact that the proverbial shizzle is about to get real. One half of me wants to practice for the next 48hrs straight and the other half wants to run off into the Scottish Highlands. I figure I’ll split the difference for now and get some sleep.

Evenin’ all,

Photo by: Roaringstorm Photography

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13th March 2014

I was chatting with a friend recently, who asked, “What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?” 

I thought about fear and tried to remember the last time I felt truly frightened. When I moved overseas alone? Dropping into a halfpipe for the first time? I realised the last time I felt something like real fear was before the grand final of last year’s Tropicarnage tournament. Same deal the Tropicarnage before that. Same deal before the grand final at The Great Southern Slam in 2012, and before our game against England at the 2011 World Cup. 

“Do you get nervous before every game?” my friend followed up.

“Every big game, yeah,” I realised. “When there’s a lot at stake.”

Looking back at the 2013 Tropicarnage final, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as nervous about anything in my life as I did about that game. I barely slept the night before the game; I couldn’t stop thinking about every possible scenario and outcome. I felt too ill to eat anything for breakfast, only managing to swallow about a third of a banana before my stomach revolted. The whole drive there, my insides churned, and I shook feverishly as I tried to distract myself.

Before a game, when we’re pacing and wringing our hands and trying to keep our porridge in our bellies, people will often tell us to relax, but this is actually kind of misguided. You don’t want to relax; you’re about to go into battle. Feeling nervous means you care about what’s at stake – that’s what it feels like to compete. You’ve no doubt heard stories about people who, when in danger, summon superhuman strength, or run ten times further and faster than usual. Our bodies are pretty incredible machines, and there are mechanisms at play that allow us to do more in times of heightened demand than we might normally be capable of. You see, the nerves you feel and the adrenaline pumping through your body before a game can actually help you perform better – you need to learn to use the nerves, rather than fight them. 

I’ve heard it said that excitement and nerves feel the same when we experience them. They each induce the same tummy flips and sweaty palms that we enjoy and detest, respectively. Have a real think about how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing – is it possible you’re excited, because you love the game and can’t wait to compete? This simple adjustment to your thinking may be enough to pull you out of the downward spiral to Negative Nerve-Town. If, however, you can’t convince yourself, there are a few things you can do to help channel that adrenaline when your mind is running wild.


I know, duh. But try again, this time with feeling. Breathing is the single easiest tool you have to reel it in when you start going off the deep end. In fact, focusing on your breath can help you in almost any situation in which you’re starting to feel like you’re losing control. It helps bring you back to the present moment, focus more clearly on the task at hand, and arrange your thoughts – it’s very meditative. So stop, collect yourself and take a deep breath in, then slowly let it out. Make your inhalations and exhalations long – count to three, or five, or ten if you want to show off. Narrate to yourself: “In….and out. In. Out.” Breathing this way is particularly powerful when done in a team huddle on the bench if the team is beginning to unravel. We’ve been known to have a five-person deep breathing huddle on the track during a time out, and its benefit cannot be overstated.  


See yourself recycling that jammer like a mofo, watch as you leap effortlessly across the apex, visualise yourself hoisting the trophy over your head. Notice the smile on your face and your teammates hugging one another, and the score on the board, and the joy in the room. Apparently, our weirdo brains can’t tell the difference between imagining these things and them actually happening – John Green did a really fascinating video about flashbulb memories, in which our brains create a narrative that we can recall perfectly, but which is actually entirely made up:

Anyway, the idea is that seeing these things in our heads looks as real to us as if it has actually already happened, and makes them seem much more feasible. After all, if you’ve already witnessed yourself holding the trophy, why wouldn’t you be able to do it again?


While you’re gearing up or pacing or whatever, use positive phrases to remind yourself exactly what you’re going to do. These can be things like:
“I’m going to stop the jammer”
“I’m going to consistently get lead.”
“We’re going to recycle her back through the pack on every pass.”

Notice that I specifically said “positive phrases”. It’s important to focus on what you WILL do, as opposed to what you WON’T do. This means saying “I will stop the jammer” instead of “I won’t let the jammer past me”. Positive phrases are much more powerful than negative ones – saying “I will stop the jammer” is empowering, and it helps remind you that you’re able to take care of the task at hand. 

Make sure you’re not using the word “don’t”, the way we sometimes say to ourselves, “Don’t cut, don’t cut, don’t cut!” As soon as you get cutting on the mind, it’s a slippery slope straight to the box. Instead, tell yourself, “I will stay on the track, or yield whenever I need to.” Doesn’t that sound like you have much more faith in yourself than saying, “Don’t cut, you idiot! God, don’t you even know how to yield?” I know that sounds harsh, but honestly, that’s what you’re telling yourself when you use negative phrases instead of positive ones. And you’re better than that. You deserve more!

Nerves are a funny thing – they can make you go either way. A positive mindset and faith in your team can mean the difference between being clutch, and totally choking. People often ask how they can get rid of nerves, but I don’t think you necessarily need to. Feeling nervous means you care about what’s at stake. That’s what it feels like to compete. Don’t try to quell that feeling – learn to use it! Nerves and excitement feel so similar for me that they often intermingle before a game, and I love that feeling! But because my team and I have been working our arses off, and I know the game plan, and I won’t be alone out there, it’s easier to convince myself that the fluttery feeling in my tummy isn’t a bad thing.

So, when you're thinking "Why was this game so much more nerve-racking than another one?" remember it’s all about the spin you put on it. Never deem something impossible or throw your hands in the air. If anyone else has done any research into sports psychology relating to performance anxiety, we’d really love to hear your thoughts. Email me here!

Cheers, Blockie


Wizards Blog - Scotland Training

12th March 2014

Well Galah writes a blog that is hard to follow, but picking up where he left off….. after a 3:30AM arrival at Sydney Airport, and 23 hours in the air, a few in-flight poker games later, the Wizards of Aus arrived in the cold evening drizzle of Glasgow. We were treated to a warm pub meal, and the next morning made our way to Edinburgh where the serious training starts.

Day 1 was spent with free time exploring the historic city. Some chose to hunt down the perfect coffee, others explored the castle and surrounding streets, also encountered were bagpipers, falconers and haggis. Was a great opportunity to relax and play tourist ahead of the busy schedule for the rest of the tour.

While some of the boys chose a night in, the rest of us ventured to the city of Stirling, for our first encounter with The Power of Scotland.  However it was a friendly affair, as the night was the official "Welcome to the Wizards of Aus" Roller Disco, complete with daggy music, coloured lights and limbo competition. 

Oliver Sudden wowed the Scotland boys with his shorts, and his speed skating skills while Rampage and Kaneage put on a romantic display of pairs figure skating.

The Scottish boys were clearly having a fun time, but wearing their team shirts to make sure we knew who the competition will be come Tuesday night's warm-up bout.

Its now day 2 here in Edinburgh, and things are heating up. Team breakfast, sit-down session to finalise hand-signals and verbal cues to use between bench, jammers and packs, and then to the Jack Kane Sports Centre for our first on-skates team session in the northern hemisphere.
As Bruce Willis says "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" - putting on the green and gold and stepping out onto the track on foreign soil is something pretty amazing, even just for a training session.

The team is coming together like only Aussies can, even though we're from Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Tweed and Tassie, some pairings are tighter than guys we skate with every week. At the venue normally used by Auld Reekie roller derby league, Lecter and I.V. had us doing a few basics, building into walls and wall breaking, holding jammers while bridging and controlling speed, and finishing with full 5-on-5 scenario simulation. 

After gearing down, a few of us took opportunity of the sunny afternoon to hike the 200m vertical up to Arthur's Chair - and then finish the day getting ready for our bout against The Power of Scotland tomorrow night!

Til the next update. Skate! Skate! Skate!

KP #89
Ben 'Kernel Panic' Trinder

Wizards Header Image

Wallet, passport, skates – check!

11th March 2014

I’m reliably informed that our national campaign, building towards next week’s Men’s Roller Derby World Cup, has lasted somewhere between six months and ‘like totally 4eva!’

Six months that began with the Wizards of Aus drawing the curtains on our successful international debut, playing host to New Zealand’s Black Skates, before shifting our sights onto what Ricky Martin would describe as ‘The Cup of Life’, if he actually knew anything about roller derby. The ensuing try-outs, selections, bookings, fittings, fundraisings, trainings, signings, plankings, meetings (you get the drift) have multiplied seemingly exponentially ahead of tomorrow morning’s 6am, Europe-bound departure.

So, here we stand, with our toe stops pressed to the metaphoric jammer line of international roller derby – tickets bought, uniforms printed, pads freshly laundered – “Five Seconds!!”

Today’s first full squad training session in Sydney also served as a first time meet-and-greet for a bunch of us, bringing to the fore what I see as the biggest challenge for each of the fifteen representative squads – how to get a group of talented individuals playing like a talented team.

Personally, I think we’re a lot like Voltron - twenty skaters, coming together from six states, joining up to make some kind of massive quad-skating robo-lion. I’m a bit of the leg. Some of us came from caves, others from underwater volcanoes. But united, our goal is simple – show the world how Australian roller derby kicks mythical 50ft dragon-beast ass…or the derby equivalent thereof. 

And the good news, if today’s session is anything to go by, is that the team set to hit the track in the UK next week, is certainly capable of just that. 

We’ll be checking in again once we’ve made it to Europe, where the plan is to spend five days training, acclimatizing and haggis-ing in Edinburgh, before we reach Thunderdome….or rather, Birmingham.

Please tape My Kitchen Rules for me while I’m away,

Flamin’ Galah

Welcome to Roller Derby

Welcome to RDA!

3rd March 2014

Welcome, one and all, to the shiny new Roller Derby Australia website! I will be your host Blockodile Dundee (but you can call me Blockie).

So, what even is this website? Excellent question, fella. The RDA website is whatever we want it to be! I’ll be posting new articles every week that will cover everything from training musings, gameplay, officials stuff, Team Australia updates, gear, derby goings-on from around the country, and (we have to assume) food. But moreover, we want your input. What do you want to read about? Do you have any burning questions? Just want a second opinion on something? Hit us up, and I’ll do my utmost to find some answers and make your dreams come true (a bit). This is, after all, by and for the Australian derby community.

As far as what you can expect from me, here is the first thing you should know:
I’ve played derby at all kinds of levels, and in all kinds of circumstances. When I started playing in 2009, I was a member of a not-overly-competitive league that had barely enough skaters for one full team, and I routinely played games in homemade tutus and face paint. If you’d be so kind as to cast your eyes down yonder, you’ll see a photo of me right before my first game ever, during which I wore toy skates and a $6 bathing suit bottom from Walmart.

The next season my league decided to work to become more competitive and, while we still lost the vast, vast majority of the games we played, it stirred a fire in my belly for fierce competition that I’ve been chasing ever since.

What I’m saying is that different people play different derby for different reasons, and I get that because I’ve BEEN different people, playing different derby for different reasons.

The second thing you should know:
My whole ethos, in derby and in life is 100% accountability at all times – no excuses. We need to take responsibility for every single thing that happens, on the track or off. Sure, we’re obviously not responsible for the things that other people say and do to us, but we are ENTIRELY responsible for the outcome of each and every one of those encounters. In every situation, you choose how you respond. Our reactions to things that happen to or around us are entirely up to us, and are what will ultimately shape the outcome of any situation. That goes for when you get elbowed in the throat and no one goes to the bin, when you don’t make the roster for a game, or any other situation in which it’s easy to feel victimised or to blame someone or something else. If you truly want to be in control of your business, that’s simply not an option. 100% accountability all the time – no excuses.

As well as articles by me, you can expect to read interviews, guest posts, game and tourney previews and recaps, and much (much!) more. Or maybe just a little more; that was a fairly all-encompassing list.

All right, crew; let’s get the ball rolling! Let’s talk about goals for the 2014 season...
Mine is to represent the ever-loving hell out of our country at the World Cup, and I’m going to make that happen by working out like a mofo, bringing 150% to every training, and eating like a Grecian warrior. How about you?

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