Share The Derby Love
Free Wallpaper

Download Now


Blog Archive

Roller Derby Blog | April 2014


League Profile: Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby

26th April 2014

In the coming months Roller Derby Australia will be featuring some of our member leagues from around the country. This month we chatted to Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby, who are working hard to take derby to the next level in regional QLD. With talks of making it to the Top 4 at Tropicarnage this year, we look forward to seeing what 2014 holds for these guys!

1. What year did the league form?


2. Tell us a little bit about how it all started?

From day one, our league trained at the Gladstone PCYC – and we started as just a handful of girls, watching YouTube clips to learn how to skate!

3. How has roller derby been received in Gladstone?

Our first bout was our biggest – the PCYC was so packed we had to turn people away at the door! And we’ve maintained a dedicated fan base since then. Some of them even understand the rules! Our crowds are fun, full of families, and freaking loud – it’s probably why our Hustlers still haven’t lost a game at home! Being an industry town, there’s also plenty of hi-vis in Gladstone – but our derby girls have no trouble standing out from the crowd!

4. What is the biggest crowd you have ever had at a home game? What was the game?

That first home bout, against BCR's Dark Horses, in 2011, got more than 1000 people through the door - definitely the biggest. We're still fighting to get that many again - but we're definitely growing the committed derby fan contingent in Gladdy!

5. You get quite a lot of support from the PCYC, how has this sponsorship impacted the league? What advice would you give other leagues seeking sponsorship?

Our league is a member club of the Gladstone PCYC – and we’re glad we are, they’ve got the best roller skating floor in Gladstone! And it means all our efforts to grow the league also support the PCYC, which runs great services for local young people. Every league is different, but partnering with PCYC really works for us – and they all love derby, so that definitely helps! We’ve also done sponsorship deals with the Gladstone Observer, Zinc Radio, the Central Lane Hotel, and Turkey Beach Responders – they all do a great job spreading the word about our awesome sport, and we are really proactive about doing the same for them.

6. Your travel team, the Hustlers, is growing in leaps and bounds, what is the core focus of the team at the moment?

Teamwork! In particular, teamwork to make our defence as tough as it can be – we’ve always had big hitters, our relentless coach CeeBee is determined to add unbreakable walls to the arsenal!

7. What has had the biggest impact on the team’s competitive game in the last 12 months?

Going to Northern Tropic Thunder (our first tournament!) was a real eye-opener about the commitment and intensity needed to play eight games in three days, and it also gave us a good idea of how competitive we could be. We realised we were one of the strongest leagues in regional Queensland – but ultimately, not disciplined enough to topple the Townsvillains. But kicking off 2014 with a win against Brisbane City Rollers' Punk Blockers definitely provided a morale boost – hopefully it’s a sign of a big year to come!

8. What is one of the biggest highlights you have had as a league?

Going to Tropicarnage in 2013 and staging a final-minutes fightback against The Bay Rollers, to win it 165-159, was pretty special.

9. What are the league's goals for 2014?

Grow, grow, grow! We want to support more fresh meat to come through, as well as expand our bouting skater base, our officials ranks, and keep building our community support. We’ve got lots of events planned to make it happen – and hopefully a few more Hustlers wins on the board won’t go astray, either! CeeBee has big plans for taking us to top four at Tropicarnage this year.

10. What advice would you give to locals wanting to get started in roller derby?

You will love it! Our fresh meat program runs three times a year, on Tuesdays from 6pm and Sundays from noon – like Gladstone PCYC Roller Derby on Facebook to find out our next dates. And our coaches aren’t as mean as they look!

*Photos contributed by Richard Tompsett


Dear Freshmeat: Getting the Most Out of Your Training (Part 2)

23rd April 2014

Do your best and forget the rest

I’m borrowing a saying from everyone’s favourite purveyor of Dad Jokes, Tony Horton of P90X. You are responsible for your own progression on skates. But all that you can ask of yourself is to do your best – honestly do your best, do the very best that you can – and forget about what you can’t do yet, or what everyone else can do.

“But I’m so tired; I know the drill isn’t over but I need to take a breather and get some water!”

Don’t quit. Just keep going, it doesn’t matter how much you slow down, or how long it takes you to finish. As long as you finish. No one will judge you for taking longer than everyone to finish your 25-in-5, au contraire – they will be cheering for you! They want you to succeed; they want you to have this victory.

A really poignant Martin Luther King Jnr quote comes to mind here; it’s one I think of often.

“If you can't fly then run, 
if you can't run then walk,
if you can't walk then crawl,
but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Man, even if you are barely moving by the time you cross that finish line, just push yourself over it. That’s how you improve. You don’t improve by catching your breath and sippin’ some Gatorade on the sidelines.

And do you know what? You are so much more capable than your brain would have you believe. You’re completely capable of seeing out the session. You’re not going to collapse and keel over. You’re not going to run out of oxygen and asphyxiate. But your brain tells you that you need to stop and have a rest, because what you’re doing right now – that is, becoming a better derby player – is hard, and uncomfortable. As Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon (who is responsible for the super rad says, “Don’t run away from it. Turn around and go into the discomfort instead. Change is itchy. Downright scratchy. If you want to change…expect a little itchiness.”

Don’t worry about falling down

Falling down doesn't mean that you're bad at roller skating, or bad at derby. What it means is that you're trying to do something you're not capable of yet. Which is, of course, how we learn new things - we try, we suck. We try again, we suck a little less. We keep trying and incrementally suck less and less, until BAM! 360 degree jump!

I love Bonnie D Stroir's take on skaters falling down. When I stacked it at one of her bootcamps, she said, "Yes, Blockie! I love your commitment!" I think the word commitment is important here - it's the difference between vaguely half-assing an attempt at something (because we're too scared or don't trust ourselves enough) and actually having a good crack at it. Here's the thing. Yes, sort-of-half-trying-but-not-really is lower risk, but it also has a lower reward. Basically, if you don't legitimately try, you'll never have the opportunity to actually master Skill X. Even though we probably won't get it right at first, only by actually committing, by really putting everything on the line, do we give ourselves a chance of pulling off something great.

That skater didn't fall down because she sucks. She fell down because she hasn't mastered that particular skill yet. She committed to a manoeuvre she can't really do yet, so yeah, she stacked it. But do you know what happens if you don't actually try in earnest to do something new?

You never learn to do it.

If you don't push yourself to do things that are outside of your current skill set - and probably fail miserably in the process - you will never be capable of anything outside of your current skill set. So sure, you can always remain upright, doing your thing and never falling down. But you need to be prepared to accept the fact that if you never try, you'll never master anything bigger and better than what you can already do.

What you should take away from these pieces is this, and please, listen closely: Derby is incredibly demanding on your body, your mind, your wallet, and the rest of your life. Your derby career is a finite thing – there’s only so much of it you can handle, and there will come a time when your knees simply can’t take it anymore or you have to prioritise another part of your life. The biggest tragedy would be for you to never reach your potential, to never know what you are capable of, because you didn’t push hard enough when you had the chance. Never take your time on skates for granted. Do the very best you can with it.


Derby Injury Prevention Program: Update

19th April 2014

Injury is one of those words in derby that always looms in the back of the mind, because if it hasn’t happened to you, no doubt it has happened to someone you know. In a sport where a broken bone is almost as frequent as the common cold, there is strange relationship that we have formed with serious injury.

Sure, derby is a tough sport, but for fresh skaters it can be daunting when they see injury advertised or worn like a badge in our community. For some, this may be a way of dealing with a traumatic experience by making it seem less of a burden, or perhaps we see it so often it no longer phases some of us. However, as the national sporting body, Roller Derby Australia is too often faced with the serious side of how injury can impact on skaters, leagues and the sport as a whole.

A study we conducted with Sports Business Partners showed that a large percentage of members see injury as the worst part of the sport, and a key reason why people stop playing. The study also indicated that the number one reason people are reluctant to get involved in the sport is the possibility of getting injured.

For this reason, RDA started to think about what we can do to reduce injury and make our athletes bodies more ready for the game we play. Through an extensive consultation process RDA has been working with our strength and conditioning friends at PropelPerform to develop a program that focuses on derby specific strategies and techniques.

In the coming months RDA will be launching the Derby Injury Prevention Program across the country, inviting all member leagues to take part in training to reduce the risk of injury for skaters. Coaches and team captains from each league will attend the one-day session, focused on strength and conditioning, coaching techniques, recovery and more.

The very first clinic will be taking place in Darwin in May!

In order to make this happen nationwide, RDA is currently looking for host leagues in QLD, NSW, SA, WA, ACT, VIC and TAS. Applicant leagues will need to be members of RDA and answer the questions below. If your league is interested please send responses to by April 28th 2014.

1. Why do you want to host the first ever Derby Injury Prevention Program in your State/Territory (50 words or less)?

2. What venue would you utilize? What is the capacity?

The successful host in each State will receive a one on one session with the course presenter to further enhance their knowledge and explore issues specific to their league.

RDA looks forward to taking the next vital step in improving our sport in response to the community’s feedback. Coupled with the coaching consultation and accreditation that is currently underway, the sustainability of our athletes and our sport will be greatly improved.


Dear Freshmeat: Getting the most out of your training

16th April 2014

As you’ll probably realise when you first start skating, there is a lot of stuff you just can’t do yet, and you probably train with a lot of people there who look like they were born with skates on their feet, and could skate in their sleep, and are in fact probably descendants of the mystical roller skating goddess Wheelrah*. You need to do two things when your brain starts to freak out about this:

Remind yourself that, at some point in their lives, they had exactly the same skill level as you do now. It may have been years ago, but that person worked to become the skater you see today.
Push that person right to the back of your mind.

(*may not actually exist)

My point is that you need to focus on what you are doing, and not worry about what anybody else is or is not doing better than you. Do not let yourself feel inferior because you can’t skate as well as somebody else. Feeling less valuable or inferior in any way does not serve you at all. Your own skating ability is the only yard stick you have to go by. You might be improving out of sight, but because you’re so fixated on the fact that you’re not as good as the next guy, you don’t even notice the incredible strides you are making. You need to assess how you are doing each practice. Can you do X better than you could yesterday? What about since last week? Then you are improving! And that is all that you can ask of yourself. And man, you need to be proud of yourself – you’re playing roller derby. Do you have any idea how hard that is?

But, at the same time, don’t think you can slack off just because you are at the top of the class in Fresh Meat. Repeat after me: complacency does not beget improvement! So maybe you’re an experienced speed skater, or the most feared blocker for miles. You don’t have to expend much effort to be the fastest skater or the hardest hitter, so why try? Because you want to be better FOR YOU! That’s why! The skills of other skaters do not improve or worsen yours at all – this ain’t no bell curve, son! So push yourself. Try harder simply because you want to improve. That means not slacking off just because something comes easy, because you bet your ass the girl giving every practice 100% is going to be as good as you are one day. Not to mention, when you make it to the Big Leagues and realise that making the All Star charter is totally within reach, boy you’re going to wish you’d taken every opportunity you got to squat lower and skate faster.

Don’t make excuses
You need to take 100% responsibility for the effort you make at training. Don’t make excuses, to yourself or to others. If your coach tells you that they can see you phoning it in, the last thing they want to hear is, “I’m sorry, it’s just that I…” Take on board what they’re saying, because they obviously know you’re capable of more. No excuses. Your coach is there to push you, and if they call you out, you should be grateful! Tell them, “Okay. I’ll try harder.”

The same thing applies when it comes to making excuses to yourself. I’ve been the queen of this terrible practice for the longest time, though I really am working on it. Have you ever had those training sessions where you think, “I just can’t do a great job tonight, because…I’m too tired/didn’t eat enough beforehand/I’m so stressed/I can’t stop thinking about the next episode of Game of Thrones,” and give yourself permission to only bring your C+ game? I’ve realised that what it comes down to is this: If you’re too sick to train, you stay home. If you go to training, you’re there to train, so you give it your all. No excuses. Sometimes “your all” feels like much less than it did last week, but as long as you do the best you can today, that’s all you can ask of yourself.

Photo provided by Khaotic Image - click here to see more!

Expecting The Best - Preparing For The Worst

9th April 2014

As roller derby players it is all too easy to push the idea of major injury to the backs of minds; particularly players who are relatively new to skating. Having mastered the fundamental skills to play the sport and feeling stronger and fitter than ever, it is easy to feel somewhat invincible out there on track.

Once the initial fear of being hit by the ‘big girls’ disappears and we find we can cop a beating with not just bravery but bravado, our pain thresholds increase and we can not help feeling that ‘bad’ injuries are something that happen to ‘other skaters’. We let the thought sit quietly in the backs our minds and assuage any fears with the old adage – ‘It won’t happen to me.’

I certainly never thought it would happen to me.

As a bouting player for almost three years and having roller skated for much of my childhood, I felt relatively experienced on my skates. I imagined that if I was to suffer a major injury, it would be during a glorious moment during a bout. Sometime in five years or so, whilst attempting a spectacular apex jump, I am knocked illegally mid-air and come down awkwardly (still in bounds), yet still on my feet long enough to call off the jam. I’d have a broken ankle, but at least I’d still have the points!

I’d like to say that’s exactly how I recently sustained the injury that has put a halting stop to my derby ‘career’, but unfortunately reality is far more mundane. Six weeks ago, I broke my tibia and fibula, smashing the main weight bearing bone into five pieces, during a routine warm down drill.

I am not here to cast doubt and fear into your derby-minds. Unlike those jilted mummies imparting their horror birth stories on wide-eyed first time pregnant mums, I am not compelled by the mere cathartic (and frankly sadistic) pleasure of telling you how much it hurts. Rather, I am compelled to share my experience in the hope that whoever reads this will be less ill-prepared than I if it ever does happen to them.

Ill-prepared for coping with a broken leg is to put it mildly – my injury came straight out of left field. I was eagerly gearing up for an exciting season with my club, looking forward to skating with new additions to our team (who I’d had a major role in coaching), with the prospect of travelling all over the country in the months ahead for competition. I was bursting with the prospect of now being a ‘veteran’ in my club, and having the privilege of off-loading some of my administrative duties and concentrating more on developing my skills as one of our team’s primary jammers.

The night of my accident topped off what was a psychologically tumultuous month in my personal life. Like many derby players, I was straddling the fine line between derby and real-life and over the course of February the strain began to take a toll on me physically. I was worn out and unwell and that night and was in the throes of full-body flu. Again, like many derby players, I ignored my exhaustion and carried on training regardless, loath to let my team down in the lead up to a game the next weekend.

After a full day at work feeling like hell, and then pushing my body through a two-hour training session, I was like the skating dead. Hindsight is a bitch, and the fact that I was sprinting off-track during the drills to vomit in the bathroom every 15 minutes should have been warning enough to stop. However, I am well-known for being a ‘vomiter’ after jamming, and so perhaps my body’s warning signs weren’t explicit enough.

In the last few minutes of the session whilst doing my final lap, I was stretching my groin muscle up on one skate and my right ankle just gave way. Lethargy, coupled with the build up of lactic acid from training and just plain inattention to what I was doing, caused me to fall like a ragdoll. In a split second, my entire body weight travelled through my main leg bone and - due to both the sticky wheels I skate on and the unforgiving nature of the concrete surface I skate on – had nowhere to go. I felt and heard the bones in my ankle crack (more than once) and then immediately felt nothing. My entire lower leg was numb.

Adrenalin is a wonderful thing – the body’s natural and instant painkiller. If there’s one thing I can say to help calm your anxiety about breaking a limb, it’s that when it first happens, it doesn’t hurt much. Our brains are miraculous in their ability to protect us in that way.

I won’t go into the lengthy story about how I had an adverse and disturbing reaction the ‘green whistle’ pain relief gas that the Ambos had to administer, other than to say I am deeply sorry for punching my teammate in the face whilst she tried to help the Ambos transfer me onto the stretcher. I genuinely had no idea where I was or that my body was experiencing pain, because in my drug-induced state I was happily partying with a drink in my hand and couldn’t work out why no one would give me a cigarette! Little did I know I was actually screaming the rink down and violently resisting everyone’s attempts to move me. Thank goodness for the drugs (and my teammate’s ability to forgive).

Once safely delivered to emergency and then eventually settled into the orthopaedics ward I was informed of the extent of my injuries. The doctor on call queried if I had a bone density problem due to the extreme nature of the fracture, expressing that it was the type of injury usually seen in car crash victims. No, I told her, I don’t have a bone density problem, I play roller derby. I later learnt that this is a common reaction from doctors who haven’t before seen roller derby fractures.

When derby players break bones, we seem to do it in the extreme. The high impact nature of our sport and the fact we strap wheels onto our feet mean that we place a great deal of pressure on the two bones in each of our legs that hold us up. The fractures we incur when our balance or fall goes wrong is logically similar to the kind of pressure enforced on bones in a low-speed car crash – the full weight of our bodies, thrown (or falling) and then landing hard onto a hard floor with nothing to absorb the pressure. I am in no way comparing the overall trauma of a derby injury to those incurred in a car accident, but it is a reasonable comparison when you consider the impact on our bones. No wonder the ER doctors are slightly freaked out by our chosen sport!

After a week in hospital and dealing with a major complication after surgery (Compartment’s Syndrome – Google it), five weeks on I am still struggling with the reality that ‘It did happen to me’. I can’t help but thinking that if I had been better prepared both mentally and practically for the possibility that I would become injured? Would I be in a better place both mentally and practically during my recovery if I had given the prospect a little more serious thought?

I am in the same position as so many of my derby peers in the fact that I have children and a professional career as well as my derby life to consider. These essential responsibilities have been put on hold because of my injury for at least three months. I am unable to care for my children or work. Aside from the other essential day to day independence I have temporarily lost (like walking and driving), the impact has been huge, not just myself, but on all those around me whom I love and depend on me.

When we choose to participate in this sport, we know we are taking a risk, but we tend not to think beyond that. We take out skaters insurance and we hope for the best, but most of us don't plan for the worst. I am not suggesting that you should all live in fear of something that may never happen, I am simply saying that as skaters, we should ensure we are prepared just in case it does. For example, people who live in fire-prone areas make sure they have a plan that will help them deal with the worst case scenario. However, the slight chance of their houses being at risk hopefully doesn't affect their day-today enjoyment of living in their chosen bush setting. They plan for the worst, but that doesn't stop them from expecting the best. For derby players who do hold down steady jobs and have dependants, I believe it would be useful to look at injury with a similar mentality.

Rather than put our heads in the sand when it comes to thinking about injury, I challenge you all to put together an 'major injury action plan'. These are some of the things you will need to consider:

If applicable, who will help me care for my children (for up to 3 months) whilst I am incapacitated? Does this person understand the length of time they may need to help out if you were to be injured?

Who will cook, clean and do your grocery shopping for you?

Who will stand in for you as driver to get your kids to school and get yourself around to appointments?

Is your workplace aware that sustaining an injury is something that could happen? Take some time to sit down with your HR manager and discuss your sick leave entitlements and figure out a plan of action in case you do need an extended amount of time off.

If you are a casual worker, what will you do for money? Is the income supplement from your insurer sufficient for you to live on for the duration of your recovery?
If you have pets, who will help you care for them? ie - who will come over and walk, groom, feed and clean up after them?

These questions are not particularly easy ones to answer, but it will be easier to consider them now than after the fact. They are also by no means exhaustive; there will be many other things to consider depending of course on your own individual living/working situation and the nature of the injury that you might sustain.

Hopefully you may never have to put your plan into action. However, if you do, at least you have already asked yourself the hard questions. So please take the challenge and replace the old 'It won't happen to me', with the more useful 'PREPARE for the worst, but EXPECT the best'.

National Officiating Scholarship – Part 2

6th April 2014

In Part 2 of her officiating scholarship blog, Numb3r Crunch3r takes us through last weekends WFTDA Officiating Clinic in Brisbane. It was a sold out event, so those who missed out can relive what sounds like a very informative weekend.

National Officiating Scholarship for Roller Derby - Part 2

Less than a week after coming home from the NOS Induction Workshop, my head full of new ideas and plans for improvement, I found myself in a conference room, bright and early on a Saturday morning, for the Brisbane WFTDA Officiating Clinic, hosted by Sun State Roller Girls. As the main contact person and organiser for this clinic, I had already been out and about the day before, buying morning tea and supplies, collecting instructors from the airport and generally trying to juggle all the things that went into running a smooth and successful weekend. But as of this moment, I was a student.

WFTDA Officiating Clinics are run centrally through the Women's Flat Track Derby Association itself, with the curriculum designed and approved by WFTDA workers, and delivered by WFTDA selected and trained instructors. Our clinic was lucky enough to have two instructors from America (Level 5 referee Judge Knot, and Level 4 non-skating official Intejill) as well as our local instructor, Level 4 referee Harry Spot'er.

The clinic sold out a month early, and was attended by more than 50 referees and 30 non-skating officials (NSOs) from around the country, including an enormous representation of eighteen attendees from my own league, Sun State Roller Girls.

Day One consisted of classroom sessions, with the morning dedicated to combined sessions for all attendees. A 90 minute rules primer and Q&A session helped everyone in the room align their understanding of the new rules, and bring up absurd scenarios they had witnessed or imagined up which needed answers. This was followed by a session on certification, which clearly excited many in the room. Certification never looks closer than when you're well informed about exactly how it is achieved, and aware that others in your country have achieved it before you!

The certification session included not just information on how to attain certification, but also information about how to fill out an effective and informative evaluation without having to write an essay on the performance of each official. As the number of full member and apprentice WFTDA leagues in Australia continues to grow, the opportunity to obtain evaluations becomes more and more common, and this detailed examination of the certification process was one of the highlights of the weekend for many officials.

The final combined sessions centred around official reviews and standard practices - teaching the officials some all-important skills to build rapport and put across the right body language, and reminding the officials of their standard verbal cues and hand signals.

Lunch was a casual affair where officials were free to engage in conversation, and networks and friendships were built around the lunch table.

Following lunch, the officials split up into skating and non-skating classrooms. The NSOs went through various in depth sessions on the different officiating families (penalty tracking, scoring and penalty management) before finishing the day with 'Fun With Whistles' - quite entertaining to listen to from inside the skating classroom, and I'm sure even more entertaining to participate in.

The skating officials' classroom went into in depth sessions on initiation and impact; the fundamental pillars which a referee must be certain of before any penalty can be called. Initiation relates to 'who started it' while impact relates to 'what happened', and without both pieces of information, you cannot guarantee that a penalty has occurred. Following these discussions, the officials split into groups to discuss various scenarios (some bordering on the absolutely absurd, including a mid-air star pass).

The final class of the day was perhaps the most important class of the weekend for skating officials - a class on positional theory. The emphasis during the class was not just on discussing the positioning of each individual referee, but on discussing the way that the referees truly work together to ensure a focus on ALL events of a game, rather than duplicating focus on any one thing. For most referees in the room, who have worked with officials of significantly different skill to them, the idea of doing your specific job to the best of your ability, even if others may not be doing theirs to the same level, was a revelation. I believe the concept that you service the game better by doing one job well, rather than everyone's job partially, will lead to the development of Australian officials in leaps and bounds as trust and true division of duties becomes the norm.

The first half of the second day continued classroom sessions for the NSOs (including sessions on being a head NSO, and 'moving to the next level'), while the referees converged on Eagles Sports Complex in Mansfield for a morning of intense skate training. Emphasis was placed on raw skating skills, yes, but also on exactly how those skills assist you in your refereeing - the first drill was to skate around the track backwards, both on the inside and the outside, without looking at the boundaries to check your position. It's all well and good, and most referees are quite good at it - until you get instructed to close your eyes! Suddenly officials were going off in all sorts of directions - onto the track, further away from the track, and on occasion, into each other! The exercise certainly taught you a lesson in making your knowledge of the track completely unconscious.

After that humbling drill, we moved to skating skills - transitions, 'fancy feet' (like grape-vines on skates), and a particularly difficult (read: impossible) drill where you had to stand still, lift up one foot, and attempt to get across the room. Finally, after some drills on efficient crossovers, we moved into a drill on OPR positioning - exactly where to pick up the pack and drop it off, and teaching yourself when to start taking off to ensure the pack didn't lose you on the first corner.

Lunch, catered by a business named Pacos Paella run by a Sun State Roller Girls skater, came none too soon for the skating officials. The paella was wolfed down by everyone with compliments flying left and right, and even the occasional plate of seconds taken.

Finally, after lunch, it was time for scrimmage! The Sun State Roller Girls skaters from the Riots, Furies, Defiants and Vandals arrived and warmed up while the instructors took all officials through a discussion on safety and pre-bout protocol (including track checking and skater equipment checks). The officials divided into crews, chose their positions, and began rotations of 5 jams per crew.

As the scrimmage went on, more and more bizarre events began to come up - skaters removing their equipment in the penalty box, teams fielding two jammers, and eventually a jammer picking up her opponent and carring her around the infield of the track. As it turns out, the instructors had been feeding the teams actions to do to 'test' the referees, and the teams had apparently responded with gusto!

Finally, three hours later, the scrimmage was over - but the clinic not quite finished yet. All the officials gathered for a final debrief, where each official named something they had learned over the weekend and collected their clinic sticker memento. The learnings ranged from the tiny change to the enormous revelation, but the overall mood of the group was accomplished and excited to take their new learnings and dedication back to their leagues to improve roller derby around the country.

As the officials went their separate ways and the track was pulled up, thank yous and compliments were thrown from every direction, thanking the instructors, WFTDA and Sun State Roller Girls for hosting a brilliant clinic!

Next time - Skate of the ANZAC tournament in Canberra!

Cooking with Blockie: Bout Day Pancakes

4th April 2014

I have it on good authority that these pancakes change lives. That is, a girl came to me one day and said, "those pancakes changed my life." My league has dubbed them "Blockie Pancakes", and they're mad for them. It is really not uncommon for people to come to me at training or message me on Facebook just to say, "I had Blockie Pancakes today!" Honestly, they're super great - they're easy and tasty, and I eat them at least a few times a week.

I'm literally sitting in bed eating them right now. 


The recipe is absurdly easy, and so delicious that when I found it, I made them about 10 times over the course of a week. This probably also had something to do with the fact that they’re stupid good for you, but still seem really decadent.

They have three ingredients. Seriously:

Mash a banana. Stir in an egg, Add a tablespoon of nut butter (generally people use peanut butter, but for my last batch, I used homemade hazelnut butter. For real), some ground cinnamon, and mix it all really well.

Pour them into a pre-heated frying pan (I find them easier to flip if you make them a bit smaller). Similar to regular pancakes, little bubbles will start to form when you need to flip them. They don’t take very long, though.

The awesome thing is that they’re moist and sweet enough as they are, but if you want to add butter or maple syrup, they’re even more delicioso.

They’re the perfect food for derby players, too. Bananas to fend off bruises, and they're full of protein. They’re amazing for breakfast on bout day – I have them with Jalna Greek Style Yoghurt with nuts and cinnamon, and some extra fruit on the side.

Happy tummies and no sugar crashes,


National Officiating Scholarship

2nd April 2014

RDA are very excited to be following the journey of Jen Heath, aka Numb3r Crunch3r, our very own recipient of the Australian Sports Commission National Officiating Scholarship. Already with the first induction workshop and a WFTDA officiating clinic under her belt, it is going to be a huge year. Check out her first instalment here.

National Officiating Scholarship for Roller Derby - Part 1

Early in the morning on 20th March 2014, I was nervously sitting in a room full of twenty-four very sporty looking people in the Crowne Plaza hotel. The induction workshop for the 2014 National Officiating Scholarship (NOS) had begun, and introductions were underway. Some of the officials in the room were already aiming for part-time or full-time officiating contracts in their sports, aiming to make a career out of their officiating. I was fascinated - the most I've ever been paid for officiating is $50 for a high level tournament.

Several sports were new to the program - most notably the roller-sports, roller derby and speed skating. The other sports in the room were a list of popular professional and Olympic sports - rugby league, rugby union, AFL, soccer, basketball, tennis, hockey, swimming and cricket. Myself and Rhoda (the speed skating recipient) were of the same mind - 'what similarities could we possibly find with these sports?'

We did not have to wonder for long - an hour was set aside on the first day for the recipients to sit in a small group and have a facilitated discussion about our sports and the difficulties we faced in officiating at a high level. Incredible similarities were found between speed skating and swimming, cricket and tennis, roller derby and football. In each case there were struggles - sometimes with nutrition in games that last for hours or days, sometimes with physical fitness, and sometimes simply with the mindset that you need to embody while officiating. Networking was one of the key purposes of the weekend, but the schedule was chock full of other sessions and courses as well.

Introductory lectures were given on psychology (knowing yourself) and nutrition, before the participants split up into one-on-one sessions with various consultants. Media, in particular, was an area I thought would have little relevance to me, but I was wrong. In the week since my media consultation I've been asked to write these blog posts and several other web articles about my NOS experience and the other events of my year to come - and the knowledge and training to confidently do this came just in time! I was also 'interviewed' during that session, and I don't doubt I'll find a use for those interview skills at some point this year or during my career.

One-on-one sessions were also given in nutrition and psychology, with the promise of further sessions and an 'open door policy' with the specialists throughout the year. I feel like at the moment I've barely scratched the surface of the specialist assistance I'll receive this year, but in the meantime I've started my diet plan, and I'm starting to be more engaging, understanding and personable to build my rapport with teams, other officials, and people in general.

Thursday night the officials were treated to a seafood buffet in the revolving restaurant at the top of the Crowne Plaza hotel. The food was magnificent, the dessert table made us glad we didn't have our diet plans just yet, and I got lost several times trying to orient myself to the stationary centre of the restaurant, rather than the revolving outer edge.

Throughout Friday the one-on-one sessions continued, broken up by group activities - and they were certainly entertaining! 'Two Truths and a Lie' made an appearance, as well as a trust-building exercise of navigating an obstacle course blindfolded, as instructed by a partner.

The workshop really clicked up a notch on Saturday, when the mentors for the officials arrived and everyone was taken through an in depth session on DISC profiling, a profiling technique that describes both your natural and adapted behavioural styles, and allows you to assess and understand others' behaviour, and adjust your own to work effectively with them. But before that, bright and early in the morning, the officials found themselves in the pool (and it was pretty cold)! An hour of pool running and conditioning drills left everyone with jelly legs.

Saturday continued with another psychology session (knowing others), followed by a choice of two physical sessions - running techniques or stretching techniques. I chose running techniques, and spent the next two hours making small change after small change to my running style, becoming more and more efficient (and exhausted). On return, I was told the stretching class was no picnic either - a long session of Pilates and core work.

Saturday still wasn't over - another important session about setting up the mentor relationship followed, and each official sat with their mentor to set their goals for the year, and make commitments about ongoing contact and meetings. Kruger and I have decided on a particularly busy year for me, including:

- Co-THR of an invitational tournament in Canberra over ANZAC Day
- Refereeing TGSS
- Refereeing the playoff tournaments in America in August/September
- Applying for Level 3 certification in January 2015

Sunday, the final day, finished with a morning of workshops on communication, including some hilarious exercises of 'blind drawing' - one person describing a picture while the other attempts to draw it without having seen it. With new friendships formed and a head full of an incredible amount of new learning’s, the attendees went their separate ways, but with guarantees of more learning’s and more bonding to come with satellite workshops in May and June, and a final workshop in late November at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

Stay tuned for my next post - the WFTDA Officiating Clinic in Brisbane, hosted by Sun State Roller Girls!

Contact Us

PO Box 161 
Kedron QLD 4031 



Privacy Policy

© 2021 Roller Derby Australia Terms and Conditions of Use Privacy Policy A Smartspace Website by White With OneLog In