Back to DERBY

OK, enough about me… for now. I have some coaching info that I like to convey to people who want to coach for OneWorld that I have pretty strong opinions about.

The progression from Rookie to advanced skater is just that…. a progression. A common mistake is to introduce too much too soon; rookie practices should be one big giant skating lesson that looks like derby.


 This is often easier said than done and as coaches we need to keep reminding each other to keep doing our best. People (particularly derby people) easily drift into the place of only being able to see their own experience; it can be challenging to see a bigger picture.
A coaches success depends on having the ability to look at their own coaching behavior, conduct a personal assessment / reality check and be willing to tweak their habits.

We’ve all had coaches who thrive on intimidation, and / or use their team to fill a void in their own lives or ego (think little league…? Ah, the memory of asking the parents to stop harassing the children). Coaches like this show up with loud whistles and low self esteem. These people abuse their authority and their athletes perform and / or operate out of fear.

A despotic coaching style feeds into an environment of negativity, control and bullying. Some potentially great future athletes can be lost if the vibe of the practice is negative all the time.

On the flip side there is a soft and gentle way that can be coddling, which won’t do much to inspire or help athletes step up to find their strength. The middle ground is an obvious place to shoot for. Most importantly is knowing when to lean towards one end of the spectrum or the other .

Rookies can’t be expected to behave like advanced skaters and our job is to show them a way to replace self doubt with self confidence over a reasonable amount of time.


Coaches should be able to demonstrate skills during the entire practice and need to be able to do the fundamentals that are being taught to the skaters. This means getting onto the floor to demonstrate skills before and during practice.

If an injury prevents a coach from being able to demonstrate, they should have an assistant readily available to offer the visuals. A coach who has never personally mastered the skills they expect to teach should not be coaching in my opinion.

Team performance and function overall is not very effective if skaters feel they are powerless and have no say in their goals.

A Team Covenant of sorts is a good way for skaters have guidelines to follow. Think about a common goal for the team; let them work it out together, but stick to it.

· Identify YOUR goals
· Keep a strong and winning mindset
· Display self-confidence
· Overcome drama, adversity and crap
· Get a grip; gain control of negative thoughts
· Use visualization and teach it as well
· Employ stress management and relaxation techniques

Talk to your skaters, Don’t ignore anyone.

I know, that isnt easy at a crowded practice.

A coach needs to keep reminding themselves that they need to grow and improve as much as they expect their skaters to. It is critical for a coach to remain open to having new experiences that will challenge their way of coaching or thinking. This can be humbling and difficult to do but really is an opportunity, not a problem.
If a coach is fearful of new blood or the wrong fresh meat rocking the boat maybe they are afraid of the growth or challenges that they personally might need to face ** see derby drama .

Use mistakes as an opportunity to change yourself, don’t blame others for rocking the boat.

Reinforce the good stuff, compliment a well executed move.

Silence doesn’t convey that things were done right; it can easily be misinterpreted.
Be aware of the communication process as you teach. i.e. tone, language, non-verbal communication.

Be willing to change things up to keep the flow, let go of the plan when you need to.

Maintain a consistent teaching point of view. A coach who loses hope loses motivation.

Introduce the mental skills, talk about it.

Help skaters find the obstacles and the way to get around them.

Have any opinions or differing view? Please share, I want to know!!

Derby LOVE and safe skating!


About thehotflashseattle

I'm a person who found derby at JUST the right time in my life to give me hope, make me stronger and experience something that had been waiting for me all these years! My mightiest goal is to mainstream the sport of roller derby. My selfish goal is to help other people find ways to skate,connect and inspire each other to get back on track when they begin to slip off and help them up when they fall. Doing this helps me believe that there are others ready to do the same for me. In 2012 I had four surgeries, two of which were mastectomies and now at 57 I'm cancer free and back on track. Three years ago on this profile I claimed not to be a "great" coach but wanted to share what I knew. I am revising that statement at this time because I have figured out that I'm a survivor, a warrior and a damn good coach! I am the founder of OneWorld Roller Derby in the Greater Seattle area. We are sharing our resources to help other leagues form and we're creating a circuit that is coming together utilizing USA Roller Sports as a common link. We are bring roller derby to schools, colleges, parks departments and community centers across the US. Helping each other through the pack is what makes life work for me. In the world we get knocked down, get back up, reset and help each other through the pack. We look ahead for the holes to jump through. We gain momentum to find the endurance we need to be able to make it around the track one more time even when we don't think we can. Derby = life = Derby; It's all the same game to me.
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2 Responses to Back to DERBY

  1. Sheri says:

    Love it”

  2. Adoll Hitter says:

    Great words!!

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