Speed, excitement, camaraderie, and a team sport ... all great reasons to do roller derby. What is roller derby? Roller derby is a relatively unknown sport that is slowly gaining more attention. Essentially an all-female contact sport on roller skates, roller derby is a fantastic way to get fit, meet new people and have fun! Perhaps you love ice skating or roller disco, or perhaps you secretly hate the gym and want a new way to get fit. Here are some reasons to do roller derby Look for your local team and give it a go!
1 It’s Great Fun!
Let’s face it, most of us hate the gym, or would rather be in bed watching Netflix. If you’re going to get out of bed, it may as well be for something fun! Roller derby is bizarre, but learning to skate is a great challenge. You’ll be whizzing around the track at top speed in no time, as well as skating backwards, spinning and even jumping! one of the best reasons to do roller derby is simply because it's great fun.
2 It’s a Great Work out
Regardless of how fun a sport is, it still needs to be a great work out, and roller derby is fantastic for this reason. Different teams train differently, but on average sessions can last between two and three hours. The high-intensity exercise passes time so quick it won’t even feel like a work out. Combined with the classic “derby-pose”, which is essentially a constant squat, you’ll have toned thighs and ass in no time.
I can’t speak for everywhere; but I’ve been in multiple teams across the UK, and my teammates have skated in games from America to Sweden. Without doubt, most people playing roller derby are incredibly supportive. The sport is relatively new, most of us remember donning skates for the first time and are incredible supportive of new skaters. Coaching is typically friendly and supportive.
Yes, there are men’s teams too, but how many sports can we really say are dominated by women? Worse, women in typically ‘male’ sports can be treated worse than their male counterparts. Roller derby abolishes this as nearly everyone is female. Training with, and alongside women is incredibly empowering. You’ll see strong women, fast women, powerful women who are aw-inspiring and very good at what they do. We train together, stink together, fail together and learn together. No judgement. Yes, this includes trans women too!
5 All Body Types Are Welcome
Many women aim for the typical ‘gym bod’ – flat tummy, big boobs and butt but somehow a size 6? This really isn’t obtainable for most women, and we can feel insecure as a result. Fortunately, derby literally has a role for everyone, regardless of your body type. Are you tall, big and strong? You’ll smash through the opposition in no time. Are you short and nimble? You’ll skate around them. I’ve seen so many women who are insecure off-skates, for their height or weight, feel powerful as a result when playing.
Again, I can’t speak for everywhere, but in general roller derby tends to be inclusive. Women (and men!) can join and rain regardless of sexuality, gender identity and race. Many sports claim this, but subconscious biases can still linger. As an female-led, relatively new sport, most teams actively combat these biases.
7 New Skills
You’ll learn a huge variety of skills, the most basic of which is how to skate. You’ll learn to skate fast, hop around on toe stops, how to turn and skate on one leg. This is on top of endurance, improved balance and other important skills. Get ready to show off at the next roller disco!
8 New Friends
Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about roller derby says the same thing; the people are lovely. As a budding sport there are so many people learning, so everyone is supportive. I know many members who have anxiety and other mental health problems, myself included. I’ve found kindred spirits at derby, other awesome women who don’t like other sports. And you’ll always have at least one thing in common!
9 It’s Safer than You Think
“A contact sport on roller skates”, you say. “That’s dangerous!” Actually it isn’t! Yes, there are risks with playing competitively, but by that point you’ll have years of training behind you. As you learn, training is safe, with no contact until you’re ready. You’ll be kitted up with full protective equipment, slowly learning your minimum skills safely. In fact, one of the first things you’re taught is how to fall safely.
So that’s nine reasons why you should find your local team and give it a go! Most will welcome new skaters, and some offer learn-to-skate days you can attend. Yes, this is coming from someone already sold on derby, but why not give it a try? You may love it, and have a hobby for life.