By granitecityrollerderby, Oct 4 2017 04:05PM

This Saturday (7th October) is your chance to get involved with Granite City Roller Derby as we look for new skaters, referees and NSO’s (Non-Skating Officials) to join us.

We welcome all genders, all body types, fitness levels and all levels of skater, from never skated before to skate park vets.

The first session is free and all we ask is that you are over 18, wear comfortable, sports style clothing and bring water.

What is Roller Derby all about? Is it for me? What will I get from it?

To answer these burning questions, we spoke to some of our current and graduating members from our new skater course.

By granitecityrollerderby, Sep 16 2016 04:04PM

As this New Intake session comes to an end and we prepare to welcome our new skaters, we asked some of the Coaches and Mentors for their thoughts. Here’s what Krusty and Christine had to say.

What has been the best thing about coaching / mentoring?

The skaters. The skaters that turn up to training, week in, week out, giving that 100% on track! The smiles and laughter. The comradery. The dedication and commitment to succeed. I flipping love coaching the trainees, they’re inspiring and keep me focussed on trying to make every session as beneficial to their progression as possible. I would be lost without them, seriously!

- Krusty

My favourite thing about mentoring is seeing progression. Remembering the newbies when they first put on a pair of skates at the beginning of the course, and then seeing how much they improve in such a short space of time is inspiring! They can nail skills in one session that took me months of graft to master! It keeps me humbled and reminds me to keep on working on my own skills. I also love seeing when newbies get “the derby bug” and start to get very excited about the sport. That excitement is infectious!

- Christine

What was your biggest challenge?

There are no huge challenges for me as such. I think my main goals are that I help the skaters to be the best they can be within the timescales of the course. I want them to excel past their own expectations. Sometimes a skater can feel they are not progressing but I can assure them that they are. Every week they produce something new and exciting, an extra half lap in 27/5, a faster plow stop or just nailing a skill that’s personally challenging to to the individual. Progression is exciting and watching their own achievements fuels me personally as a skater.

- Krusty

No challenges, just good fun! I love mentoring the newbs!

- Christine

Do you have a final piece of advice for your mentlings?

DERBY STANCE! Off skate training! Top tip during training: As long as you’re talking, you’re not listening.

- Krusty

A few pieces of advice.

1) Off-skates training – it makes a huge difference, especially for your 27 in 5!

2) NSO, NSO, NSO!!! [nsos are non skating officials who do certain jobs during bouts and scrims - ed] It helps you to learn the game, you feel more involved with the league, you make friends, ALL the benefits! Plus it helps to understand the rules (important for when you actually start playing the game… we can always tell the skaters who have actually NSO’d as they get less silly penalties!)

3) Please don’t be disheartened if you can’t nail a skill. Step back, reflect, seek advice from a mentor/coach, and make a plan to work on it. Everyone progresses at different rates, and that’s OK. Celebrate the mini achievements! Progress is progress, even if it just holding a one foot glide for 2 more seconds… OWN THAT VICTORY!

- Christine

Remember to come along to Aberdeen Lads Club from 2-4 on Saturday 17th September for a free taster session.

Hope to see you there!

By granitecityrollerderby, Sep 13 2016 05:02PM

Because this post is about our inters group. Geddit?

This year GCRD introduced a new Intermediate group to help bridge the gap between Fresh Meat and “Tuesdays” (mins passed skaters training sessions).

This Sunday marked the final session of the very first inters group, and here’s some of our thoughts as we graduate...

Arabian Frights explains what the course entails :

After mins testing the intake I was a part of, gcrd introduced an intermediate group for those just passed mins (who maybe didn't feel ready for Tuesday nights) and those who were on the cusp of being mins passed.

For those moving up from newbies...

What does inters entail?

Well for one it’s a lot stricter than newbies, that doesn't mean that it's less fun. It's just we have one hour less than we did at newbs so we gotta keep going!

So what did we do there?

We focussed on a lot of dynamic walls. Low (lower than we had been before!), slow moving brace walls. Think the Gotham vs London game and you'll get the idea! Dig those edges in while the jammer is pushing at your wall to slow it down and you'll really tire her out! Our sessions focusing on edge work with Jo Mamma and Karyn really helped with that. They even got us to try weaving round the cones on one foot and backwards! So hard to not look at your feet doing that! We also got more in depth on lateral movements for quicker movement across the width of the track. Trap that jammer!! - Arabian Frights

As well as working to pass our last few minimum skills (transitions, always transitions…) we focussed a lot on gameplay and tactics, which I’ve really enjoyed, and occasionally been confused by (backwards beading anyone?) - Pain au Chocolat

This class was great as it hit on everything we did in beginners but with a higher standard of difficulty. It was hard work but great. Everything we learned in beginners was put to the test in this class as well as scrims. - Jamming Dodger

After I passed minimum skills at the end of the fresh meat course, I really felt that I needed something to bridge the gap between beginners' training on Wednesdays and the more advanced training on Tuesdays. As I am still quite new to the sport, the intermediate course was perfect for allowing me build confidence in gameplay skills and get a better grasp of the rules. - Bonnie

It was pretty challenging at times…

The biggest challenges for me personally in moving up was my 27/5 and taking hits. I'd developed some sort of hits anxiety during fresh meat and was so worried that if I didn't get over it, that roller derby wasn't for me. I think one of our first Sunday sessions we focused on hits and Ruby Riot was with us...we took hits within a pack from her and I got my tick and it gave me a bit of a confidence boost. Next challenge...27/5, all that was left to be mins passed. For what seemed like forever, I was stuck between 23.5 and 25 . I upped my cardio off skates and with advice from Rapidbash, she had me counting my crossovers around the apex and up the straight way. Shouting out how many I had to do as I went along. Her encouragement really helped and If anything counting helped take the focus off the leg burning that comes on almost half way through! The next week, I finally did it and got 27.5! Yay!

I also couldn't get my head around beading...especially beading back. After going through the motions slowly, I think I'm getting it now! - Arabian Fights

I did find this course to be a lot more challenging than Fresh Meat, both mentally and physically, as it introduced more advanced tactics where “getting low” meant “no, really, get lower”. Because we were focussing on skills we struggled with, that could get tough mentally, but there were always the other skaters (and coaches and mentors) encouraging me and pushing me on, thanks guys! - Pain au Chocolat

We also got to scrim with the Hawks a few times - Kakaw!

Scrims were a really good learning experience as it put all our skills and drills into actual gameplay, which was really useful as it made me realise why certain things were constantly being drilled into us. I did feel like a spare part sometimes, as it was much more fast paced than I was used to, but it was also a lot more exhilarating when I “did a thing”! - Pain au Chocolat

Soon we were informed that we would be having our first full contact scrim. I felt so nervous the whole day leading up to scrim time, this was really gonna be the test on my hits confidence...there would be nowhere to hide! Scrim passed in a complete blur, I felt I spent more time on my butt than on my skates but I still had the best time! Our last scrim as inters was so much fun, we were a bit shorter on skaters so it was hard work to keep going in every jam. I gave hits!! I took hits and it wasn't so bad! When it was over I think everyone was so pleased at how far we had all come! - Arabian Fights

Final Thoughts?

I really enjoyed intermediate training! It was also useful that our group was quite small as it allowed us to get to know each other a bit better. Additionally, it meant that we could get more specific feedback from the coaches and trainers, who I can't thank enough for their hard work and support! - Bonnie

Just finished the last session of intermediate class and I feel a mix of emotions. I really enjoyed this class and had great fun with everyone in it. I'm excited and nervous for what's next but can't wait. Thanks again to all the coaches and mentors were all brilliant. - Jamming Dodger

I’m really glad this course exists and that I moved up when I did. It really gave me a kick up the butt and made me more focussed. My skating has come on leaps and bounds and I am more confident on track, thanks in no small part to my fellow inters, and the coaches and mentors. You’ve all been awesome and I really appreciate it! - Pain au Chocolat

I can't thank all my fellow inters enough for being such an awesome group to be a part of. We've all done so well! Our coaches and mentors have been awesome, thank you all for your time, knowledge and encouragement.

Here's to Tuesday's .... - Arabian Fights

By granitecityrollerderby, Mar 10 2016 11:00AM

Are you looking for an exciting way to get fit? Want to make awesome new friends? Or maybe you just really like the sound of getting involved in one of the UK’s fastest growing full contact sports?

Granite City Roller Derby are opening the doors and inviting people of all ages and abilities to come give Roller Derby a whirl. Whether you spent your childhood on your pink Barbie quads or you’ve never skated in your life, the six month beginners course will take you from the very beginning and show you all the skills and drills you need to be confident out on the track.

Even if you’re not sure about the rough and tumble of playing the game, there are opportunities for both women and men to train as referees, who are essential to the game. So if you like the sound of learning to skate, but aren’t ready for full contact, then there’s always a space for you with our beloved “Zeebs”.

The first session is entirely free and kit is provided, so all you need to bring is your lovely self (and maybe some water).

We look forward to seeing you there!

By granitecityrollerderby, Apr 30 2015 08:14AM

As one of 40 or so people waiting nervously around the edge of the sports hall, I could tell I was in the right place - I was standing in line to become fresh meat…

What this involved exactly was about to unveil itself during the next two hours of the Granite City Roller Girls intake day, a free session held by the group as a taster to the fast-paced sport of roller derby. Having only come across the event the night before, I had barely slept a wink from the anticipation of taking part – and now there was no going back!

As the team began matching our ‘fresh meat’ feet to skates, heads to helmets and vulnerable body parts to protective pads, us newbies read over the important health and safety information of the sport, exchanging eyebrow-raising glances as to what we were letting ourselves in for.

Amongst the first half of participants to be kitted out, I eagerly carried my skates to the centre of the hall to meet the mentors-to-be. With a short introduction, a few practice falls to initiate the trusting relationship with our knee pads plus some casual derby stance squatting, the group was soon tying the laces of some rather cool looking 4 wheeled boots. I wriggled my toes in excitement - it was time to test these skates out on track!

The next hour became all about finding your feet, avoiding others and remaining upright – oh, and stopping! I was grateful to have had some skating experience behind me having heard a few others on track becoming acquainted with their protective gear - although I learned later that, for some, this was their first time on wheels ever! Everyone, however, soon settled into the friendly and supportive ‘give-it-a-go’ atmosphere created by the derby-pros and you felt the confidence to glide along – or attempt to glide – without a care in the world too!

The second half of the intake day gave the GCRG coaches a chance to explain all there is to know about roller derby: the game’s history, the rules, the funny stories, the derby names and….the fresh meat course. They provided a great overview of the sport and answered a variety of newbie questions, no matter how small. Their enthusiasm soon rubbed off on us and left the group chattering away with an excited buzz in the air!

Leaving with an invitation to the upcoming derby match, I was delighted to have come across such a friendly and supportive group who were full of laughs and outrageous stories. The people I met during the event, both Granite City Roller Girls and fellow fresh meat girls, really put me at ease and helped me to feel like I could actually be part of this.

So, being fresh meat no longer seems that bad; let’s just see how session 1 of roller derby goes...

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