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By granitecityrollerderby, May 22 2017 02:12PM

Want to skate with us? Visiting the area and need your derby fix?


We are open to guest skaters, referees and NSOs!




To arrange your visit please contact training@granitecityrollerderby.co.uk


In your email, please include the following:


Your first session is free of charge! The cost of each session thereafter is £5 for skaters, £3 for referees, and FREE for NSOs. Please be aware that some sessions - particularly on the run up to games - will be closed to guests. We are an open league so all genders welcome.

By granitecityrollerderby, Oct 31 2016 04:00PM


It’s coming to the end of Officially October, which means that I get to indulge my fascination with and love of our Referees and ask them a ton of questions. And thankfully they responded! So enough of me, here’s what our lovely refs have to say.


Why do you referee?


This is a harder question than you might think! To begin with, I think I was waiting for there to be a men’s team I could skate with and just refereeing to help out - Derby always needs good officials, and this was a way I could get involved and help grow the sport. Over time I’ve put so much into refereeing that it’s definitely my main thing. I still want to skate competitively, and maybe I’ll refocus in the next couple of years - but if I have to choose one or the other, which due to circumstances I have had to do the last year or so, I think it’ll always be refereeing.


Buffy


I love derby. I love the people involved. I love GCRD. Refereeing gives me a chance to not only skate and be involved but it also allows me to give something back to the league which has supported me a helluva lot since day one.


Mac


Because I broke my leg badly last year at derby practise and it caused so many problems in my day to day life that my family no longer support me playing the game. I hope to one day go back to playing but in the meantime reffing is great for me. I get to be on my skates and learn a whole different side to the game, see friends and be part of the derby world without getting injured.


Nichola



What is involved in ref training?


Ideally as much general skating training as possible, because if we can’t keep up with the skaters we can’t do our jobs properly. But obviously there also needs to be a lot of discussion of gameplay scenarios, a lot of watching for things that might lead to penalties (even if they don’t, that time), and learning how to position yourself to do each job most effectively.


Buffy


I'm doing lots of shadowing, asking lots of questions, watching as many games as I can, NSO-ing where possible and reading rules - plus making sure I'm skilled on my skates of course.


Nichola


Everything. Quite literally. You have to be able to skate as competently as those folks on track, you need to study and understand the ruleset, you need to have half a mind for tactics as it will help you understand a lot of what you're watching on track AND you have to put in the time as an NSO to gain more insight into all aspects of officiating. Luckily, GCRD really do help ALL their officials work on every single thing they need to ensure that by the time they debut in stripes, they'll be comfortable.


Mac



What is your most used skill (skating and otherwise)?


Ref specific skills wise, projecting my voice! I need to be able to be loud without hurting my throat or, ideally, sounding angry and it’s not as easy as just shouting - there’s a real knack to being consistently loud and clear. Skating wise, a good solid stance and confident stride are essential, I can’t ref effectively if I’m wobbly or worried where my feet are going.


Buffy


Does my voice count? Haha. Being an announcer, I'm naturally pretty loud and clear so I think that comes in very handy when reffing. Skate wise I'd say probably transitions. Refs are always adjusting their position to ensure they have a good view of the skaters on track and transitions become a big part of that without you even realising!


Mac


Skating backwards at speed, which I still need to master, without crashing into other refs.


Nichola



What rule did you find hardest to get your head around?


Ooh. Good question. Ummm...I'm gonna say multiplayer blocking purely because it still causes much debate amongst refs from time to time.


Mac


Of the current ruleset, probably the scoring clarification about jammers not scoring a lap point by passing an opposing jammer newly returned from the penalty box. I won't go into the technical side here! It makes sense but was a bit of a head scratcher at the time. In general, I think most refs would agree that until a couple of years ago star passes were a nightmare, they’re pretty straightforward now by comparison!


Buffy


I'm still getting my head around most of it, but probably figuring out when its a no pack or out of play with fast moving packs.


Nichola



What are the most common penalties you see?


To me there’s no one answer for this as it definitely varies by skater and by situation. For instance I call far more track cuts at scrims than in bouts, but that’s because we don’t have the luxury of a raised track boundary at practice. The most recent rules updates have definitely made clockwise and stop blocks more common though.


Buffy


Cutting, forearms, multi-players.


Nichola


Track cuts, forearms, direction of gameplay. I'd say those are the ones that can be most common purely because they come naturally from individuals as given the nature of the sport we play.


Mac



Do you notice a difference between newbie and vet skaters at scrims?


Well, obviously, experience on track counts for a lot! Because there’s just so much going on new skaters can sometimes get overwhelmed and that can lead to them panicking and doing something that gets them a penalty - so when a newer skater gets called for something it tends to look more “blatant.” More experienced skaters tend to get more technical penalties, which are usually a lot less obvious looking because they’re more composed and in control of what they’re doing. This isn’t to knock new skaters, it takes practice and hard work to get comfortable on track - and the difference between a hit that you and your pals are talking about all week and one that gets you sent to the box is actually tiny! As a ref I’m obviously most concerned about safety and fair play, but I try not to judge people for picking up penalties - I’ve skated myself, I know how hard it is, and without making mistakes it’s actually very difficult to progress!


Buffy


It’s easier for me as a trainee ref to see penalties at a newb scrim, so I love them. Its slightly slower and usually more predictable.


Nichola


Definitely but only in a tactical sense or when dealing with track awareness. Vets clearly understand the game in progress more and react naturally on track. Newbs can sometimes get caught out purely by over thinking what's going on. Once things start becoming second nature on track, that's when you start to see great skaters become great derby players.


Mac



By granitecityrollerderby, Oct 24 2016 01:19PM

This week we turn our attention to our wonderful skating officials - our refs!


In a bout there will be seven Referees, you’ll recognise them by their zebra stripes. They take on one of three positions - IPR, OPR and Jam Ref.


Three of the Referees will skate around the outside of the track (between the track and the crowd). These are the Outside Pack Referees (OPRs). They watch both blockers and jammers in the pack and call penalties.


Quite often new Referees will start as an OPR, not because it is an easier or less important role, but because they can be positioned between two more experienced Referees who can keep them right while they build confidence. One of our Referees (Jaffa Skates) enjoys being an OPR at bouts because he doesn’t get the chance to do it at scrims (due to lack of space).


The rest of the Referees can be found in the middle of the track. Two of them are the IPRs (Inside Pack Referees), who do the same job as OPRs but watching from a different angle. The other two are the Jam Referees. Each Jam Ref follows a Jammer, tracks their points and signals them to the Score Tracker. They also call penalties by or against their Jammer.


So which roles do the GCRD Refs like and which do they find challenging? We asked GCRD’s Head Ref Buffy Boiler, new ref Mac, and trainee ref Nichola and here’s what they had to say.


What is your favourite ref position and why?


In the past I’d have said Jammer Ref, I like the technical challenge it provides for my skating skills, and it’s actually weirdly relaxing to be able to focus on just the area around one skater! These days I have less of a strong preference, I’m still stronger in some positions than others, but as they’ve all got different focuses I’ve found things I like in all of them.


Buffy


I've been shadowing most positions, and feel most confident as a pack ref. I also like the thought process that goes into calling or not calling penalties from that position - if that makes sense.


Nichola


Ooft. Ehhh...I'll say Jammer ref purely because it's what I've had most experience of. I do enjoy it as it really forces you to up your skating skills having to keep up with those jammers!


Mac



What is the ref position you find most challenging and why?


Front IPR. Pack work is very much still a learning process for me and trying to do it while going backwards just further drags me out of my comfort zone. Haha.


Mac


Front IPR: I’m so used to being Rear IPR at practice (or solo IPR if we’re shorthanded) that I worry constantly about stuff that it just isn’t my job to worry about. I’m probably better at it than I think - but it’s definitely the position I’m, currently, least comfortable with.


Buffy


Eeeek - it’s early days for me, so it’s all a challenge, but in a good way. I hope to be as confident as my mentors one day, and can't wait to be all seeing all knowing.


Nichola



Next time we chat to some of our Refs about why they ref, which rule they found tricky to get their head around and what is involved in ref training.


By granitecityrollerderby, Oct 18 2016 03:23PM

Last week we introduced you to NSO roles and promised some chat from our dedicated NSOs.


So, without further ado - our NSOs chatting about NSOing!



Why do you like to nso?


I like to NSO because I get to watch live derby, which is always fun! (and helpful). It’s a good way to see the game from different perspectives, and also it’s nice to help out.


Rachel


I like to NSO as it gives me a chance to help out and give something back. It also teaches you things you cannot learn while training with the newbs or inters. You get a deeper insight into the rules of the game and how they are called. By actually watching a proper game you see how it is supposed to look, giving you ideas of what you need to work on in practice and what you need to work towards. You also have a chance to meet other people in the club and interact with the teams.


Lena


You learn so much of the game, and you understand things a lot more. From penalty timing I can tell what happens when both jammers get called off and I can anticipate what my team should do. The same if all four blockers get given penalties! From score keeping and scoreboard I anticipate how many points a team got which makes me think about how I skate too (I don't want to be a point!) from experience of jam timing and ref call off I know to KEEP SKATING until the fourth whistle. You pick up a million tiny pointers that make your game play on fleek.


Amanda


It helps me understand the game better, meet the skaters and see how they move (and how I should try to move).


Hayley


What's your favourite nso role? (and why?)


Scorekeeping I think...or penalty tracking. Scorekeeping - you get a good feel for the game and you get a ref buddy. Penalty wrangling or tracking, I like being in middle seeing the game from the ref perspective. I've been in the penalty box (as an NSO!) and I like to do other things.


Amanda


Penalty tracking - you learn the penalties and quirks in the rules, as well as learning the calls and arm signals.


Hayley


I like to penalty track or wrangle, it helps me to understand the rules better and how they actually apply to gameplay. You also get to hang out with the refs in the middle, which is cool.


Rachel


I have not yet tried every NSO job, but so far my favourite is penalty tracking. It allows you to stand in the middle of the track which gives you a very good view of the game and also it means you have to keep up with the game and analyse it to keep track, especially when there is a game with many consecutive penalties. Eventually you start seeing penalties before they are called, giving you a very good idea of what to do and not to do.


Lena


Which nso role do you try to avoid? (and why?)


Jam timing. I can't really get my head round 2 clocks and countdown and checking times plus using whistles. I always want the jammer to call the jam so I don't have to whistle.


Amanda


I try to avoid penalty timing. Not because it’s is not interesting or enjoyable but because it is quite an easy job. It can also get very boring if there are not a lot of penalties in a game. Normally you are also tucked away in a corner somewhere and it can get very cold standing still for that length of time, which will also give you sore feet. It is a little more fun to be the penalty box manager as it has more responsibility and you can call penalties yourself, on rare occasions.


Lena


Jam timing, as I've never done it and haven't learnt the whistles.


Hayley


I find jam timing quite tricky, I find there is a bit too much to try to do at once (whistle, call, hand signal, stopwatch). I’m just not that coordinated.


Rachel


Have you nsod in a bout? what was that like? how was it different from scrims?


I don't think there are huge differences, we should be professional and impartial even when we practise. What I would say is that, scrims give you the confidence to make mistakes and learn from then so that on game day you are as calm as you can be. Sometime if you've been short on NSOs at scrims and you end up doing 2 roles at once, you can get to game day and think "oh this isn't too bad!"


Amanda


There isn’t a huge difference, but it is much noisier, so trying to hear the refs over the crowd can be tricky.


Rachel


Much more "offish" and you really don’t want to miss a thing. It's much louder and fast paced.


Hayley


Yes, I have NSO’d in a bout and it was really fun and you really feel like you are making a difference on the day. It is quite different from scrims as it is much more formal and you are not allowed to participate in the cheering, which you can do at scrims. It is also very loud during a bout, which can make some jobs much more difficult, for example it is very difficult to hear the penalties being called even though you are in the middle of the track as there is just too much background noise. It would also be nice if there was an option of a pink hoodie as the t-shirts can be quite cold. Also during scrims rules are not adhered to very strictly and some are not applied, for example you can’t foul out at scrims, you just have to bear the jokes on your expense.


Lena


Do you think NSOing has helped with your general derby understanding? (if so, how?)


I cannot put into words how important this is to your skating. Your tactical knowledge will improve enormously in a short space of time. You'll see people getting tactics explained for the first time. There's the blank faces (cause it can be super confusing) and there's the ones like "ohhh....THAT’S what that is!!" Those second lot of people, they've NSOd. When baby scrims were first a thing I got told I brought a "tear of pride" to an A player. It was purely from going to scrims and see the tactics played. It also get you used to ref calls, which is vital. I try to be the first one on track taking notice of a jammer penalty. You want to immediately be changing your tactics to reflect that. Again, scrims give you the experience to be as little "deer in headlights" as possible (although sometimes it still happens - no one is perfect).


Amanda


Definitely, you can see the mistakes skaters make and why - and then try to make sure you avoid it!


Hayley


Definitely, it has helped a great deal. You get an insight into the game that you would not otherwise do until you start playing for the teams. It gives you ideas on how to handle situations, how to avoid penalties, show you proper game play and you get to meet more people in the league and familiarise yourself with the club. The list of benefits is long. I believe that NSO’ing should be made part of passing your minimum skills as it gives you such valuable experience of the game, especially since many have not even watched a game when they start and it will give newbs an idea of what they should be working towards.


Lena


It has definitely helped with my understanding of gameplay, and it really helps to put the skills we use in training into context.


Rachel


Do you have any advice for new NSOs?


Just come along and give it a go! Everyone is really friendly and helpful, it’s a great way to learn more about the game and get to know the team skaters.


Rachel


It can seem intimidating at first with so many new things to learn, but the scrims are really easy going and everyone is really nice and if you make a mistake you won’t get prosecuted. Keep at it as it gets easier the more times you come along and have fun with it.


Lena


Just do it. Ask to shadow someone if you're nervous, get on the WFTDA website and look at the rules and watch games on youtube for an idea of what you'll be doing.


Hayley


Don't be scared. You always hear people say "oh but I've never done it before...." I never skated before going my intake day! NSOing makes you a better skater and a bigger part of your team. You got this.


Amanda



We hope we've convinced you that NSOing is fun, and look forward to seeing any new GCRD NSOs at scrims!




By granitecityrollerderby, Oct 11 2016 11:22AM

Well, it’s officially October and so we thought we’d dedicate the month to our wonderful officials (both on and off skates). After a bit of a false start, here we go!


Today we introduce the roles of the Non Skating Officials (NSOs) and hopefully answer any questions you may have (what does line-up do? How do you wrangle a penalty?).


If you attend a bout you will see people in pink, quite often with clipboards, stopwatches or whistles. Those are the NSOs and even though they are not skating they are a vital part of any bout or scrim.


There are a few different nso positions, and everyone has their favourite. Non mins passed skaters are encouraged to attend scrims to practise nso-ing, and try all the different positions to be able to do them confidently on bout day.


So if you do decide to nso at scrims (or a bout), here are some of the roles you could take on:


Penalty Timer

You will stand behind the penalty box and time one team’s blockers when they come into the penalty box and release them when their time is up.


Score Tracker

You will be paired up with one of the Jam Referees. On each scoring pass they will signal the points their Jammer scored. You confirm the number then write it on the Score Sheet, recording the Jam total and running total.


Line Up

You will be assigned a team. At the start of each jam you will record the numbers of the players on track. You will also record when players enter and leave the penalty box.


Penalty Tracker

You will listen out for penalty calls and player numbers and record them on the Penalty Tracking Sheet.


Penalty Wrangler

You will support the penalty tracker, listening out for penalty calls and player numbers and confirming with the penalty tracker.


Jam Timer

You will have 2 stopwatches (1 for the game, one for the current jam). You will whistle to start the jam, and call it off if it runs to 2 minutes.


There are other roles that are only filled on bout days (scoreboard, inside whiteboard) which are basically extensions of score tracking and penalty tracking.


Now you know the basics, next time we’ll hear from some of GCRD’s dedicated NSOs about why they NSO, which role they prefer (and try to avoid!) and what it’s like NSOing at a bout.




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