Amy, Eliza and Hannah took a trip back to childhood and strapped on some skates to join the London Rockin’ Rollers for their first training session of the season. It promised fitness, fun and a fast-paced experience (although did we fly or trundle…? Read on!) so obviously we had to get involved.
Because we each found it a very different experience, we thought we’d all share our thoughts:
AMY: I’ve been eyeing up Roller Derby for a while now so I was so excited when I heard that we had the chance to go and have a training session with the London Rockin Rollers…. unfortunately, skating a bit when I was 13 did not set me up too well… and skating is really not like riding a bike…. I was rubbish! However, I really enjoyed it and I felt that with practice and training I could really get into it! I live quite far away but if I was a bit closer I would definitely be heading to their Fresh Meat trials next month! What it really brought back to me though was my love for team sports, I played hockey a lot at school and had totally forgotten how fun it is to be part of a sports team. Overall I found the experience really inspiring and really enjoyed meeting such great ladies, and I really appreciate how welcome they all made us. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a very non-boring way to workout, a new skill and some excitement (be prepared though – you better not be afraid of getting a bump or two!)
ELIZA: Rollerskating is HARD. That was my first thought. It’s a lot harder than when you’re a kid and scuffing your way around on your Fisher Price yellow and blue rollerskates (did anyone else have those?). Having seen a bout a few months before, I totally didn’t appreciate the amount of skill required to a) get speed b) stay upright and c) look like you know what you’re doing. As soon as I strapped on our skates, I felt like Bambi (you know that scene where she stands for the first time?) and was very relieved when we were told we’d start with the basics. Of falling (I wasn’t quite sure about this). This was my least favourite – falling is so unnatural. As well as falling, we learnt how to stop (also very useful), skate in one direction (yay!) and we also tried jumps and some kind of spin. I felt a hair’s breadth away from face-planting each time I rolled forward but that adrenaline made it all the more fun. Yes, I totally shat myself several times but it was fun to feel like a kid again!
HANNAH: I find the monotony of a gym very dull, so when an opportunity comes to experience an awesome way to exercise, I jump to it! An evening, training with the London Rockin’ Rollers! All I knew about a Roller Derby was from the 2009 film, ‘Whip It’. The feisty girls in this movie made me a little nervous in anticipation for what was about to transpire, but as it was a training day and not a game, I was excited and raring to go.
In preparation, I bought and learned how to mould my first ever mouth guard! However awkward, I value my teeth and safety is paramount. I also treated myself to new yoga leggings and shorts that are tight fitting. This is important, so that your clothes aren’t flapping about your person with the risk of getting caught in your skates, or being ripped by the other players. I also do love any excuse to go shopping!
With my mouth guard in, my knee, wrist and elbow pads clamped on, my helmet strapped to my head and my skates tightly laced, I was ready to go! The girls were awesome, as they gave us a few safety tips and techniques before we joined in with the class. They explained how to execute a safety fall onto one knee, or both knees. This is important as it reduces your risk of injury, should you lose your balance. We learned how to slow down and stop, by using a technique similar to snowplow when skiing. After practicing these maneuvers, we were then ready to join in with the class, but on the sidelines, as these girls have been in training for six months!
I loved the class. It was energetic and exciting and was a really fun workout, but unlike the gym, I didn’t want to quit, I actually wanted to push myself and keep going. A little hot and sweaty, I observed and copied the instructor as she taught us moves, such as how to turn, first ninety and then a hundred and eighty degrees. I didn’t manage the full three sixty as a tidy and well-executed spin, but rather a large circular and goofy looking rotation, but I did it! I was not confident enough to join in during the mock derby, but enjoyed watching the techniques that the girls had learned during their class. With a little more training, I reckon I could do it! I felt great after the class, energized and alive, though a little sore on my quads the following day! I guess this means that I was working hard!
I was lucky enough to have borrowed all the kit for my trial session, but if you are thinking of joining, you must equip yourself with all the necessary items. I am excited to learn that the ‘Fresh Meat’ trials are beginning soon, so will definitely check this out when the date is released.
THANK YOU LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS FOR WELCOMING US SO WARMLY, LENDING US KIT AND MAKING SURE WE HAD A FANTASTIC TIME.
Want to take part in the Fresh Meat tryouts? There’s more information here.
We’re also pleased to announce that The London Rockin’ Rollers are taking part in the British Championships this year and have their first bout on the 24th January. Check out their team profile and upcoming bouts here.