|Great illustration by Dusty Melling!|
In Derby, you fall down. You fall down a lot. BUT... you also learn how to fall and with your pads and the right technique, nine times out of ten, you really don't feel it!
You may be skeptical, but those pads really do make a HUGE difference. I had no idea, having never seen any up close before gearing up from the freshmeat bag, but derby knee pads about three inches thick with a hard shell on the front. When you fall properly on to these pads, landing on the shell, not only do you get a really good cushion, but you should theoretically slide a little on the floor, which also helps to distribute the impact.
|The 187 Killer Pads Pro Derby knee pads|
that I bought at Bruised Boutique.
Though there are several different types of "recoveries" that you learn and get tested on in Derby, the one thing they all have in common is that they involve falling forward. While as I mentioned in a previous post, that all players are required to wear helmets, mouthguards, elbow pads, knee pads, and wristguards, there are no rules about any other equipment. There are players that wear padded shorts to protect their tailbones in accidental backwards falls, but the general practice is to learn to fall forward so that you will be protected by the required gear. Thus, as a freshmeat skater, you will spend at LEAST one practice on learning the three basic fall "recoveries." (I know I did. This practice WIPED ME OUT!) You will learn:
*Single Knee Taps - These are honestly my least favorite, though probably the most useful in a game situation. The idea here is to recognize when you are losing your balance, and to just tap your knee, one or the other, on the floor long enough to help stabilize you then pop back up to full skating, without touching the floor with your hands (Fingers make excellent targets for other skaters' wheels...). Easier said than done, LOL. Originally we practiced these by skating back and forth up and down the rink just alternating knees on the floor. My quads were screaming! I also could only do about three or four before I'd lose my balance completely and need to reset before doing any more. Having practiced these for months now, though, I can say that doing one for the purpose it's truly intended is both useful and much easier than it was when I first started.
|One of POD's skaters landing in a double knee slide |
during a bout with Elm City.
|Here's a pic from a game we had with the Elm City team. |
See how the Elm City player on the left has positioned
her legs to recover to standing? *We just try not to use
our hands like this...
*Four Point Fall - This final fall and recovery is both the easiest in a way and the toughest. This is a full fledged fall to the ground. It is called a four point fall because four parts of your body should land on the floor if you do it properly. Again you should be able to recognize that you will fall. Then, the goal is to first fall on to the knees as if you are doing a double knee slide (points one and two) and then to continue falling onto your forearms (points three and four). Hands should be fisted and arms bent at a ninety degree angle so that you land on the flat of your forearms with your thumbs on the top of your fists. Your head should be tucked down near the forearms, but not between them, so that you are both protecting your head if another player trips on you, but you are not smashing your face on the ground. Recovery builds on the same principles as the earlier falls - bring upper torso upright, then bring up one knee, brace and lift to skating
|A POD player lands in a four point fall during a game, |
tucking in to avoid injury.
Now that we've talked about falling and recovery, I suppose I should go a little more in depth about my safety gear! Next time, I'll talk all about how I picked out my skates and such up at the Bruised Boutique in New Hampshire. It's an awesome derby gear store.
Until next time...
Nikki Tesla #134