Roller Derby: A pivotal moment for a wannabe

Posted on February 27, 2011 by

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During our recent raw meat training we had a drill that involved pack skating.  This is the first of such drills for this league and I was a little surprised (but very pleased) it was done so early in our education.  The skills needed for this drill were skating close together using “sticky feet” (skating without lifting your skates from the floor), communication, being visually aware of your surroundings and controlling speed.

The drill required two packs of about 6 or so girls on the track.  Each pack had to remain the same distance apart for the 3 minute duration.  A girl was nominated as the “pivot” and she was in charge of maintaining and setting the pace.  At the same time we all had to get into a low derby stance and look behind us to call out the number of fingers being held up by the instructor.

In a real roller derby match the “pivot” is the girl who has the stripe on her helmet and is usually found at the front of the pack.  The pivot controls the speed of the pack and is vital to pack defence and offense and aids the jammer in making it through the pack to score.  These are usually the most vocal of the girls in the pack.  (Click here to get more info on roller derby roles and rules).

Pivots Front of Pack: Bride of Skatan & Marshall Stacks

I was pretty stoked to be nominated as the pivot by my fellow derby wannabes.  I was a tad nervous as, most of the time, I really have little idea of what I’m doing.  I don’t follow instructions that well due to having an attention span of a goldfish!

I found myself relishing the role, any opportunity to get loud and talk a lot is fine with me!  Plus doing 10 things at once keeps me focused and not thinking about the invasion of my personal space, unlike the trauma that was to unfold later in the night!  (In my opinion there’s time and a place for “up close and personal”!)

It was a good experience and made me start to consider what position I might like to play on a derby team.  I would LOVE to be a jammer but, as you’ve seen in my previous post, sadly I’m not quite that fast… yet!  I’m now considering that being a pivot could be for me.  But, at the end of the day, I would just be happy to get on a team and play!

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