Friday, June 4, 2010

GEAR 101

Here is a great article on helmets and knee pads. How to pick the right ones and when to replace them!
WFTDA’s gear up!

Sharon says:

Wrist guards:
There is not much difference as far as padding or style goes. I do recommend though finding ones that do NOT have a lot of stretch in the straps. They will stretch out very quickly and then you’ll have to tape them down all the time or hear about how your stupid pads scratched me. I wear and highly recommend TSG Pro Wrist Guards. Will last you a long time as long as you wash yer shit (only reason I have had to buy new ones is due to perma-stink).

Elbow Pads:
I personally do not have much of a preference on elbow pads. I have noted from others is to check if the pads separate under the cap – more or less where the point of your elbow will be. Some brands separate that padding into two instead of one.
The important thing about elbow pads is that these are hard to determine when you need to replace them. Over time the padding breaks down and gives less and less protection. As a rule of thumb, they should be replaced every year to year and a half-ish. If you got a bruise on your elbow from a recent fall, for the love of god it wasn’t a bad fall, you are under-protected! You will realize a huge difference when you get new ones!
I wear TSG. No reason, I just like TSG stuff but wouldn’t say they are better or worse than the Rector ones I had before.

Knee Pads:
During my first year before we had much research done on knee pads and when the sport was young, the pads I wore gave me extreme fluid buildup under my knee. I also further aggravated a torn PCL that I apparently have had since I was a wee one. Bad, cheap pads = injury. DON’T SKIMP ON THE KNEE PADS.

I have used Rector Fat Boys. They were decent, I recall the padding broke down quickly. But otherwise, not bad.

I have used TSG Force III.

Here’s a surprise – I loved them too. <3 TSG! Do NOT try to take the cap off though. I ended up pulling the glue from the cap and had to occasionally hot glue it back. *I’m stupid*

I currently skate with Smith SCABS Elite. I like them but would not recommend them without gaskets. They are comfy, lightweight, and the straps keep a great fit. Note: these come in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. I wear L/XL and sorry bigger girls, L/XL may not fit. Smith SCABS Psycho (below) are same as Elite, just crazy looking.

Other recommendations: 187 Pro Knees. Pro-Designed. Most knee pads designed for vert skating. Some girls also use motocross pads and really like them as well.

Rule of thumb – replace every year-ish. New girls, definitely buy new pads a year into derby! Your first year you spend so much time doing falls, etc. they will break down much quicker!
Personal opinion: There are some super expensive pads that will tell you that you don’t have to replace them for five years or some crap – don’t fall for it. Pads are pads, and with use WILL break down from everyday use. I only know of one girl on my team who has, but she does not have much praise for them.

I literally just started wearing these about a month ago and cannot back these enough. They keep your pads from slipping because they have Velcro strips that attach to the back of your knee pads. They also provide an exceptional amount of extra padding. If you’re too broke for new knee pads – the least you should do is buy gaskets. You know how mama always said better safe than sorry? GET THEM. GET THEM. GET THEM.

With all of my advice, I constantly recommend trying on everyone’s shit. This is no different. I know I like to pretend my word is the Bible, but it really is just a personal opinion. Ask what others liked. Ask to try it on. You will regret it if you have pads too little or big for you. Pads should be snug when you first purchase them – they will stretch out. Remember that when you try them on, it might not hurt to ask how long they have had them so you have an idea of the wear on them.

*whew* another boring topic done and out of the way!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

oh, hai. we're a big deal...

snipped from DNN.

Kansas City In Trouble? Or Omaha on the Move?
There's also a big negative move for previous #14 Kansas City. KC takes a severe drop to #23 after nearly losing to a Omaha team that has never previously seemed to present a threat to top-25 teams -- that bout ended 125-114. It remains to be seen whether that result was an outlier, a sign of new strength for Omaha, or a sign of big trouble for KC, but for the moment they drop 9 slots.

Two Teams To Watch
Omaha -- As mentioned above, it's currently hard to tell whether their close bout with Kansas City is a portent of big things to come for the Nebraska team. Bouts against Ohio and Grand Raggidy at the May 22-23 Midwest Brewhaha will help a little in judging their strength.

be on the look out. we're going to make some waves at Brew! be sure to watch it on the DNN feed, and donate to DNN!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Give Your Zebra a Hug Day

How much do you love your refs? It amazes me how much our refs love what they are doing even though they get the most flack and least amount of appreciation. I mean really, you ever seen this situation happen: a close game but your team loses, but it wasn’t your fault – it was that god damned so and so ref who called you out for something you totally did not do. Right? Wah, wah.

So I dub today, Give Your Zebra a Hug Day. They spend countless hours reading those rules that you probably haven’t read since they were last released (for shame). They are always being called into judgment as to why the eff you got that major. The discussions over the rules on the WFTDA board seriously make me thankful I am not a ref when I see 8 pages on **BLEEEEEP** (WFTDA confidentiality agreement bleep) that makes my mind explode after only one page about Blocker A and Blocker B on White Team and Black Team doing this shit:
B B A -> B
Those diagrams make me do that “HUUUUHHH?” with my head cocked at an angle look that dogs do. And why do the zebras do it? Outside of the fact that they must think they look good in stripes ... you’ve got me, but I do know how important of a role they play.

Be prepared, I am about to make a very bold statement (in bold font nonetheless): No league will succeed with poor reffing. If your refs stray from the rules in the slightest from standard practice, oh man will that bite you in the ass when the opposing team’s refs keep calling you out on back blocking because you have thought your “dive through two blockers” move was “ok” this whole time and now you can't break the habit in a matter of minutes to stay out of the box for the game. Keep doing it and your whole league will be noted as a dirty team (ew, ew, go wash those britches).

So please, please train your refs. The best way you can repay your entire league so that it can to become more competitive is to ensure your refs receive the proper training. Make sure they get to regionals and nationals to watch how certified refs make calls. Funny thing, these zebras, when they go to tournaments… they don’t watch the game, they watch the other zebras. If you hear about any sort of ref training, make sure they get there. You would be surprised with even four years of skating here there are things that make me go “OHHHHH”. If you can, get a certified ref to head ref a game and give you some constructive feedback to your refs.
Until then? Remember, roller derby is absolutely one of the hardest games to ref, so at some time this week when you see your fellow zebras herding about, tell them thanks and give them a hug... or canoe... whatever, just make sure they know they are appreciated... even if they missed that call when that bitch hit you in the face.

Stupid refs. We love you.

Friday, March 26, 2010

wheels 101

Friday afternoons are the worst. So why not finally get something on this blog! I want to talk about one of my favoritest subjects – WHEELS! Watch out, this one is a long, kind of boring, but super important one!

Let’s start with the basics. Standard wheels are 62mm x 44mm (width), are made of poly urethane and come in a wide variety of hardness. I recommend sticking with standard sizes for your first new wheels but will get into different sizes later.
First, let’s discuss wheels level of hardness or grip. This is by far the most important factor in determining wheels. The harder the wheels, the less grip you will have, which results in less agility and more speed. The softer the wheels, the more grip you will have therefore you will gain agility but lose speed. So it is important to find a happy medium between something that is too grippy that will make you feel sluggish and something too hard that will make you feel unstable and make you lose confidence in your cross overs. I have had both ends of the spectrum, and believe me, nothing is less fun than trying out new wheels that are way too slick and literally having your feet unable to stay underneath you. “TIIIIMMMBEERRRR!!!” . . . *splat!*

A good guide to try to figure out how hard you want your wheels is the wheel’s durometer which in simple terms is a method that is used to calculate the hardness of the wheel - the higher the number, the less grippy (more hard). This is indicated by a number, followed by an A and I have seen wheels as high as 100A and as low as 78A for outdoor wheels. Most derby skaters will skate on somewhere between 88A through 95A. (yawning yet?) It is important to note though, there is some controversy regarding the durometer scale but for simplicity sake realize that a 92A in one manufacturer may be different in another, but in general it is a good guide.
Different levels of hardness/grippiness/durometer will have different results based on your skating surface. You will likely skate on wood, concrete, skate/sport court, concrete, and masonite. Derby helper actually has quite an amazing blog about skate floors that you should check out. I fear getting into this in length for purposes of discussing wheels would be a moot point, but again there is differences in concrete based on how dirty it is. There is differences in wood based on how well kept up and lacquered it is. There is significant difference in just skate court and sport court. Let’s just simply say that every surface you skate on is different and some wheels with more grip will compensate for, say, playing somewhere that has a gross ass dirty floor where pigs once ran around the week previously.
Next – that part where your bearings are, that’s your wheel hub and you can get either nylon or aluminum. Having never tried aluminum hubs, I can’t say much about them except that they are more durable (duh) and shiny (oooOOOoo... shiny things!). As far as durability goes, the only nylon hubs I have seen broken were due to a bad order which the manufacturer had to replace a lot of them. Aluminum is also more expensive and also supposedly more heavy. Again, never had ‘em, but... oooOOO... shiny! I would definitely recommend looking for something that states “hollow core” as they are substantially more lightweight than any other wheels.

Great info, right – now what? Use the resources you’ve got! Ask your other derby girls what they use. Note their brand and durometer rating (or you can find this online). A lot of girls mix them up and typically wear "pushers" on the left side of your skate and something harder on the rights, for example I use 88A on my lefts, 94A on my rights. If you can, borrow someone’s bald wheels that they have laying around. If you ask, I can nearly guarantee someone will help. If not, buy lots of them! Remember that part where I said no skating surface is the same? Well you’re going to eventually skate on all of those, so get started on collecting an arsenal of wheels because I am sure that you will use them at one point or another.

Ugh. I think I may have nearly put myself to sleep with that one but I have given this discussion 1,000 times so now I can just reference this post. Really, it’s about working smarter, not harder people… just like getting the right wheels! (like how I brought that back?)

Look at the time, ah, very productive Friday afternoon! ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

derby girls like it rough!

as of march 14th, 2010 i will have been skating for four years. yes. four glorious years! and with no end in sight, and a wealth of knowledge i have stuck floating around in this derby nerd brain of mine... i thought what better than to do a blog devoted to roller derby? i have lots of experience from three years at rollercon, a WFTDA league representative, league Finance guru, and an unreal amount of hours researching, i have learned a lot of shit... but most importantly, like any good derby girl... i always think i'm right! so i will post informative things that i can have my league refer back to instead of retyping the same shit every year with a new wave of newbies, or i may get some ideas from other leagues, or sometimes just telling the world how great my life is with this amazing thing known as roller derby!