Our next Intro to Roller Derby session begins September 21; if you’ve ever had so much as a fleeting thought about roller derby, the Intro program is a great way to dip your toe in the water.

The Intro to Roller Derby program runs once a week on Saturday mornings; there are a total of 22 sessions in the program. Interested humans without skating backgrounds of any kind (or sports backgrounds, for that matter) can learn to safely execute the basic skills required for roller derby. And if you happen to be an interested human who does have a skating or sports background, this program is still for you! A minimum skills test runs at week 11, during which, Intro participants have the opportunity to fast-track to Royal City’s rookie team (Our Ladies of Pain).

Intro to Roller Derby breaks the whole of roller derby into its parts. The members of the training team have a wide range of skating styles, skating backgrounds, and personalities; efforts are made to create an environment conducive to learning. There are a number of ways to execute any given skill pertaining to roller derby, and the trainers strive to help individuals find the way that is going to work best for them.

What is this going to cost me?

The program itself costs $100.00 (less expensive and waaaayyyy more fun than most gyms). This fee covers the cost of the practice space and skater insurance. This fee does not include the cost of the skates and protective gear participants are required to wear. You will need:

  1. Roller skates
  2. Knee pads
  3. Elbow pads
  4. Wrist guards
  5. Helmet (no bike helmets please!)
  6. Mouth guard

There are roller derby shops that bundle these things together for beginner skaters, but you are not obligated to buy a complete package.

What can I expect to learn?

Over the course of the 22 weeks, participants will learn how to skate efficiently (both forwards and backwards), to stop safely, to fall safely, and to make contact with other humans (safely).

(We’re really big on doing things safely)

In addition to basic skating skills, participants will also learn the rules of roller derby and basic gameplay strategy.

All Royal City Roller Derby skaters are required to pass a minimum skills test before they are permitted to engage in scrimmages or official game play. A minimum skills test is run during Week 11; passing this test allows participants to fast-track to Our Ladies of Pain, where they will be slowly introduced to a higher level of play. Not passing this test is still incredibly beneficial; it gives skaters time to go over their strengths with their tester, and figure out some points of focus so that they’re ready when the next testing opportunity occurs at Week 22.

Not passing at Week 22 is okay too! The Intro program is designed to be 22 sessions long, but there are no limits to the number of times you can pay to repeat the program. If your end goal is to play roller derby, the trainers will get you there. If you’re happy exercising in an outside-the-box manner once a week with some pals, we are here for your good energy. Keep doing what makes you happy.

I’ve never skated before, and the thought of failing in front of strangers is scary.

Every experienced skater has a plethora of embarrassing things they have done on (and off) skates. In the great words of Thomas Wayne, we fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up. Failing in front of strangers is incredibly scary, but eventually, they won’t be strangers anymore. And failing in front of friends is hilarious.

You’ve convinced me! What do I do now?

Please e-mail introtoderby@royalcityrollerderby.com to get in touch with our Intro to Roller Derby administrator. You won’t be left waiting too long for a reply, but in the meantime, take a look at our schedule! Make plans to watch a game and flag down a human with an ‘Ask Me About Roller Derby’ sign. There are no silly questions, and our roller derby humans get excited whenever anyone shows a modicum of interest in chatting about the games. If attending alone seems daunting, bring some friends! Being brave is easy with backup.

In the event that the next game on the schedule is too far away to satiate your pressing hunger for roller derby knowledge, the YouTube channel WFTDA: A Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the best source for game footage. The video footage may not make a lot of sense without context, but you can save up all your questions for the live Royal City game, and make the Ask Me About Roller Derby human earn their keep.