Objective: Conditioning; to practice stops/slides/falls
Typical length of drill: 7 minutes timed
Materials needed: 6 cones
Skill level required: None
Description: Have all of your skaters line up at the short end of your space next to each other with their backs against the wall. Along the wall on the long end of your space place one cone about 20 feet (ca. 6+ meters) ahead of the skaters, another cone about 20 feet ahead of that, and a third cone about 20 feet ahead of that. Place matching cones along the other wall. These will serve as the markers for the skaters. Depending on the size of your space you may simply want to divide it into thirds and place the cones at the divides. The diagram below the description should help you visualize. For the duration of the drill the skaters are going to sprint to the cones and do a specific fall/slide/stop, then sprint back to the wall to turn around and repeat. Tell the skaters in advance what fall/slide/stop you want them to do at which cone. This should be selected based on what your skaters need to work on. In the diagram below I have suggested the double knee slide at the first cone, a single knee slide at the second, and a baseball slide at the third. I like to have them practice turning toe stops or transitions when they get back to the wall.
So, here's what it looks like: A timer blows the whistle to start the drill and starts timing. Skaters immediately sprint to the first cone, do a double knee slide, sprint back to the wall, do a turning toe stop, sprint to the second cone, do a single knee slide, sprint back to the wall, do a turning toe stop, sprint to the last cone, do a baseball slide, sprint back to the wall, do a turning toe stop, sprint to the first cone, do a double knee slide, sprint back to the wall, do a turning toe stop, etc. etc. This continues for the specified time. If they are pushing themselves they should be quite tired at the end of the 7 minutes, and they should have gotten the chance to practice your choice of falls/slides/stops quite a few times.
Additional notes: This is another classic drill that's been around for a very long time. This one can be done both on and off skates and is practiced in many different sports (I even remember my high school sweetheart doing this at wrestling practice). I learned the derby use for it while skating with New Hampshire Roller Derby. There are many different variations on this one as well which will be posted over time. This drill can also be used for warm-ups. Please note that because all the skaters will be doing this at their own pace it should not be a problem that they are all lined up next to each other at the start, everyone will quickly be at different speeds and parts of the track. This is also a good way to practice looking ahead while skating and dodging other skaters :)
Whether or not they are open about it, many skaters' lives have been touched by suicide and it's not something you want to remind them of at practice. For this reason I suggest you call this drill something else (and please share your creative names with the rest of us in the comments below!). I have playfully given it the nick-name Charlie Sheens because after only 5 minutes you want this to end...
Another training drill I can do off the track. With a heavy work and school load, derby will balance my work:play ratio. This drill is a key component of an hour long exercise routine I've created to get myself in shape for derby.
This is an easy drill I can practice at home on days there isn't practice. I am definitely still in the fresh meat skill level, but everyone has to start somewhere. Great practice drill. During the open skates I have attended (3), weaves are something I've practiced. This drill is a great warm up and just good practice for skating control.
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Instructions: Skaters take turns pushing and pulling three other skaters for 60 seconds at a time. Divide all of your skaters into groups of four (if your skaters don't evenly divide into groups of four you can have one or two groups of five, or involve the referees!) and then have all the groups spread themselves out around the track so that everyone isn't starting from the same exact place. The groups should form lines where everyone but the first person is holding on to the hips of another skater, essentially building a train. On the whistle the person in the back begins pushing the three skaters in front of her/him while the three skaters stay in proper derby stance doing nothing but being dead-weight. The skater in the back pushes her/his teammates for 60 seconds and then the coach blows the whistle again signaling for the pusher to let go and skate up to the front of the line and become dead-weight. The person now in the back begins pushing. This continues until all the skaters in line have gotten the chance to push for 60 seconds, then the pulling begins. Each skater pulls the line of three dead-weight skaters behind her for 60 seconds and then drops back and grabs onto the skater in the back becoming dead-weight herself/himself.
Coaches during this drill should consistently be correcting skaters on their form because after a while this drill gets really heavy on the legs and skaters begin standing up more. It's good to remind skaters that they can make it easier for the pusher/puller by being low -- the taller a skater stands, the more difficult it is for the pusher/puller. http://www.allderbydrills.com/2010/11/push-n-pull.html
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