If you're thinking of joining us with a view to playing Roller Derby, then check out our helpful Q&A's below first...
Beginners, Rookies, Taster sessions, with separate coaches and marked-off area. Hall shared with the Main League / Travel Team skaters for small-group drills and tactics. Taster sessions/Rookies, £5.00 per 2hr session for non-YMCA members, £6.50 per session for non-YMCA members - 1st session FREE. (YMCA membership is approx' £15/year for single-activity use members). This is paid weekly on arrival until graduated into the League, then £27 per month paid monthly for entry to all the Wednesday and Saturday sessions. Just ask to borrow our 2nd-hand, used kit.
Main League / Travel Team skaters only (no Rookies). Skaters can attend both days if they wish, Travel Team skaters are encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible. See the Calendar to check our training days.
Weekends also often feature a scheduled in-house, closed scrimmage (practice game amongst our own members with no spectators) and at occasional points throughout the year when we have no events or games scheduled, we also hold scrimmages which are open to skaters from other leagues to attend, spectators can view from the venue's upstairs cafe viewing windows. Skaters from Cornwall Roller Derby, North Devon Roller Derby and South West Angels of Terror (Exeter) often join us for these, as do visiting 'guest' skaters who may be in the area on holiday or business. All our events are posted within our private members forums and on our public Facebook Events page where appropriate. We also attend scrim's hosted by neighbour leagues in Cornwall, North and East Devon, as well as further afield.
Where and when do you train?
We train at YMCA John Kitto in Honicknowle, Plymouth, not too far from the top of Central Park. We have our own permanently marked Roller Derby track in one of the main sports halls. The venue has a large, free car park.
I've never skated before, is that a problem?
Not at all. Our training is based on the WFTDA 'Minimum Skills' programme and is coached by a variety of our experienced team skaters and skating referees. Some of our advanced travel team skaters began as pure beginners holding on to the wall for support! We will teach you to skate and stop in a controlled manner and even a variety of techniques that enable you to fall safely...this is a full-contact
sport, so you WILL be falling at times, you'll be amazed at how much your confidence and ability will grow. This happens before any Roller Derby is delivered, which comes in bite-sized, fun exercises with skaters at your ability level, at your own pace.
How fit do I need to be? Do you have to be 'sporty'?
If you have good basic fitness and mobility then you will get fitter and fitter with regular weekly attendance because skating is a great calorie-burner and as your skating improves and you begin contact play, is a great stamina builder. You do not have to be an athlete to begin training with us, gradually your body strength, flexibility and cardio' fitness will improve.
What do I need to wear and bring with me?
A water bottle is a must, you'll probably re-fill it at least once during a session. Relaxed, breathable clothing that you can exercise in, such as leggings and T-shirt, rugby shorts or gym clothes. To begin with you can borrow from our stash of 2nd-hand skates which are Quad Skates (4 wheels on each boot, roller derby is not played on roller-blades or in-line skates). We have a limited number of skates in limited sizes, you can also borrow from our safety kit but if you have your own skates and/or kit then please do bring them along, as the type of skate and safety apparel is more important later on, when you have learned to skate, tried a few basic derby sessions and have made your decision that the sport is for you. Check out the "Where to buy kit" page for options on buying yourself everything you need 2nd-hand or new, for those with the tightest budgets right up to those with larger wallets, online or at bricks-&-mortar shops.
You will need as mandatory:
Quad skates with length-adjustable toe stops.
Knee pads - high quality, Derby-specific.
(Mouth guard - after a couple of months, depending on your progress you will need a mouth guard when you begin to learn to play the sport, in the same way that players of other contact sports must wear a mouth guard.) Many skaters prefer mould-able Sisu brand for their low volume, allowing for normal talking and drinking.
Is this for women only? Can anyone do it or is it just for young, athletic types? I'm not a spring chicken anymore, will I look silly turning up for this?
Because this is a full contact sport, you have to be at least 18 years of age. Bring with you the desire to be part of a sport which is different! We are mostly women and people made up of genders who define as women or non-binary, but we do have three or four men amongst our members including a recent Rookie. Men can train with us and play in Scrimmages (practice games) and Bouts (full, games against rival teams or themed teams, often open to spectators and / or sanctioned) which are advertised specifically as "Co-ed". Roller Derby is an accepting and inclusive sport, some people who say they never really 'found' a sport they wanted to stick with, or never felt that they quite 'fitted in' with other sports, found that Roller Derby has ticked all their boxes. PCRD is made up of a very wide range of people, of different body-types, ages and backgrounds....to give you an idea, our own members say they are...
People who had never skated before, people who had only skated outdoors, people who hadn't skated since they were kids, people who had only ever ice skated.
Working as a Teacher, School Technician, Jeweller, Maker, Assesor, Civl Servant, Nurse, Student, Barista, Administrator, Events Coordinator, Pharmacist, Care worker, Support worker,
H.E Admissions Officer, Teaching Assistant, Film Programmer, Council Officer, Self Employed business owner, Public Health Practitioner, Mental Health Nurse, Fleet Manager...
People who are parents, single parents and not parents.
People who joined PCRD as young as 20, right up to those of us who joined at 56.
People who live in Plymouth, in Cornwall and as much as an hour's drive away.
People who hadn't participated in a team sport since school, or done any sporting activity since school, to those who , played rugby, run marathons, play netball, white-water kayak, raced motorbikes, sea-swim all year 'round, jog, skateboard, roller skate at skate parks, go to the gym or quietly exercise at home in the lounge.
When do I get to play against other teams? What if I don't want to play against other teams but just want to play Derby at a recreational level for now?
You can start participating in our in-house closed Scrim's as soon as your coaches feel that you have reached an appropriate level of ability. Once you have worked your way through Minimum Skills you will be able to apply to take part in a variety of Rookie games that go on all across the country, including the South West. These are ideal beginner events and consist only of new players at the same level, some are female only but many are Co-Ed.
After a handful or more of these, you may choose to maintain a relaxed approach and continue as one of our Recreational derby skaters, participating in 'friendly' events at home, in the South West or further afield which do not have the pressure of being part of a British Champs or other series which counts towards the official ranking of a league. If you would like to take your participation in the sport 'up a notch' then you will be offered the opportunity to join the Travel Team, who participate in sanctioned and non-sanctioned games across the South West and beyond, which are important to our rankings and where attendance at the events which make up the various series is important for maintaining a cohesive team. The travel team wear matching uniform to these events, whereas the Rec' Team need only own a black scrim top and a white scrim top for playing in non-sanctioned games.
Does everyone play on track?
Some of our members choose to move across from skating as a player and instead prefer to participate by becoming either skating officials (Referees) or Non-Skating Officials. Referees are skating officials who are responsible for tracking the Jammer scores, spotting and calling penalties,keeping the game running
smoothly and safely and fairly settling disputes. Ref's also need a high level of skating ability and wear the same protective kit as skaters except for the mouth guard. NSO's are off-skates officials responsible for timing skaters stays in the penalty box, score keeping, tracking penalties and more. Without Ref's and NSO's the Scrims and Bouts cannot run.
How much does it cost?
Those of our members who are able to, also take turns in helping to keep PCRD running through a variety of voluntary small tasks, roles and bigger committee roles, either occasionally or regularly. Once graduated from the Rookie sessions, members currently pay flat rate monthly sub's of £27/month for up to 8 sessions/month (that's just over £3.30 for a two hour session of coached skating time, tactics, theory, exercise, fun and comradeship!) paid monthly whether you choose to benefit from just one session per week or two. Committee members who take on year-long voluntary roles in running the organisation pay reduced rates, as do referees and those who only NSO. Beginners / Rookies /New Recruits sessions and taster sessions cost £5 per 2hr session (or £6.50 for non YMCA members, where £1.50 is paid at the YMCA entrance desk) paid per session upon arrival and includes use of our 2nd-hand kit if required, with taught content tailored to suit each individual.
OK! OK!....I've read ALLLLL the stuff now let me do this! What's next...?
WATCH THIS half hour documentary about us, made by local TV comapny SW1TV to give you a flavour of what we are about!
....Just follow these 3 steps;
post a "hello" and introduce yourself in the group so that we know you're there. The waiver and code of conduct can also be found in the "ABOUT" section of the group. We run beginner sessions year 'round.