Insights into starting Roller Derby, by two of our newly minted PCRD skaters.

We're always so proud of our trainees who make it through our training programme and emerge out the other end as fledgling roller derby bouters! We asked Gina - aka, Block It Launch Her 218 - and Clare - aka, Battle Siren 118 - a few searching questions to help you decide if Roller Derby is right for you or someone you know!

How did you first find out about Roller Derby? I knew someone that was a rookie a few years ago. Then googled roller derby, Plymouth and found PCRD.

I was looking for something I could do with my dog in January and had found an old pair of skates, so I googled 'skating places in Plymouth' with a view to skating on the Hoe. The next day an advert popped on FB to like the PCRD page and I followed the link from there to the website. I emailed my interest and was messaged by Coops (PCRD skater & coach) not long after.

What caught your eye about the sport? I liked the fact that it is a female dominated sport, it is tough and I wanted to do something that involved a team.

I had watched roller derby as a kid in the late 70's and was fascinated. However, what we have today has evolved into something so much more amazing that I cant even pinpoint one particular thing about the sport. It encompasses me as a whole. My gut feeling lead me, I trusted it and I'm so glad i did!!

What made you decide to start doing it yourself and did you join up straight away or did it take a while? it was after Christmas and I already did quite a lot of keep fit, cardio and HIIT training but all home based. It was a Sunday evening last January 2018 I emailed the PCRD email address and within 10 mins Coops emailed me back and I started on the following Wednesday (rookie training night).

My dad had passed away days after I emailed the interest, followed by my dog 2 weeks later. My mind imploded and resulted in me having a breakdown. When Coops messaged me, it was the evening of my dads funeral (Monday) and I was invited to the rookie training 2 days later. I very nearly didn't go and sat in the car park for 10 minutes trying to get the courage to go in. It was the best decision I've ever made. I was welcomed straight away and this is where I met Claire too who had started a couple weeks before I did. The support I received not just with learning to skate all over again, but for what I was going through too helped me recover from such an awful time... I had found an extended family with PCRD

How did you feel after your first few Rookie bouts of Roller Derby? After my first bout I felt a lot more confident on my skates and on a real high as well as relieved, lol, it also made me feel I hopefully have more to offer to the team.

Amazing!! The sense of achievement i felt was overwhelming. It was the charity scrim for Devon and Somerset Freewheelers and it was 2 days before the first anniversary of dad passing, so was also very emotional. I felt him throughout the whole bout and owe my derby journey to him.

Are you already used to doing some kind of weekly sporting activity, is there anything different about this kind of sporting exercise? I occasionally do kick boxing, and just started a 6 week course for pole-fit and I go to rock-fit which is an exercise class to rock music. The difference with roller derby is that it’s a team sport and involvement with this you get to become part of a very supportive team on and off the track. Roller derby is my first love also the fact that it is physical and very empowering.

My job is very physically demanding but I've learned that you need to look after yourself in a different way for derby. This is one of my goals for this year. To fuel and train myself correctly to optimise how I work and move on track. Core is very important for derby to keep stability. I have shoulder issues through Hypermobility, so have had to learn to compensate for this and have noticed where my weaknesses are and discussed with the team how I can help build strength.

Did you have any hesitations, worries or concerns about doing Roller Derby or joining PCRD before you started and how do you feel about those now? The fact that I couldn’t skate at all was a concern and that it is a physical sport and the worry of injury. Also would I fit in?? The injury factor is still there slightly, but as you skate more you get more confident and learn techniques that help you stay on your skates, lol! The fitting in part went after I had my first session as everyone was so welcoming and encouraging I couldn’t wait for the next session.

Plenty of concerns, lol. My age, my weight, the fact I hadn't skated since I was about 10 years old and was starting again at 45... These quickly flew out the window!!! Derby doesn't discriminate at all. This is very empowering. I'm very proud of what my body is able to do on track, I just have to overcome my mental blocks! Darned transitions.. haha!

What is your proudest moment / favourite achievement / best experience so far in your Roller Derby life. Completing my first scrim I was really nervous as I didn’t know what to expect but the high and sense of achievement will never going away also the first session that I was asked to start to train with the team on a wed and move over from the new recruits - I felt I had made it, haha!

Wow...where do I start?! My first scrim. Being trusted to help coach the newbies. Being asked to train with the league team on the second training sessions. NSO'ing our home Brit' Champ's bouts last year and closed home scrims. Being asked to do line-up management with Claire and Norm' for the Brit Champs this year..... just enjoying the journey.

Is there anything you want to say about being a part of PCRD? I love it, I can’t think of a more welcoming group of people who are so kind and encouraging, everybody has your back and no one is made to feel they have failed. I love to tell people about PCRD and roller derby as so many are amazed by the sport and often have to google it. I love to say I am part of PCRD as I feel so proud of what the team has achieved and there future.

PCRD is my family... plain and simple. Roller derby is my love, and yes... my addiction! I can't imagine my life without both now. They've lifted me at a very difficult time in my life and I'm eternally grateful. I'm very proud to say I'm part of Plymouth City Roller Derby and always talking about our team and the sport. If someone had said to me 18 months ago that I would be lacing up a pair of skates to go full on blocking someone on a track, I would have laughed....yet here I am. Completely in love, very happy and supported and I want to share this with the next person who thinks they could never do this but is willing to try xx

To find out how to join us, go to our JOIN US page. Read what happens, on what days, where and how, then click on the link at the bottom of the page to register on our NEW RECRUIT FORUM and SIGN OUR WAIVER.

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