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I recently wrote a blog post about the importance of Strong Stance Blocking in roller derby.
I received a lot of questions about the what that stance actually looks like.
So I decided to make a video demonstrating it. Enjoy!
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Why skate in Strong Stance?
When we learn to skate in roller derby, we are often told “get low,” which leads to the idea that we have to spread our legs wide, hunch our bodies over and stick out our butts.
While this does create a very stable skating base, it is not a very reactive or strong position for playing roller derby.
Because we’re hunched over, the small muscles in our backs and glutes are holding us up. (Ever get a sore back from skating at a long practice?) That means our core muscles aren’t engaged, and we’re not ready to react quickly or take a hit.
Strong Derby Stance – The Steps
Get into “typical derby stance”. Now do the following:
- Bring your skates in so that they are no wider than your shoulders.
- Unbend your knees a little bit – make sure they stay bent and soft, but they don’t have to be 90 degrees. 45 will do.
- Lift your upper body so that it is balanced on your hips and your chest is proud.
- Drop your shoulders so that your upper back muscles are engaged.
- Tuck your tailbone under by squeezing your glutes and core. (My team likes to call this “pretending you have a package” which is where the “skating like a dude” thing came from.)
- Think about always having your head, over your upper body, over your hips, over your skates.
What’s so great about this stance?
- It’s balanced. Our head is a heavy weight, so as soon as it shifts over our center line we put ourselves off balance. Ever feel like you are going to fall on your face? That’s because your head is pulling you forward. Just like a tippy bird.
- All of our muscles are engaged. From our shoulders, to our core, to our glutes to our quads. And these are BIG muscle groups. Way better than the little ones (back and butt) that we were using before.
- We are actually more stable. In the previous stance. weight was centered right down through the middle and legs were wide. This meant that if we lost balance or were pushed off one skate we would fall over. The stronger stance gives us much freedom to shift weight from side to side so that if we get hit, the force is absorbed, and could event be used to our advantage. Try it – stand in strong derby stance and shift your weight from side to side.
- We can do more things! And much quicker! Now that our legs are in a more natural position, we can move forward and laterally much quicker. No more wide crab shuffling from side to side.
- We have a lot more surface area to block with. In old roller derby stance we typically made contact with only our butts. With this stance we can put our entire bodies – upper leg, butt, back and shoulders – onto the jammers. Try this with a partner: stand in front of them in old derby stance (butt sticking out) and then change it to strong derby stance. Aim to sit in their lap and put your entire back and shoulders on their chest.
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Want to know how STRONG you really are? Test yourself with the drills in my previous blog post – Strong Stance Blocking 101
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