You Should be Analyzing More Derby :: VRDL v LRG {2015 Champs}

By March 16, 2016Analysis, Blog

We all hear that watching derby is the single best way (off-skates) to get better at playing it. And derby is hecka fun to watch, right? But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you mostly don’t do it.


High level derby can be hard to watch if you’re not used to it. Plus watching derby and analyzing derby are two different things.

  • How do you know what to pay attention to?
  • How do you think about what’s happening on the track and apply it to what you might do on the track?
  • It’s all moving so fast. HAAALLPP!

Here’s my contribution. An installment in my “You Should be Analyzing More Derby” series.

This month’s bout is:

VRDL v LRG at WFTDA International Championships 2015

The questions (and comments) below are to help you home in on specific parts of the game and get you thinking like a derby analyst. These questions are by no means ALL OF THE THINGS that you could glean from this bout, but it’s a good place to start. You can download them in PDF version HERE.

The First Half

Jam #1 –> Why did VRDL move closer to the jam line before the start whistle? What is the benefit of starting closer to the jam line?

Jam #2 –> How could LRG have created a more successful reformation to grab the VRDL jammer? Yes, they pulled a cut, but…

Jam #3 –> When LRG’s jammer gets sent to the box, how does VRDL free up their jammer?

Jam #4 –> Look at how fast VRDL reforms after they get swarmed by LRG. They manage to suck the jammer right back in. ALSO, on their bridge back, VRDL makes holes for their jammer instead of just passively skating back through the pack.

COMMERCIAL –> How do I tell Scald Eagle that bald eagles don’t actually make that noise?

BETWEEN JAMS 8 & 9 –>Listen to the announcer’s share stats. What do you think accounts for LRG’s 20 point lead right now?

JAM #9 –> Watch VRDL’s power jam strategy. What are they doing? Why is it smart derby? ALSO, why are both teams moving in the non-derby direction? Does the pack HAVE to move in the non-derby direction? ALSO, why did the above strategy end up being largely unsuccessful for VRDL?

JAM #10 –> LRG is wrapping around VRDL’s wall and using the VRDL 4-wall as an additional blocker. There’s some amazing defense in this jam. Watch those jammers GRIND IT OUT!

JAM #11 –> VRDL jammer puts on a clinic on how to roll with the contact and use it to your advantage. Can be used by both blockers and jammers!

JAM #12 –> The star is dropped! What are the rules for how to retrieve it?

JAM #13 –> The star is dropped again! Watch your panties! The announcer’s explain the lead jammer situation later on. Pay attention!

JAM #14 –> Both jammers are out and VRDL starts to speed up the pack. Why?

JAM #15 –> LRG pivot has great pack awareness here. She takes immediate advantage of the opportunity to create a hole for her jammer. MORE IMPORTANTLY, her jammer is paying attention and makes a break for the hole as soon as it exists. That’s why watching your blockers is so important!

JAM #16 –> Sneaky star pass! Great awareness between the LRG pivot and jammer. Super effective.


The Second Half

JAM #1 –> The “star stash” has become a common strategy in WFTDA play and VRDL’s jammer does it here. What are the pros & cons of using a “star stash” strategy?

JAM # 2 –> VRDL blocker with amazing face-to-face blocking against the LRG jammer. Watch her body positioning and the way she moves her shoulders to finish those hits.

JAM #3 –> Full team offense from LRG to get their jammer out once VRDL’s jammer breaks free. VRDL turns it around and manages to get their jammer through to call it off quickly.

JAM #4 –> YAAASS!! Apex jump.

JAM #5 –> How does LRG use their front positioning to open up space for their jammer?

JAM #6 –> VRDL wall breaks apart and LRG jammer almost gets through. That’s why awareness and quick feet through the pack are so important.

JAM #11 –> LRG jammer smartly takes a knee rather than incurring a cut. Almost a full jam without a lead jammer! Ooo, skating out of bounds penalty. Watch the replay!

JAM #12 –> VRDL executes a star pass as their jammer comes out of the box. Do you think it was worth it?

PRE-JAM #13 –> Before the whistle blows, the LRG pivot attempts to position herself on the outside. Why? What is the response of VRDL? Do you think that was a good move?

JAM #16 –> How does VRDL react to LRG’s attempts to play offense in the power jam situation? What skills are VRDL skaters able to execute that is making this relatively effective?

JAM #17 –> These walls reform so quickly! AHHHHH!

TEAM TIMEOUT –> What are you talking about during your team timeout if you’re on LRG? What situation are you hoping for in these last jams if you’re on LRG? What about for VRDL?

JAM #18 –> Did I have a stroke? Or did the time just skip? Why is it so important that the LRG jammer has the star on before she hits the pack?

JAM #19 –> What’s the benefit of the VRDL jammer drawing the LRG jammer all the way back?


Want more?

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About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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