Some of the most basic roller derby skills are also some of the ones that we struggle with the most. (In all honesty, I still have a hard time consistently executing a plow stop at full speed and not landing on my ass.)
The fastest way to master a new skill is to do it. Over and over and over again.
But not all of us have the luxury of being able to spend large amounts of time JUST practicing one skill. I mean, we have lives, right? And spending an entire practice on transitions isn’t going to help your teamwork.
The good news is there are some things that you can do OFF SKATES to help prepare your body for executing skills ON SKATES. Whether it’s strengthening specific muscles or getting your body used to a strange new position, putting in some time off skates can make a big difference when it comes to your basic skills.
Today we’re focusing on your GET UP & GO.
The ability to get up and go after a bruising hit or a hard fall is integral to your success as player. You need to be on your feet to play and your team needs you with them to be effective. Quick recovery isn’t just about “getting up”, it’s also about getting from the ground to where you need to be post haste. Here are 5 quick, easy, off skates exercises that you can add into an existing training program (or use to create a new one) that will help target the muscles and movement specific to quick fall recovery.
This is a great exercise to practice recover without your hands. Squeeze hard through your glutes as you press your hips forward. It’s a hip hinge, so make sure the movement comes primarily from your hips.
I like it because it also strengthens muscles specific to skating and works that butt. You may have to adjust the position of your legs until you find something that’s comfortable. Play around with it and figure out what works for you!
10 reps per side as part of warm-up
Another one for teaching you to recover sans manos. Brace your core and step up into standing one foot at a time. There’s no need to be in a rush here. Part of this move is teaching your body HOW to do the movement while building the STRENGTH to do it at the same time.
If you feel wobbly or uncertain before you stand to top or lower yourself back down, take a second to relax and collect yourself. Think about how you might use this in a practice or bout situation as you do it. It will help make if more realistic. (Good for escaping the cops once you’ve been handcuffed, too. Not that I would know…)
10 per leg as part of warm-up
PRISONER GET-UPS + HOP!
A progression of the last exercise, only move onto this when you are comfortable and confident with regular prisoner get-ups. The idea here is give yourself a little pop so that your recovery becomes faster. (This one increases your chances of escaping the police. So I’ve heard…)
2 sets of 10 reps per leg as part of main workout
SMALL FALL POP-UPS!
Pretty self explanatory, right? I think we all know why we need this one. I also like to recommend this for skaters that have problems splaying their fingers out on the track. Practice pushing up with your fists instead of your palms. (Fist bump the ground, don’t give it a high five.)
10 reps as part of warm-up
SMALL FALL POP-UPS + SPRINT!
The last progression! Now that you can recover back to your feet quickly, you need to practice getting back to your pack quickly. It’s hard to see here because of the space, but you want to sprint for 3-5 steps. Ideally, at that point, you’ll be up to full speed.
Being able to combine a quick recovery with a sprint makes you that much more formidable. We all know what it’s like to feel the freedom of FINALLY getting past someone only to have them end up in front of you again.
Be that person.
2 sets of 10 reps as part of workout
Once you start to feel confident in these exercises off-skates, you can move back through the progressions with your skates on.
Now go, be free, master your quick recovery.
Iron Octopus Fitness has a program specifically designed for new skaters. If you’re a new skater (or new to cross training) and you’re interested in a program that can help build your stability and mobility for our crazy sport, CHECK IT OUT HERE!