Roller Derby 101 is a coach’s guide to training new skaters to play the game of roller derby. The focus of this manual is to train skaters to be roller derby athletes. It’s not about passing an assessment. It’s about learning the skills to play the game efficiently and effectively, and doing so safely.

I strongly believe that many skaters suffer unnecessary injuries early in their derby career because they were passed to contact or scrimmaging before they built the necessary skills, strength, and understanding of the game. This manual focuses on building all those things. There’s no quick way to train skaters to play a full-contact sport. It takes significant time and work from both the coaches and the skaters.

Why an update? What’s different about this manual?

This second edition features several changes. One reflects WFTDA’s changes to the minimum skill requirements and ruleset. Another change includes the addition of off-skates workouts. The first manual suggested that skaters cross-train, but a suggestion was just not enough. Off-skates training is crucial for building the strength and balance needed to safely train and excel in this curriculum. You will also see the addition of homework – occasionally, skaters will need to read information in preparation for the next practice.

There are some format changes, as well. Instead of having a drill index, I’ve included the drill instructions on the practice itineraries. I realize this is somewhat redundant, but I think it will be easier for coaches. I have also removed all gendered language, as I believe that gendered pronouns are unnecessary and, at times, violent. 

Another change - and definitely the biggest one - is that this manual combines Scrimmage 101 with fresh meat training. Scrimmage 101 was written in 2011 and designed to bridge the gap between fresh meat training and scrimmaging. I updated the information and added it to Roller Derby 101. Instead of having two manuals to train fresh meat skaters, it’s all in one curriculum!

What have coaches and skaters said about the new training program?

"As a developing league, we utilized Punchy’s curriculum to train and successfully develop our first scrimmage eligible team of skaters, all of whom were new to the sport. The training was implemented with a multi-faceted approach, ensuring that the coaches were well-supported in their role; whereby, feedback was provided in a manner that highlighted achievements, as well as addressed areas in need of development. As a skater, the program allowed me to focus on the development of fundamentals, which were imperative to subsequent skill-building. I have a sincere amount of respect for Punchy as a coach, as well as a player who leads by example on the track; with her experience in both of these roles, she truly is a subject-matter expert of this awesome sport. I believe that any player or coach, who has the opportunity to implement her program, will be fundamentally-grounded and a more successful player or coach as a result. I extend my sincerest and deepest gratitude, as her program has assisted in building our team, our league, and I, as a player; directly due to the combined efforts of Punchy and our coaches, my team and I are preparing for our first bout!" - Saint Hooligan of Androscoggin Fallen Angels

"When I started Punchy's program I truly wondered if it would be possible for me to even just skate backward. Having just completed the fresh meat program I now feel confident not only that I have the basic skills needed to play this sport, I feel like I have be taught how to continue learning and improving myself as an athlete. Each practice covers small incremental steps with introductions to new skills, and every practice I saw and felt improvements in my skating and skills. This program should be standard to any league. Thank you Punchy O'Guts!" - Seitanic Beast of Androscoggin Fallen Angels