How to survive your first roller derby bout

1. Wear sturdy protective gear
Wearing the proper protective gear is essential for surviving your first roller derby bout. You’ll want to make sure you have a good helmet, mouth guard, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards. Wearing all of this gear may seem hot and uncomfortable, but it’s better than getting injured and thems the rules. 

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2. Speaking of rules, know them
Before you step on the track, it’s important that you know the basic rules of roller derby. The rules may seem confusing at first and you may have aced the rules test on paper, but they’ll start to make more sense as you watch the bout unfold IRL. Once you have a basic understanding of the rules, you’ll be able to better avoid getting penalized or knocked out of bounds.

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3. Don’t get hit in the head
This seems like common sense, but it’s worth repeating: don’t get hit in the head. Or don’t USE your head! A hard hit to the noggin can leave you seeing stars while getting penalties, and no one wants that. If you do get hit in the head, make sure to take a break and assess how you’re feeling. If you have any concussion symptoms, it’s best to sit out the rest of the bout and listen to your Coach/ medic team. Concussions are no joke!

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4. Don’t be afraid to fall
Falling is inevitable in roller derby, so don’t be afraid to do it. The key is to fall correctly so that you don’t hurt yourself. When you fall, fall small. Head down and tuck your fingers in so they don’t get rolled over. Jump back up as quick as you can, while remaining stable. Aim for landing on the side of your butt versus straight down on your tailbone. Or just invest in padded clothing items.

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5. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for all athletes, but it’s especially important in roller derby where there is a lot of cardio and physical contact involved. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after the bout to keep your body properly hydrated.

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6. Watch out for unexpected objects
Roller derby bouts can get pretty chaotic, so it’s important to watch out for flying objects such as errant skaters or flying pieces of equipment. Wheels, toe stops and even trucks have been known to fall off randomly in the middle of a skate session. If you see something coming at you, get out of the way quickly to avoid getting hit or tripping.

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7. Have fun & be safe!
At the end of the day, roller derby is a sport and it should be fun! Yes, there is competition involved, but don’t take things too seriously. If you get knocked down, get back up and keep skating. And most importantly, enjoy yourself!

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