If you are like me, you originally joined derby because you needed an outlet that was fun and was exercise at the same time. Over the past few years, I have searched google many times, attended classes at Rollercon, and incorporated ideas from my days as a Children’s Theatre director and my improv theatre classes.
Something that I am pretty good at is gauging a crowd and deciding what the mood is. Its what made me a good bench coach. I can read a room pretty good.
I’m no Mrs. Maisel though
So, my job as Co-Head of training was to inject games into our practices when moods were sour or too stressful. It makes things fun and makes people want to come to practice. Here are some explanations of games I keep in my back pocket to pull out at random.
1.Four skaters. One is the Heir or Princess. One is the Assassin. Two are bodyguards. Its the Assassin’s job to touch the Princess, basically she’s the jammer. The bodyguards are blockers. The Princess is the Pivot or Puppeteer. 2.I made them do this on the track and following derby directions and rules most of the time. Great for fun, getting the skater’s minds off what they are actually doing and learning about taking up the track.
- Pool Noodle Frenzy
- Have your skaters stand in a small circle. You want pool noodles for every skater minus one. The skaters hold their noodle upright and then smarty shuffle/ chop and glide (whatever your team calls it) to the next noodle before the noodle falls over.
- If the noodle falls, that skater is out and they take their noodle. You can spread the circle out to make it harder.
- Sumo Ring
1. One on one skaters inside a circle of about 10 feet in diameter. The first skater down or knocked out of bounds loses.
- Have skaters pair up. Separate the skaters around the rink/room. Set up touch points (can be a wall, cone, person)
- One skater is the chicken and is blind (they must close their eyes) The other is the chicken trainer and holds onto the hips of the skater from behind. The trainer’s job is to tell the blind chicken where to go. For added hilarity, the blind chicken should flap their wings and make LOUD chicken sounds.
- The Trainers lead the chickens around the rink/room to various checkpoints you have assigned.
- If the chickens touch ANYone else as they go around to the checkpoints, the blind chicken and trainer must stop and lay a HUGE egg. Think loud chicken sounds and squats.
- Trust me. It is hilarious and a great ice breaker.
- Zoo Animal Paceline (So what. I like animals)
- In your paceline have different skaters name an animal. Then all the skaters must reenact that animal while on skates. Silly Fun ensues
- Zip Zap Zop
- Have your skaters circle up. You will need a ball for them to toss (beach ball, tape ball, whatever). As they toss the ball they make eye contact with the person before they toss it to make sure they are on the same wavelength. She says Zip while tossing the ball. Next skater says Zap! Next says Zop. It continues on and on getting faster and faster. This is a good way to create communication and eye contact.
- Queen of the Rink– Classic
- Skaters on the track. Derby rules apply. Last one not knocked out of bounds or down is the Queen.
- Lizard Tails
- Have skaters on the track. Each one has a tail tucked in their pants. Can be shirts, towels, whatever.
- Skaters must try to grab the tail of another lizard. They can collect multiple tails for others to try and grab.
- Have a pile of extra tails in the middle or at the penalty box area. When a lizard loses a tail, they skate over and do some sort of exercise. I like burpees to gain a new tail. Then they are back in.
- Once all the tails are gone its a fight to see who can get the most tails.
- I like to make the more experienced skaters skate backward or some such so the newer skaters have a chance.
9. Candy knockout
- Have the skaters line up around the track, zigzagged from each other and spread out along the whole thing.
- Give each skater a bowl, I use upside down floppy cones. Fill the bowls with candy.
- The candy holders stay stationary as skaters skate around the track and hit the candy holders. Whatever candy spills out, they lose. Whatever they have left they get to keep.
Admit it. This scene freaked you out as a kid
- Have everyone skate derby direction. One or multiple people are it. If you are tagged you fall small and lay down becoming a hot dog waiting for two buns to fall down next to you. Once you are a full hotdog and bun all can get up and skate again.
2. This is played at almost every new skater intake and is a huge hit. I make more experienced skaters skate backward.
- Block Block Jam
- This is just duck duck goose only you are giving a good side hit as you go around the circle.
- Armpit Relay
- Set up cones at the end of the relay race. Skaters must skate to end and do whatever stop you are training. They pick up the cones and put them under their armpits. Skate back to the line and drop them off, next in line goes.
13.Volcanoes and Craters
- Same cones. Place them on opposite ends of the rink/room. Some are inside out, craters. Some are right side up- Volcanoes.
- Skaters are either on the volcano team or crater team. They skate to the opposite end from their team’s side. One from each team at a time. Like a relay. The Skater must do whatever stop you are training. They flip the cone the way for their team and skate back. Going on and on until time is up.
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- Time to Fail
- I think at every practice, skaters need to be doing something they are NOT good at. Even the most experienced skater has things to work on. It keeps us all humble and reminds us that there are things we can do to improve. Also! It is super important for your newer skaters to see the veteran skaters fall and fail. They need to know that everyone can improve and no one is infallible!
- Take a few minutes every practice to do something you suck at. Make it fun. Make it laughter time.
Those are some of the things in my repertoire of games. I hope they give you ideas. I hope that you see that through play, skaters will do things they didn’t think they could. I hope they enjoy coming to practice. And remember Laughter truly is the best medicine!!