Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slow Derbs

Slow derby, as much as we all would rather not see it, as derby players we all know that it can be pretty useful.  To get people out of the penalty box, to waste some time when winning by a smaller margin or to slow down the pack.  I also get annoyed when it becomes a strategy for a whole game. When you see two really great teams that can skate fast and slow and they are choosing slow for  the whole game. 
What also tends to be annoying is when one team is doing it and the other team allows it to happen.
I like to, if I'm at a loss in a game, to pretty much do the opposite of what the other team is doing. So if they start jostling and not moving forward, whether i know why they are doing it i want  the jammers out and skating if only for the simple fact that the other team doesnt want thing this to happen.

There are many ways to stop the slow derby on the line. 
If there is no pack after the first whistle the jammers will be released.  So you can race forward as a team 10 ft. the jammers will be whistled off and you have a bit of time to fall back and get back into the pack so that you are able to hit the jammer again. 

You can really play with this one a bit at practice and force your refs to make calls. 
For example, if you continue skating forward and the other pack doesn't who are they going to call?
 If it's the other team and you have a faster jammer you could hold the no pack for a little longer until your jammer gets past them, forcing some destruction penalties and hitting out of play penalties, and then falling back in time to make a pack to hit the opposing jammer. (obviously this works really well in my head! HA).

Another way to force the jammer whistle is to drop to a knee, no pack, the jammers are released. You stand back up and continue on as a normal jam.  Once the jammers are out, the pack tends to move forward, as long as the jammers move forward.

As for games and fan enjoyment, I think that if you are playing a home game in front of your home crowd and you want your fans to have a good time, you want to use these strategies only in dire situations, for example jammers being in the penalty box, or two blockers in the penalty box.  In inter league or home games, this is your bread and butter for your league, if you used the slow derby as much as they do in tournament play then you may find that you don't have many fans coming out to watch.  Not good.

However, in Wftda ranked game play, these plays, to me, seem  totally acceptable due to the huge prize at the end called WFTDA nationals where there is prize money on the line and sponsorships etc.  Since it is allowable in the rules I would totally do any strategy that was working for me  to get me to that prize. Cause seriously, no one is going to remember the boos when you have that big ol trophy in your hands and new skates your feet. 
The video posted below is a great mini documentary that was filmed and edited by Lisa "Left 4 Deadwards" Edwards- skater for Old Capitol City Roller Girls.  It showcases the opinions of fans, skaters and refs on the impact of Stroller derby.

I could go on and on about my opinion on slow derby and the good vs bad but i wont!
 Despite the claims that fast derby is better and more skilled I do know that good derby skaters need to know how to do both.  I also know that it is a lot easier hitting people going fast and everything, to me, is easier faster but slow derby is definitely not easier derby as a blocker or a jammer.

Feel free to post your opinions either here in the comments or on our facebook page.

anya face x0xo

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