Are you interested in playing roller derby? Read on to learn more about Burning River Roller Derby’s Skater Tots Program and how you can join!
- Burning River Recruitment Inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Burning River Roller Derby Overview
Burning River Roller Derby (BBRD) is an all-gender roller derby team affiliated with the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association. We are passionate about inclusivity, compassion, skating, and athleticism. We work hard to make sure every member of our league feels welcome and to be an active and positive community.
- NOTE: Absolutely no nuts, tree nuts, or legumes are allowed at any BRRD practice space or event. One of our skaters has a life-threatening airborne allergy.
What is “Skater Tots”?
Approximately twice a year, Burning River Roller Derby brings in a group of new skaters to join our team through a program we call “Skater Tots:” a 13-week program designed to take ANYONE from zero skate experience – to roller derby ready!
Skater Tots is split into two sections: Skater Basics and Derby Basics. Skater Basics lasts for six weeks. We teach you how to get comfortable on skates, how to move forward and backward, how to stop, and how to fall safely! These and other skills are the foundations of roller derby! We do EXTREMELY minimal contact during these first six weeks. After Skater Basics, we will give an assessment that will determine if you are safe enough on skates to engage in contact.
When you pass, you will move on to Derby Basics!
Derby Basics lasts for 7 weeks. During Derby Basics we will focus on more advanced skating skills, introduce contact, and learn more roller derby gameplay. This is the portion of the program that will really take you from skater to derby player! After Derby Basics we will give an assessment to determine if you are ready to join full league practices. When you pass, you will join the league!
Some skaters are not able to pass their assessments their first time through our Skater Tots program. This is totally normal, and we welcome those skaters to retake the program or join our league as a non-skating official, non-skating member, or volunteer! You may also choose to just utilize the Skater Tots program as a workout program!
Beyond just learning to skate and how to play roller derby, you’ll also get a taste of what it means to be a member of a skater-owned, skater-operated roller derby league. You’ll have some of the rights and responsibilities of a league member, but not all at once:
|Skater Tot||League Member|
|Skating Expectations||Focus on training and new skills||Two tiers: Roster Member & Non-Roster Member|
|Financial Requirement||$35-$55/month sliding scale dues (see below for more info) + $70/year enrollment in WFTDA Insurance||$35-$55/month sliding scale dues + $70/year enrollment in WFTDA Insurance|
|Attendance Requirement||None||~5 practices per month|
|League Meetings||Attend at least 1 during Skater Tots||Monthly attendance required|
|Officiating||Attend a league scrimmage as a Non-Skating Official (NSO) at least once during Skater Tots||None|
|Job Requirements||None||Job Required|
- Required Gear:
- Quad Skates
- Knee pads with a hard cap
- Elbow pads with a hard cap
- Wrist guards with a hard splint at least on the palm side
- Skate/Bike/Multi-sport or hockey helmet
- Mouth guard
- Recommended Gear:
- Derby/Speed-style quad skates
- Dual-certified (ASTM/CSPC) helmet
- Any other protective gear that will help you feel more comfortable (padded shorts, shin guards, chest guards, etc)
- Where to get it:
- Next Level Skate Shop (Gordon Square)
- Facebook resale groups: Roller Derby Recyclables, Derby Gear For Sale
- Burning River Gear Library (Email us for more info)
Eligibility and Requirements
- 18 years of age or older (no age limit!)
- Vaccinated for COVID-19 (must have a booster if you are eligible/able)
- Complete all paperwork
- Pay dues/insurance (see bottom of document for more info)
- Attend at least 1 league meeting during the Skater Tots program
- Participate in at least 1 scrimmage as a Non-Skating Official during the Skater Tots program
Practices and Assessments
- Practices are usually held on the East Side near Euclid.
- There are usually 3 practices available for Skater Tots per week. Since there is no attendance requirement, you can attend as many or as few as you’d like.
- Assessments/making the team: There are no “tryouts” for BRRD. However, every skater must pass 2 safe skating exams before they can practice with BRRD. Our goal for the assessments is to ensure the safety of all skaters
- The first assessment will be in the middle of your program and will assess for basic skating competence and will clear you as safe to engage in intense contact drills. You must pass this assessment to skate in the second half of the program.
- The second assessment will be at the end of the Skater Tots program and will assess if you are able to engage in intense contact with other skaters safely. You must pass this assessment in order to skate with our league.
Ready to Get Started?
Want to join the next Skater Tots session? Still have some questions? Please email us at email@example.com with your contact info and questions. Also, request to join our recruiting email list to receive updates about our recruitment events here: Join the Recruiting Email List (Must be signed into a google account and click “Apply for Membership”)
Absolutely no experience is required to join our Skater Tots program. However, roller derby is an intense sport that will require a lot of athleticism, and our program is very physically challenging for nearly every skater regardless of previous athletic ability. You should prepare yourself to be pushed physically and mentally, all with our love and support of course!
That being said, many incoming skaters ask what they can do to help physically prepare themselves for our program, and there are some physical aspects that our Skater Tots tend to struggle with in their first few weeks:
- Hip Mobility: Derby is played with each skater in as low a squat as they can manage. The lower and more stable the squat, the harder it is to be knocked over. Consider working on “deep squats” (sometimes referred to as “goddess squat” or “yogi squat”). These deep positions will help you develop the flexibility you will need to achieve more advanced skating skills. You can also search for other hip mobility routines–increasing your active range of motion will go a long way! YouTube is a fantastic resource for this.
- Holding a squat: Try holding a squat with your legs hips-distance apart and your toes pointing forward. Try to align your nose, toes, and knees in a straight line while pushing your hips back. Hold this stance as long as you can! We skate in this position for much of practice.
- Ankle mobility and ankle strength: skating requires a lot of foot and ankle strength. You can look into ankle mobility and strengthening routines online.
- Balancing on one foot: try balancing on one foot for as long as you can. One-foot stability is crucial for skating. Try standing on one foot while you brush your teeth!
The Cleveland Guardians (CG) are an all-gender roller derby team affiliated with the Men’s Roller Derby Association. CG and BRRD have a close, long-standing, and positive relationship. Currently, our teams even practice together. Incoming Cleveland Guardians skaters are welcome to join BRRD’s Skater Tots Program!