Today we had a guest coach--Annsanity #96, a blocker for the Sugar Kill Gang, from the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls of Denver, Colorado. We got to learn all about blocking. A block is any motion, engagement of an opponent, or position that attempts to impede the progress or motion of an opponent. Blocking is used to stop/slow down the opposing jammer or neutralize opposing blockers by keeping them from competing their objectives. Any form of hitting, body checking, slowing, or skating to impede may be considered a block. Common blocking technique includes knocking an opponent down or out of bounds in order to impede their progress. A J-block is a powerful hit that employs an upward trajectory of the blocker’s body. The blocker stays low, and when she’s ready to hit, swoops her body low and then upward in a J-motion, and throws her shoulder into her opponent. A hip check is a bump delivered using the hips while skating immediately next to the target. We then got to practice blocking.
So how do you hit really hard? First and foremost, you've got to get balanced, and balance comes from two things: proper skating stance and core strength. A proper skating stance is one that's low and wide. You knees should be deeply flexed, your butt should be down, not up in the air, and your torso should not be hunched over your thighs. You should always be centered in relation to your skates. The second element of balance, and the one that tends to get overlooked is core strength. What is your core? Simply put, it's the very center of your body and the power source behind any thing you do that transfers momentum. Your body core is made up of the muscles in your abs, hips, glutes and lower back. When blocking in roller derby, you don't hit someone with your shoulder, you hit them with your whole body, contracting and expanding your core like a spring to put the 'pop' in a J-block. The power to veer into a check doesn't just come from your legs, it comes from driving your hip toward your target.
So, how did I end up in the league? I love to roller skate and I am just as competitive as the next gal! After all, roller derby is a competitive, full-contact sport and the women who skate in roller derby are athletes who train very hard to compete in bouts. It's the hardest workout you'll ever love! If you haven't already done so, be sure to check out our website at www.twincityderbygirls.com!