How to join The Tallahassee RollerGirls
INFORMATION FOR NEW RECRUITS:
Become a Skater
Roller Derby is a fast-paced, full-contact sport that draws great crowds and fosters a sense of family and community in its players. And we want you to join! We're looking for all levels of skaters that are ready to work hard to make Tallahassee roller derby even better! If you are an 18+ female and someone who is willing to fall down and get back up, you can skate with us. We have a program for new recruits which is designed to teach you skating fundamentals and get you into derby form before moving on to more advanced skills (like hitting and being hit). Skilled skaters are always welcome, but being a member of our team is about what you are willing to learn, not what you already know.
All new members will be required to attend a minimum of 6 weeks of fundamental practice. These practices will provide you with the necessary skills to move to our more advanced practices. New members will not be able to skate additional TRG practices until their fundamental practices are complete; however, all will be strongly encouraged to stay during our practices to watch and learn. That's the fastest way to learn roller derby rules and strategies.
Starting Sunday, January 6th, Fundamental Practices will happen every Sunday at the North Florida Fairgrounds (441 Paul Russell Road) from 5pm to 7pm. We recommend coming at 4:30pm to fill out paperwork and get fitted with skates and gear. Also please check our schedule. We sometimes will have to cancel Fundamental Practices if we are on the road.
Your First Practice
For your first practice, you'll want to dress in clothes that you'd wear to the gym. Many of us wear tights or leggings along with shorts to keep our legs protected when we fall. You'll want to wear clothes that can keep you cool, but allow you to move around. You'll want to bring one or maybe two pairs of socks because sometimes the rental skates can rub. If you have your own gear and/or skates, please bring them! However, don't fret if you don't, we save skates and gear you can borrow. You'll also want to bring a water bottle, your mouthguard (see gear section below), a pen to fill out paperwork, and a copy of your drivers license.
You can definitely expect to sweat during your first practice. What you will do depends primarily on your skating level, but we always cover the basics like how to fall safely, skating basics, and good derby form. Don't be intimidated if you can't skate or haven't skated in years. We'll do warmups, stretching and then get into more drills and skills. Feel free to ask questions and get to know the girls you're skating with. They may seem intimidating, but they've all been in similar situations and are ready to help! Most people will be sore after their first practice. Be sure to stick around to stretch at the end of practice (we do this as a group) as this can help with soreness.
What You Need
You'll need a few things to keep you safe on the track. Every skater must wear a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, skates and a mouthguard. You can borrow everything except a mouthguard for your first few practices, but we recommend getting your own gear if you want to stick with it. Mouthguards are available from stores like Target and Walmart and are available for as little as one dollar. The type that can be shaped after boiling are much more comfortable and are worth the few extra minutes it takes to fit them to your mouth. Skateboarding style helmets are readily available at skate shops and sporting good stores. They range from about $30- $50 and come in a variety of colors. Getting one that fits right is important, so don't be afraid to ask for help if you're not sure how it should fit. Elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards are very important and will save your body from extra aches and pains. Getting good quality pads that fit right is very important, so you'll probably want to skate a few practices in the pads we have so you can you know what you like. Pads can be purchased at Funky Planet Surf & Skate Shop in the Governor Square Mall or online. Several online retailers, like SinCitySkates, offer rookie packages that combine pads, helmets and skates for a discounted price. Some derby girls are eBay shoppers and have scored goods from online used retailers, but be aware that used gear can deteriorate in quality and get stinky so it's a good idea to ask lots of questions to ensure you're getting gear that can still protect you. You can use rental skates at no cost for you first few practices too and we encourage you to talk to other skaters about what they like about their skates before you buy your own.
We're a dedicated bunch and we do have attendance requirements for our teams. We have league practices on Wednesdays and Sundays evenings for most of the year. There are also events, league meetings, bouts, and fundraisers that we ask that you try to participate in.
Guts and Gusto:
Derby is great for all sorts of women, but it definitely takes drive and determination to become a qualified skater. The physical work can get tough and learning to play smart derby can be even tougher, but with the right attitude and energy it's possible. Come out ready to work and ready to push yourself and you'll be rewarded!
Your first fundamentals practice is free, but everyone after that, until you start paying league dues, is $5. Membership requires monthly dues of about $35 per month (subject to change). This covers our costs for renting the rink, travel to play other leagues, and other league incidentals. Dues are due by the 15th of each month.
In addition, there is an annual fee of $55 to join USARS, which is insurance that covers skaters during practices and bouts. It has a rather large deductible, so we recommend, but don't require, that you also have primary health insurance. The annual fee must be paid by the second practice you attend, i.e. new recruits will be allowed one practice before they are required to have paid this fee. We allow this first practice to give you the opportunity to be sure it is something to which you want to commit. USARS membership expires in September, so the fee will be due again in the fall for the following year.
If you are not an 18+ female, aren’t so interested in getting hit or (insert your excuse for not being a skater here), but you still want to be involved in the Tallahassee Roller Girls there are plenty of additional volunteer opportunities for you! In addition to our talented skaters, this team could not survive without our dedicated Skating and Non-Skating Officials and bout day volunteers. The descriptions below give more information about the type of volunteers the Tallahassee Roller Girls need to keep rolling counter clockwise and turning left.
There are two types of officials in a Roller Derby Bout, Skating and Non Skating.
These are the individuals that are on skates and get to wear the infamous black and white stripes on game day (aka the Zebra Herd). There are seven skating officials required for each bout, two inside pack referees, two jammer referees, and three outside pack referees. Referees are allowed to wear either quad roller skates or roller blades (however if you choose to wear blades you will be made fun of). In order to become a skating official you must be 18+ years old, are required to complete 6 weeks of fundamentals practice* as well as encouraged to come for regular practice and have passed the minimum skating skills test and the written rules test. Before you are qualified to skate we will teach you how to be a non-skating official which will help you begin to learn the rules of the game. The time commitment to becoming an on skates official is pretty intensive, you must read and study the roller derby rules on your own as well as come to regularly scheduled practices, and attend games on weekends. Additional skating practice is also recommended due to the need to be proficient on skates. You should bring a mouth guard (it is easier to breathe if it is molded), we have pads, helmets and skates that can be borrowed for the first few weeks, though we highly recommend purchasing your own gear if when you get hooked. Any of the qualified refs/skaters will be more than willing to tell answer your questions and give suggestions about what gear to buy.
Non Skating Officials:
These are our off skates officials, or NSOs. These people are the back bone of bouts and it takes a crew of 13+ NSOs to run a bout. NSOs are in charge of keeping track of the score and penalties, managing the penalty box, timing the game and the jams, tracking the lineups and helping streamline communication. We have a NSO position for everyone. Being an NSO is a great way to familiarize yourself with the game of derby and to get yourself involved with the Tallahassee Roller Girls.