Learn to play roller derby

Want to learn to play roller derby? Join Fresh Meat, our 15-week course to teach you everything you need to know!

The next course starts on 2nd October 2016. Join the mailing list to hear when our next course starts.

What you will learn

DSC_5547_highYou will be taught skills from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)’s Minimum Skills Requirements (male skaters are held to the same standards).

The course is structured to help you build on your skills week by week:

  • Weeks 1-5: derby basics – stops, starts, falls, being safe.
  • Weeks 6-10: derby specific skills – laterals, jumps, crossovers & more!
  • Weeks 11-15: more derby specific skills – speed laps, hitting, whips & more!

You will be tested on the skills you’re learning every 5 weeks; if you fail a test you will not be able to continue with the training sessions this time around, but can try again at the next intake. If this is your second intake and you fail again, we’ll ask you to take some time away and work on your skating before you can return at the intake after the next one.

By the 15th week, you will have passed certain aspects of these minimum skills, and be ready to progress to intermediate sessions with the wider Newcastle Roller Girls team and start playing the game! However, you will not be considered ready to play in games with other teams until you pass all of the minimum skills – how long it takes you to play in a bout after graduating will be down to how much hard work you put in!

The course needs commitment, for your safety and ours. If you miss more than 4 sessions during the 15 weeks, you will be asked to come back for the next intake. Attendance is measured by being on skates – so for example, if due to kit shortage issues you can’t take part in a session, you will miss that week.

The start of the course is really important, and if you can’t make the first session of an intake, you can start in the second week. If you miss both of these sessions you will have to wait until the next intake.

The Fresh Meat sessions are held with Tyne & Fear Roller Derby, which means male and female skaters are present. The Newcastle Roller Girls coaching committee run the majority of the sessions but there may be some covered by Tyne & Fear.

What we need from you

Because roller derby is a full contact game played on roller skates, it’s important that all skaters achieve a certain skating skill level before we allow them to play for the first time.

The course is tailored for people who can already stand up and move comfortably on quad roller skates (no blades please). You don’t have to be whizz on 8 wheels but if you can’t let go of the walls or keep pace with other beginner skaters then you may be asked to leave, practice in your own time and come back for the next intake. Rollerdiscos are a great place to practice.

Roller derby is amazing fun, but also a challenge for every skater new and old. Be prepared to work hard! You will get out of it what you put in. Fresh Meat is an intensive 15-week course, and during the course you will be expected to practice your new skills in your own time.

You must be 18 or over, and if you are under the age of 21 or look particularly youthful (lucky you!) please bring photo ID with you. We’re really strict on this policy as our insurance does not cover under 18s. We are starting a junior roller derby league soon – get in touch for more info on that.

If you have any longstanding illnesses/injuries, you’ll need to show us a note from your doctor before we can let you skate.

We are also recruiting officials!
Skating officials will train with the skaters to perfect the basics of derby skating before being coached by our Head Referee, Big Smack & Fries, in skills tailored to skating as a referee.

What equipment you need

Most kit (skates, helmets, knee, elbow and wrist guards) can be hired from NRG for £1.50 per session on a first-come first-served basis. This is a flat rate no matter how much kit you need to borrow.

Our kit supplies are limited so we recommend you bring as much of your own kit as possible, especially skates. Cheap disco boots will get you through fresh meat and can be picked up for around £45 new. If you have particularly small or large feet, we may not have any skates that will fit you. When we start doing contact, you will need to buy your own gum shield.

What it costs and where it is

Sessions are held at Walker Activity Dome in Newcastle upon Tyne on Sunday mornings. Each session is £5 for coaching, plus £1.50 if you need to borrow any kit.

How to join

If you want to take part in the next course, which starts 2 October 2016, here’s what to do:

  1. Sign up to the NRG mailing list 
  2. Join the Facebook event 

We’ll be in touch on email and on Facebook to let you know what to expect.

Don’t fancy skating but want to be involved in roller derby? We’re also recruiting Non Skating Officials (NSOs)! Drop us a message to find out what it entails and how you can get involved.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact recruitment@newcastlerollergirls.co.uk