Archive for May, 2009



   Posted by: Bitches Bruze    in Promise

As part of a very long derby weekend, Will Jettison and I put on a 4 hour rules clinic on WFTDA 4.0 for the Ithaca SufferJets.

I think the clinic was quite a success.

Many skaters look at the rules as 35 pages of boredom. There are those few – and they often coach, double as referees, or find other areas of derby – who geek out over the rules. Like me, this group of people likes to take the rules and find the crevices, those little areas where by knowing the intricacies of the rules, you can be the better skater, pack, or team.

I believe on Sunday, we turned about 16 skaters into born-again rules geeks.

We used a combination of straight up rules print outs, an animated/illustrated PowerPoint and keeping the skaters in their skates jumping from chairs to track.

I’ve taught many classes, but teaching the rules provided a new experience for me. As a teacher, you know you’re doing your job well when you start to experience those “ah ha!” moments from the students. Usually, when you’re covering a topic, you are introducing brand new concepts and students gradually turn on so that the class room begins with a few lights and gradually glows bright as the sun. With WFTDA rules, most of the students have a general grasp of the rules and many skaters even know some of the intricacies. Sunday there were MANY “ah ha!” moments and they were happening all around the room with different skaters at different times. The classroom felt more like a bunch of twinkle lights – or a big disco ball of light. Quite appropriate for derby.

Taking four hours of practice time and space to go over the rules might seem incredibly boring. No doubt there were a few moments in there for everyone (even me as the teacher). But we broke it up with some drills to work on taking advantage of rules. We got out on the track and played out the new jammer in the penalty box scenarios. We looked at cut track, pack organization, and penalties.

As an experienced teacher the class was really lovely for me as the skaters started talking about the rules “So, what you’re saying is I can…”

Whenever we bring an “I can” to the game, we open up possibilities.

Its going to take a couple weeks of practice and maybe even a bout for some of the seeds planted at yesterday’s clinic to yield fruit but I feel confident in saying everyone got something out of that clinic – even Will and I – which is going to make derby more fun and more skillful for the skaters, the team, and their fans.

You can find WFTDA 4.0 on the WFTDA web site HERE along with old rule sets for historical purposes.
The special rules section with clarifications is HERE.
Justice Feelgood Marshall has done his classic rules comparison and changes cheat sheet worth reading if you’re already a pro at 3.1.

I don’t mean to slight Old School or Renegade rule sets. If you and your team skate by those rules or might want to play others, those rules are just as important to know. There’s nothing special about WFTDA rules when it comes to making them part of your “skater mind”. Take a moment today (or your next practice) to find something new in the rules or discuss intricacies and strategies around a rule with your teammate.

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