It’s not just for falling it’s for stopping too!

Due to the horrendous weather that’s stormed (ha!) in in the last week, we ended up having a pretty small group for practice last night. It was actually kind of nice since it meant not waiting a long time for “your turn” to do a drill, and it also meant the opportunity to get a lot of feedback.

There are a couple of things worth noting about practice. The first is really important…. I HAVE BUTT MUSCLES!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!  Wanna know how I found this out? Read on.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my T-stops. Its haunted me since the beginning of my derby adventures… I’d kind of get good “enough” for a while, and then it would go away again, and then I’d kind of figure it out enough to get by again… but I was never really good at it. Thing is, as time went on I got more and more nervous to 1) do them in front of people and 2) tell someone I was having trouble with them because “everyone else” seemed to have caught on. Well it’s a funny thing when you start talking about what “everyone else” seems to be doing, because it often turns out that “everyone else” is NOT doing what you think they are. It turned out for me, when I talked to my Darkside that she understood the issue I was having and she had a similar problem. Basically, I would skate, t-stop in relatively good form… slow down pretty well but then get this akward jerky motion and then despite my wanting to stop, I kept propelling forwards a bit until I finally stopped. What it looks like is a two step t-stop…. slow down almost to a stop, propel forwards, and then stop. WTF?

So I got up the nerve to ask one of our coaches what I was doing wrong. She thought about it a bit and then got back to me. If you try to do your t-stops by just dragging your foot behind you (which is what it LOOKS like when you see someone do it), you can “t-stop” forever without actually coming to a stop. What you (I!!) need to do is clench the butt muscle ( particularly the one that eventually attaches to your stopping foot) with all your might and make that leg go pretty rigid. That’s your stopping power. And the first time my body realized this it was like “ok, and now you’ve got it.. t-stop away young padiwan”.

I should take this opportunity to be… truthful. Okay, so I think MAYBE my coach had actually told me this before. The problem is… *way. back. then* I didn’t have the butt muscles required to make it make a difference. So rather than clenching my “muscles” without effect I got lazy, stopped doing it, and just focused on form and balance instead. So I forgot about the technique altogether until I was kindly reminded last night.. that no, this is not a lazy stop. This is an engaged stop, and you need to put your muscles into it. So I did, and I think I’m going to be okay.

Okay, one more thing before this turns into a novel. I also figured out how to run on my toe stops last night. Just by observing (and observing one hockey player in particular) how people “got going” I realized that pre-take-off I was putting all my weight on my back foot like when I do a hockey start (which is kind of just running on skates, for those who don’t know). Anyways, when I did that, I could only manage two awkward kind of steps. By putting all my weight on my front foot and then “falling over” onto my next steps, I’ve placed all of my energy in a foward momentum and…. I CAN RUN ON MY TOE STOPS. At least for the three steps I need to pass min skills 😉 And I also take off much faster for sprint races this way.

Anyways, good practice and I  feel good about myself today.

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7 Comments

  1. I love reading your Blog.
    I cannot resist writing this comment: You mentioned that Roller Derby Girls develop a leg muscle larger on one side than the other because you go around the track in almost always a CCW direction.
    Will you develop a butt side stonger than the other?
    Sorry I could not resist… I am writing this with tears in my eyes….

    • I took some time to think about this question very seriously… I’m at work afterall… And I’ve decided that no, the butt muscles will likely develop evenly. We spend most of our time circling the track putting a lot of stress on the left butt muscle… I happen to use my right leg to t-stop so if anything it will help balance things out 😀

      • Good call miss!! I’m more than happy to believe you on this cause I was starting to get nervous about the potential for lopsidedness! lol

  2. My girl Blackarach and I were having that very conversation last night while t-stopping our way to victory (victory over the t stop that is!)…yes…our ass is likely gonna b bigger (or at the very least more muscular) on the right!

    And u thought derby girls wore skirts cause they’re sassy…nope…is to hide their lopsided asses!! lol!! 😉

  3. I love it when you leave practices feeling that way!! I never really thought about my butt muscles being involved in a T-stop, but lo-and-behold, they are. I can totally see where you are coming from, I often get really nervous asking vets and coaches for help. But it’s good to be reminded that they all want us to get better too.

  4. So, I read this post on Thursday, and thought about what you said about utilizing the booty in T-stops when I went out for open skate/ frogger with children night. I’m pretty sure that when I was taught the T-stop 3-4 months ago that bit about engaging the ass was mentioned, but I had forgotten about that and my stops were still so sloppy. Anyhow- thanks! Your post totally helped fix me, and I must’ve done about 15 of ’em last night that were glorious and all kinds of stoppy!

    • That’s fantastic! I’m so glad it helped 😀 It’s such a good feeling when suddenly something just ‘clicks’ like that!


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