By: uDDer Chaos
Sick Town Derby Dames recently expanded its practice schedule to include two weekly Speed Skate Sessions. One for beginners on Friday nights from 5:30 -7:30 taught by Brick Wallace and intermediate/advanced sessions taught by Eric Ohling, Sundays 3:30-5:30.
To be honest when I first heard about this, as a beginning skater, I felt a little intimidated. After all I am just barely able to do 25 laps in 5 minutes without falling. I knew nothing about speed skating beyond what I have seen on television. But I did want to go fast.
It turns out Speed Skate Practice offers so much more than speed to aspiring derby dames and team members. Yes, learning to go fast is part of it but what does that actually mean?
According to the speed skate trainer Brick Wallace, “Speed skating is about getting the foot work of skating down better, it makes skating so much more efficient.” She says, “Speed skating helps skaters be more stable on their skates, learn not to kick back (we call it horse kicking), and be able to spend derby practice learning derby rather than trying to figure out where their feet should be placed.”
During the practices I attended we primarily focused on “skating the track,” crossovers, circle exercises, using your body appropriately, and endurance.
Brick also introduced us to outdoor skating skills on the OSU and 53rd street bike path. This was a great training exercise for league bonding, stability, strength, and endurance. Not to mention a convenient, weather permitting, practice option.
I asked Brick why she liked teaching speed skating and she said, “I want to learn to skate for speed. I can’t do derby anymore because a while back I concussed and then went into a bout too soon and re-concussed. I tried to ignore it for years and it became worse and worse until I just couldn’t deny any longer that I had already done too much permanent damage to myself. I miss competing so much! I miss how hard competition makes me work on my physical conditioning. I would love to compete in speed someday.”
Her motivation to expand herself as a skater definitely comes across in her training at the speed skate sessions. She pushes us really hard and gives a lot of very helpful feedback.
The long-term vision for speed skating is to have a nationally competing speed team in the mid-valley, pulling skaters from the derby leagues and the community.
Many people in their 40’s would love to skate for speed, but are not really interested in starting a full contact sport like derby (not to say there is anything at all wrong with starting derby in your 40′s or later, people do it all the time; it’s just not for everyone).
Personally, I love Friday Speed Skate Sessions. It is a great outlet at the end of the long work week to release all of my mental and physical tension. It also allows me the time and instruction needed to improve my skating for derby without having to think about 100 other skills at the same time.
Sometimes skaters from the Candy Stripers join us. It really motivates you to do better when a 14-year-old girl can lap circles around you without breaking a sweat. Speed is awesome!
If you’re interested in joining our speed skating sessions, please visit Facebook and search for our group, Valley Speed at the CDC.