The Joys of Boot Camp, Bruiser Style


“Get your asses on the track!” That was the very first sentence I heard over one year ago at my very first Brewcity Bruisers Boot Camp. Moby Nipps, who is now one of my captains of the Shevil Knevils, commanded those exact words. Knees were knocking, stomach was twirling, but my ass was out on the track ready to go…so help me gawd.

What is boot camp? Boot camps start at the beginning of the Bruisers home season and are an opportunity for women that want to be roller girls to learn the basics. What are the basics? Learning how to have a stable derby stance, how to fall, how to stop, how to do crossovers, how to skate like a derby girl should.

Your first time at boot camp will start out with the nervous twitchy feeling of a kid going on a rollercoaster for the first time. Giddy like a schoolgirl when you first arrive at the practice space. Hands shaking while you fill out the liability forms, and pass off your $10 payment. Trembling with the “Oh my gawd” feeling while you gear up, and wonder why you are there.

First things first. There is a pep talk to let you know what you will be learning, as you are the new generation of potential Brewcity Bruisers. Then the fun begins. Fresh Meat get the low-low down on the basic derby stance. I always say to skate like you’re pooping in the woods (I know, nice visuals, but it’s honest). Get down low, knees bent, but not over your toes. There is no standing straight up in derby. You learn this hard and fast and you skate laps until your lower back aches. Then you are told that you are sore because you need to work on your core muscles. Curses!

Falling! Falling! Falling! You learn how to fall, and boy do you fall a lot. As much as some may not want to hear, falling is a big part of derby. The coaches make sure as Fresh Meat, you understand the importance of falling correctly. I remember the first time I fell really hard, snot literally came flying out of my nose. Granted, I was really sick (it was my second boot camp), but it happens even when you are not full of goo.

There is an emphasis on stopping. In roller derby you need to know how to stop, and stop fast. How a derby girl stops can range on comfort. My personal favorite is the double toe-stop. Just envision yourself as a derby girl Michael Jackson. You are skating forward at a decent speed; you simultaneously turn around and get up on your toe stops. I can hear MJ in my head going “HEE HEE, OW!” The way you are taught double toe stops is by facing a wall, pushing yourself away from the wall and getting up on those toe stops. Learning how to turn around to do this can be tricky, but it all comes with practice.

In all honesty, I miss participating in those boot camps. What you learn within those walls are the staples of what you will build upon to hone your skills as a potential Brewcity Bruiser. The vets that coach the boot camps are some of the best ladies you will ever meet, seriously. Let me say this, I dare you to not want to strap on a killer pair of quad skates to participate in one.

Want to participate? Get your name on the list at You know you want to! Just do it already! Next boot camp is Saturday, March 26th.

Beers, bruises and bloggin’,

ZeZe Rider #511

Fresh Brew 2010

Photo courtesy of Swingwreck 

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