Roller Derby Coaching / Jan 2019


We’re back on it for the 2019 season, and we’re hitting the year off with a bang – British Championships, Tier 3 is our new home and we’re ready for the challenge it brings.

So back to coaching, and developing myself as a coach, which is one of my big goals for this year. I’ve previously discussed how I plan my sessions, and what I do when the plan isn’t quite coming together. But I figure after all the coaching chat with the Derby Stance Online Summit at the back end of last year it’s as good a time as any to share resources – because we all come across the same problems during our coaching, so why reinvent the wheel?

So this is me adding to the wealth of resource already out there – and I’m doing this not only to help and support other smaller, growing leagues, but also for feedback, because we all can do better and improve our coaching – coach your coaches!!

So to explain a little bit before you jump into the session plan – this season my primary coaching focus is a Jammer coach, because, as much as it pains me to say it, I’m a Jammer (who not so secretly wants to be an amazing blocker). If you use that to understand the angle my drills are coming from, and also note, that my core belief is that Jammers can only improve their skills as the Defence/Offence improve theirs – so don’t expect a repository of fancy footwork drills and skills!!

30% of being a good Jammer is Skill, 30% is strength and 40% is mental… but that’s just my opinion.

Session Plan (Jan 2019) 110 mins
Session Goal(s):
Improve all players with run-backs as both Jammers and Blockers, in speed and execution
Encourage more Fearless skill use in drills, to reflect in gameplay

  • Warm-up ~20 mins
    • Dynamic Stretches – including but not limited to; leg swings, open-hips, arm rotations, low squats, open chest, ankle rolls ~8 mins
    • Acceleration – Stops on the whistle with rapid acceleration upon complete stop ~5 mins
      • Single blast: Plow Stop
      • Double whistle: Hockey Stop
      • Long blast: Derby Stop (turn and continue in Derby direction)
    • Sticky-skating Laps x3 ~2 mins
    • Lateral pushes – in trios, take to the line and hit off, run back (if possible), then switch – one person rests each time ~5 mins
      • Encourage the ‘Jammers’ to beat the run back
  • Braines Drill – Beat the Blocker ~20 mins DEMO
    • Set-up x3 lines of Skaters; Blocker 1 (outside lane), Jammer (inside lane), Blocker 2 (middle lane)
      • The Jammer Controls the drill start
        • Jammer runs up the inside
        • Blocker 1 times they’re lateral movement across to stop the Jammer – BE FEARLESS
        • Blocker 2 times they’re run up to assist – aim is to take the Jammer OFF once been stopped by Blocker 1

      • Escalate as and when appropriate – encourage all the players to push themselves
      • Remember: if you fall while stopping the Jammer you still achieved the goal – it’s about gaining your team enough time to reform, capture and stop the opponent, regardless of what that looks like (within the rule set)
      • Switch positions after each run; Blocker 1 becomes the Jammer, the Jammer becomes Blocker 2, Blocker 2 becomes Blocker 1….
  • Apex Practice ~20 mins
    • Apex Jump – set up cones in an outward triangle from the inside turn, escalate by adding a human once everyone has had a practice run ~5 mins
    • Apex run backs ~15 mins DEMO
      • Set up a ‘hit-out’ at the top of the ‘engagement zone’ (use cones or hall features to help) with a Blocker and a Jammer
      • Set a rogue Opposition player to be blocking your path for a run back – use a wide distance until confident, escalate in your trios, or when advised by the coach
        • Jammer wants to win – beat the run back
        • Blocker wants to take the fastest route, without getting a penalty!! KEEP IT CLEAN
      • Switch positions after each run; Blocker becomes the Opposition, Opposition becomes the Jammer, Jammer becomes the Blocker…
  • MBoro Drill – Ultra Wall ~20 mins
    • Set-up all players except for two as blockers in an Ultra Wall
      • One is to be the active Jammer, the other is the next Jammer to run
    • Blockers are all blocking TOGETHER – Jammer is trying to get through EVERYONE
    • Run for Half a lap (or gauge based on time/exhaustion)
      • Switch one Blocker out each run to become the next Jammer
        • Note the time it takes for each player to move the wall to allow them to reassess at a later date (opt-out)
  • Offence Pairs ~20 mins
    • Working in the designated packs/pairs set-up the following
      • Tripod Wall (or variation)
      • One-Man Offence*
      • Jammer*
        • *Discuss plan before running drill
    • Work on the offensive strategy we have trained
      • Jammers be SMART – use your offence, don’t go rogue
      • Offence see what works, talk to your Jammer
      • Defence – feedback to the Jammer and Offence, what went well, why it didn’t work
    • Communicate, Feedback, Chat it through – develop your relationships with your players
  • Cool Down ~10 mins
    • Stretches – On and off skates
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