Kent Roller Girls Marathon Challenge

On Sunday 29th July, a car-full of Kents drove to Dorney Lake in Berkshire in the pouring rain, strapped on their skates and skated over 26 miles each for charity. This may seem crazy to many people but with fundraisers we’re always aiming for ‘the crazier the better’ and this time it paid off, quite literally! So far our marathon skaters have raised over £500 for Pilgrim’s Hospices, our chosen charity this year, with more donations still trickling in.

The influx of donations for the skaters has pushed KRG over this years target of £750. With 5 months and many more charity events already planned, the team have now increased their target to £1000. The generosity and support from team-mates, friends and family definitely kept the marathon team going as they battled the elements.

We interviewed each of the marathon skaters to find out how and why they took on this marathon challenge.


Name: Shep (Commander Pain Shepard)
What wheels did you skate on?
Reckless Envy Hybrid wheels (80A)… Fun fact, I skated indoors on these for the first few months of my derby life, and wondered why I couldn’t slide!
How many marathons (if any) have you done before?
This was my second.
Do you do a lot of outdoors skating?
Not as much as I’d like to. I like skating along sea fronts, but usually the paths aren’t quite smooth enough.
Why did you want to do a marathon?
I really wanted to raise money for our charity, Pilgrim’s Hospice, as my family knows first-hand just how invaluable hospice services are.
How was it?
It was tough! The wind and rain made it much harder than my first marathon, but I couldn’t have asked for more supportive people to be skating with. I’d particularly like to thank Meg, who skated an extra lap to keep me company on the final 4km (even though she’d already finished!).
Any tips from your experience to pass on?
Fuel yourself properly the day before and the morning of the marathon, and keep drinking plenty of water throughout. My best advice though is to skate alongside your friends, because they make the hard miles feel much shorter!


Name: Kim (Mortal Kimbat)
What wheels did you skate on?
88s on crappy old Riddell skates (probably my 1st mistake!).
How many marathons (if any) have you done before?
When it comes to on skates marathons, I was a virgin, but I’ve done one on feet before.
Do you do a lot of outdoors skating?
Outdoor skating is a bit hit and miss for me – just once this summer; I managed 15 miles to make sure I was semi-ready for the marathon.
How was it?
I think the weather was the worst part of it – tackling the driving rain/wind. I was surprised at the hills too, I assumed it’d be pretty flat. The first 7 laps were ok, the last 4 were tough.
Any tips from your experience to pass on?
Rest and eat well the night before, make sure you have snacks, plenty of water, music and blister plasters to keep you going and be prepared for all weather!

The author would just like to point out that whereas Kim’s tips are all brilliant, she didn’t actually do any of them!


Name: James (JC)
What wheels did you skate on?
78 kryptonic’s (not the good ones) with my old bont hybrid boot.
How many marathons (if any) have you done before?
I’ve done one other marathon on skates.
Do you do a lot of outdoors skating?
I like to skate outside, my knee does not…
Why did you want to do a marathon?
I like to try and push myself and at the moment this is about as hard as it gets for me.
How was it?
In all honesty, it was terrible after the first 26km but that’s down to the knee. The weather was shocking too; hail is not marathon weather!
Any tips from your experience to pass on?
I’d say take friends with you. It’s surprising how much having supportive people around you can help. The guys this time where brilliant (even on my last two snail pace laps).


Name: Jenna (Sharpe)
What wheels did you skate on?
Really old, really big, really soft 76s; they’re like tires for your skates!
How many marathons (if any) have you done before?
This is my third marathon overall but my first one post knee reconstruction.
Do you do a lot of outdoors skating?
I love outdoor skating but sadly rarely get the time or weather for it! I love the cycle track at Betteshanger park though, there’s so much space to pick up speed and you often see bunnies and squirrels!
Why did you want to do a marathon?
I wanted to do the marathon for two reasons. Firstly I knew I could raise a lot of money for Pilgrim’s Hospices and it would be a great opportunity to show people just how passionate I am about supporting this charity. Secondly, I wanted to prove to myself that my body and my knee were still (almost) as good as they were pre knee op.
How was it?
I completed it in 3hours and 12 minutes, not my best time and not my slowest. The weather was horrific and I still managed to get sunburn even through the cloud and rain! I honestly couldn’t have done it with a better bunch of people though, I think that’s what kept me going!
Any tips from your experience to pass on?
Number 1: Bumbags are cool. Number 2: My ‘power flapjack’ recipe for when you need an energy boost: Melt 125g Butter, 150g Soft brown sugar, 125g peanut butter and 75g golden syrup in a pan. Pour over 200g Porridge oats and 150g of any dried fruit or nuts you have lying around (I used pecans and cranberries this time). Bake at 160 degrees for 20-30 minutes.


Name: Meg (Shut Up Meg)
What wheels did you skate on?
78s Atoms
How many marathons (if any) have you done before?
Why did you want to do a marathon?
I love a challenge and I love skates and friends. It’s the best combo!
How was it?
Amazing. I love skating, I clocked 24kmph at one point.
Any tips from your experience to pass on?
Just push yourself and eat loads! Carb load the night before and make sure to eat enough sugar while skating. It’s vital or you’ll run out of energy. Also do some cool down at the end and set a time to complete to motivate yourself. Did I mention… I love skating?!

If you would like to add to Kent Roller Girls’ total for their chosen charity this year then keep an eye out for our upcoming fundraising events or head over to our JustGiving page and donate a couple of quid!

For more info on the roller marathon organisers and their other events, check out South East Roller Disco’s Facebook page.


Open Day Story to Success Story!

Meet Sam, or Glitch to the rest of the team. Oh wait, you already met her almost a year ago, when she was telling us all about her Open Day Story! Glitch had heard about KRG about a month before she managed to find the courage to give it a try. We find that a lot of our newbies are nervous to begin with, like with any new experience, so we try our hardest to make sure it’s a fun and welcoming experience when they turn up to the Open Day.


“I have been with KRG for almost two years now. I joined after attending the Open Day back in October 2016 and finally passed my minimum skills on 27 May 2018 – Woohoo! I am currently on my probation period in main league then I’ll officially graduate into the B team for Kent Roller Girls, known as the Knightmares.

Training to play and compete in this crazy-fabulous sport has been such an amazing journey, and one I will treasure forever. When I look back at the times I almost gave up because I couldn’t get a skill nailed, or felt I would never be good enough, I am so proud that I didn’t let those thoughts win and I have finally made it into main league life!”


Whilst in our Recreational League, Glitch also dedicated a lot of her time to being an NSO (non-skating official), helping officiate bouts and scrimmages. She found it was a great opportunity to learn the rules as well as getting a front row seat to all the derby action!

“I have worked really hard every week in training and I am so thankful to all the KRG coaches and my fellow reccies for their time, encouragement, support and just pure awesomeness that has helped me reach my goal. I know that one day soon I will get to represent my team on track in the famous black and gold. So exciting!”


“Now that I have passed my minimum skills I get to compete in rookie bouts to get game experience and continue my learning and training, as that will never stop just because I’ve now passed the minimum skills. There is still so much to learn, practice and improve. I still have a bad habit of checking out the floor and what my feet are doing. I am trying to break this habit and look up more; as my teammates say when they catch me looking down “the floor is still blue!”

As soon as I passed in May I popped my rookie bout cherry a couple of weeks later playing for Team 90’s in a bout hosted in Cambridge on Sat 9th June. It was the most amazing feeling and I can assure you that all the hard work you put into training is totally worth it. The buzz you get from being out there on track in front of a crowd is so exhilarating!”


“I hope that if you’ve been thinking about giving Roller Derby a try, you go for it like I did. It’s so rewarding to achieve something in sports. This was way out of my comfort zone and I didn’t know anyone when I joined, but look at me now – a skater with a rookie bout ticked off the bucket list and a whole heap of new buddies that I get to hang with twice a week!”


Come and get your skates on at our next Free Open Day or just come along to find out more if you don’t fancy getting physical straight away. We’ll be at The Bay Arena on Sunday 8th July waiting for you to join us and start your epic KRG adventure!

Photos by Benjamin Valsler

Rainbow Tie-Dye Your Scrim Shirts

Bored of black vs white scrimmages? Are your old white scrim tops more of a grey colour after spending their life in your kit bag? Want to show off your true colours during Pride month? We’ve got the perfect craft project for you!


You will need:
White T-shirt or vest (cotton or cotton blend will always work best) with your team logo on the front
Powder dyes suitable for tie dyeing (I use Procion MX dyes)
Soda ash dye fixer
Squeezy bottles (yep, like the ones you get ketchup in!)
Marker pen (optional)
Elastic bands
Rubber gloves
Sandwich bags/carrier bags
Newspaper/plastic sheet to stop you dyeing the floor!

First things first, wash your shirt! If it’s an old shirt, you’ll want to get all the sweat and derby grime out of it, but also, if its a brand new shirt it could have chemicals left in it from the manufacturing/printing process. There’s no need to dry the shirt, just move straight on to the next step.


Soak! You want to soak your shirts for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of soda ash and warm water. The instructions on the pack tend to say 1 cup of soda ash per gallon of water. Mix it together in a big bucket until it dissolves and then add your shirts.


Spin your shirts in a washing machine or squeeze out the liquid by hand. Once your shirt is no longer dripping, drape it over your hand, logo down, with your index finger in the centre of your team logo. Let the t-shirt cover your hand and pinch the top of the fabric where your finger is. Secure with an elastic band.


Start to ‘tie’ your shirt up with elastic bands! You can do this by wrapping the bands irregularly around the shirt until you end up with a kind of unicorn horn. Or you can divide the shirt into even sections with the elastic bands.


Now to make the dyes! In the squeezy bottles, with gloves on, mix the dye power with warm water, shaking to mix. The dyes I use recommend 2 teaspoons of the dye powder to 8oz of water. More dye will create a deeper colour and more water will create a pastel effect. To be honest, I just eyeball it! I love mixing the dyes to create new colours too!


This next step is optional, but I always write on each bottle what colour it is. The dyes don’t always look the same as the colour they’re supposed to be!


It’s time to dye! With your tied up shirt on newspaper or a plastic sheet, start with a nice light colour and apply the dye to the tip. Now work your way along the colours of the rainbow (I go for either YORVIBG or I add in a bit of pink PRVIBGYO) making sure you add enough dye to penetrate through all the fabric, but not leave it saturated and dripping. Bigger t-shirts will take more dye than smaller ones. The type of fabric can also effect how much dye is soaked up.


Now the hardest part for me: wait. Put each shirt into its own plastic bag, taking care to not let the different coloured areas touch each other and leave the dye to do its thing for 4 – 24 hours… It’s so hard! I just want to see what it looks like! The longer you leave the dye the stronger the colours will be and the less chance they have to wash out.


24 hours later it’s finally time to rinse them out. Untie the elastic bands or cut them off if you’re impatient. I find it’s best to do this stage in the shower or with a tap running so you can rinse as you untie and avoid any unwanted dye splodges. If you’re just doing the one shirt you can rinse it out really well by hand, until the water runs clear, and it’ll be ready to wear as soon as it’s dry. If you’re doing an entire Pride parade’s worth then I find it much easier to stick the whole lot in the washing machine on a quick cycle!


Leave your new creation to dry and it’ll be ready to wear and wow all your derby pals!


Kent Roller Girls will be taking part in the Canterbury Pride parade on Saturday 9th June and enjoying the entertainment in the Dane John park afterwards. Say hi if you see us and grab a free rainbow sticker and a flyer for our next FREE Open Day!

Kent Roller Girls Dominate Portsmouth Roller Wenches

Kent Roller Girls supporters turned out in force to cheer on the All-Stars and the Kent B team The Knightmares at the Bay Arena in the second home game of the season on Saturday. The A team won with 266 points to Portsmouth Roller Wenches’ 189, defying predictions and causing KRG to leapfrog PRW in the European rankings.


Fielding their power line-ups from the start, Kent looked uncompromising throughout, and after some high-scoring power jams they were comfortably winning at half time, taking 119 points to Portsmouth’s 90. Kent effectively blocked the opposing jammer (point-scorer), holding them back from scoring in a total of 16 jams, in a game of 19 jams. Notable efforts from Demi Lition and Helen Degenerate elicited post-game awards from Portsmouth, in recognition of the Kent’s blockers’ ability to hold the inside and outside line and cover the track.


Kent’s enviable line-up of jammers show-cased a masterclass of footwork, agility and speed and the combination of favourable jammer match-ups and multiple Portsmouth penalties allowed them to dominate.


In the second game of the season for Kent’s B team, Portsmouth put up a great fight but were no match for the solid line-up that included friends of the team, due to injury before the game. Fear Khan and Mortal Kimbat showed their strength as jammers for the Kent side, and we look forward to seeing more of them in future bouts.


The final score for the B team game was 286-163 to Kent’s victorious Knightmares.

Kent Roller Girls will be hosting a free open day on July 8th at their home venue The Bay Sports Arena in Herne Bay. This will be an opportunity to find out more about the league, watch a training game (scrimmage) and even try some basic skills on skates! For more information, visit our Facebook page.


Photography by Dik Ng

Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s been Mental Health Awareness Week this week and it got us thinking about how important it is to take time out from your day to day life and look after yourself. For many of us, roller derby is that escape; from work stress, family drama, our own negative thoughts and keeping up with the unrealistic expectations that get put on us.

We collected a few statements from people within our league that talk about the struggles they face and how roller derby fits into their self-care routine.

“My dad was murdered November 2013 and struggled hard to cope with such a tragic loss at the age of 25. I started roller derby to help me focus on something whilst the court proceedings were going on. I went to KRG’s open day in Jan 2014. Once mins passed I picked the number 29 to mark the day I lost my dad, but gained a second family who put up with my ups and downs. They all helped me with the toughest time of my life and I owe them so much. I still have so many bad days, I’m not judged, instead I’m flooded with messages of support and all the hugs I ever need. My Roller buddies are my therapy and an important part of my life.”


Sometimes you don’t have to have experienced trauma in your life, your body and brain just stop functioning the way you’d like them too. This next skater uses roller derby to escape from everyday stress and keep their life on track.

“Roller Derby has been such a positive influence for me, it has given me a healthy form of escapism. All through my 20’s I suffered with my mental health “stress triggered depression” which basically means if things get bad I can fall apart and just stop functioning. It then takes everything in me to fight that and, to be begin with, fake being ok, until I actually feel ok again. There have been 3 particularly bad episodes the last of which was around the time I started Roller Derby. Focusing on passing mins, that tricky footwork, endurance and that pesky rules test! Aiming to throw hits and play some derby meant I could forget all the other crap for a bit – and didn’t need to be at all fake about it.

Now, 2 years in, I’ve discovered a huge percentage of derby players suffer in a similar way -and they’re not afraid to talk about it! (Which was often an issue in the “real” world). With this amazing support group, of alternative people who are just accepted for who they are, I’m successfully coming off medication and am feeling stronger – physically and mentally than ever before.”


Not being afraid to talk about mental health is such an important part of the battle. It not only helps to give sufferers a voice to explain how they feel, but starting discussions about mental health can also help to normalise such conditions. In our league we have appointed welfare officers to talk to struggling skaters.

“As I’m off skates at the moment I wanted to still try and contribute to my league. I had a baby 4 months ago and being inactive has been a real challenge for me, I’m a yoga teacher, so along with Derby I’m active everyday and I can really relate to impact of finding yourself without the anchor of physical activity and the role it plays in maintaining mental health. But for now healing and taking things slowly is what’s right for me. So I hope I can help other skaters if they need to chat during time off skates due to injury (9 month or otherwise). In my job as a yoga teacher, one of my specialisms is working in recovery, physically and along with mental health professionals treating young people healing from addiction, eating disorders and trauma.”

Anxiety is normal for anyone trying something new, but when you start having these feelings regularly, triggered by the smallest thought or situation then it can seriously affect your life.

“Before I started roller derby, I was in a bad place mentally as my course was very stressful and I had no healthy outlet. I was so anxious that I found talking to new people terrifying and actively avoided social situations. It was so bad that I had to watch two recreational league sessions before I joined in because I was too nervous to put skates on. However, once I got brave enough, I found that everyone was lovely and I grew in confidence each week. I gained the strength to quit my course, found a job that I love, and progressed with skating the whole time. I’m now captain of the All Stars and lead regular recruitment open days, where I’m talking to lots of new people all at once. Roller derby has given me confidence and an outlet for other stresses, meaning that my mental health is the best it’s been in a long time.”


A common theme for roller derby players, in our league particularly, is using the sport as a form of stress relief. Regardless of what is causing stress in your life, for some reason skating fast and hitting other people really puts it all into perspective!

“So I guess I found roller derby a massive support while writing my thesis, back home skating with Limerick Roller Derby. They gave me something to look forward to twice a week where I could just switch off from writing and data analysis. Honestly don’t know how I would have coped without it. I think from there roller derby has given me a second identity. A mechanism to be myself, as well as more physically and mentally fit.

It’s not constant though, sometimes I struggle with the sport. Lots of very strong people (in all meanings of the word) with different friendship groups and a full contact sport can be sometimes an anxious environment. However, there are always friendly faces and people around to boost you and vice versa. Also even if you don’t skate the environment is fun and generally positive. There have definitely been nights I enter the sports hall feeling glass half empty and leave a couple hours later feeling glass half full. It’s a very important sport both physically and mentally for me – so I guess… thank you derbyverse!”


Thank you to everyone who volunteered their stories for this article. It’s hard to talk about yourself, it’s even harder to talk about things we don’t particularly understand or like about ourselves. In KRG we will always encourage our members to talk about their feelings and let someone know if they are struggling. We know we are a support network for so many people and we respect that.

Look after yourselves. Look after each other. #MHAW18

Photos taken by Michael East at some of our open days – keep your eyes peeled for our next one, it’s coming soon! You can also see the All Stars and Knightmares in action next week vs Portsmouth Roller Wenches! Check out the Facebook event here!


27 Tips for Passing Your 27 in 5 (Part 2)

Welcome back to part two of our 27 Tips for Passing Your 27 in 5! We hope you tried a couple of tips from part one and we’d love to know how you all got on, why not leave us a comment?

Part two brings you even more skating stars, your favourite KRG players and plenty of off skates tips to hopefully keep you motivated and push you to reach those tricky last few laps. First up is a roller derby mega-star, Lady Trample.

If you are brand new to roller derby and you haven’t heard of her yet, I recommend calling in sick to work for the next week and binge-watching any Victorian Roller Derby League (VRDL) games you can find online! She is a fearless jammer for this team (who are currently sitting at the #1 spot in the world) and when she’s not on track you can find her shredding up skate parks with Chicks in Bowls, encouraging and inspiring quad skaters all over the world.


15. My best piece of advice for anyone learning to skate is to do it as often as possible. Sounds obvious but if you’re training for fresh meat and you only lace up for your set lessons you’re limiting your learning. Go for a cruisey beach skate or a roller disco night… Put your skates on in the kitchen when you’re doing dishes. The MST is hard to pass when you’re not comfortable or confident on your skates to take sometime to get to know them.

If it’s laps in particular that you’re struggling with, find a pump up buddy to do some practice runs with you. Someone who can do it within the time frame that is willing to skate along side you and help you get your pace right. A motivator is super helpful.

KRG newcomer and Lady Trample superfan Abi Oborne describes how the hard work she put in to smash her laps wasn’t just a one-off and carries over into every training session she attends.


16. For me, as a fairly new skater. I found that putting in a lot of hard work with extra practice on skates and extra fitness off skates was what really helped me to crack the 27 in 5. Life is exhausting and I think it takes real motivation, hard work and drive to level up at derby. If you can keep pushing yourself even when it’s really hard work then you’ve already got what it takes. When you don’t feel like going to training, or you can’t be bothered with off skates fitness, or maybe you are scared to go to a practice scrim or it seems like a pain to drive to that bootcamp. I think that these are the golden opportunities that you have to really improve at derby. If you have the drive and commitment to push through at these times. If you are willing to work hard after the novelty of skating has worn off. If you can push through then, I think that’s when you’re going to really start to grow and improve. I think if you’ve got that then you’re already really there. It’s just a matter of time.

Treble Maker agrees that practice really does make perfect when it comes to nailing those skills.

17. This is extremely obvious but you’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t actually spend any extra time practicing their skills. Some people just kind of expect they’ll be good at something without ever working on it, usually because they see a more veteran skater doing that skill with ease. What they don’t see is the hours of work that vet has put in! So, whenever you get the opportunity – before training, after training, during breaks, at home, outside, on skates, off skates – practice, practice, practice!

Optimus grime is a powerhouse of a jammer for Power of Scotland and recently back from taking part in the Mens World Cup in Barcelona. He also travels from league to league passing on his derby knowledge, signature moves and enthusiasm for the sport. He believes the way to take on any challenge is all about identifying all the possible variables and preparing the best you can to take them on.


18. Variables: 1. Cardio, 2. Rhythm and 3. Fear. 1. Start exercising off skates. Its all about preparing yourself. If you do cardio regularly you make the 27/5 half as hard. Your CV ability is 100% in your control. Doing cardio derby eliminates fitness as an issue. 2. It’s not about speed or sprinting. It’s about a consistent rhythm. Prep by listening to fast music prior and moving your stride to a set tempo. Then aim to maintain it. 3. Get a veteran skater to do it and watch them move. Watch their skating line and body position and copy them. Seeing what it involves eliminates the fear of the unknown.

Adrian Wordsworth is an accomplished speed skating coach and draws from his experience at the highest level of the sport, with an in-depth understanding of all aspects of speed skating on quads and inlines.


19. Set an even pace (don’t go mad in the first couple of minutes and blow up). You should be lapping in 11 seconds or less to achieve 27 laps comfortably. Get a friend to call out your lap times so you know you’re on target. Get them to call out the remaining time every 30 seconds too, so you know how long you’ve got to go, and can push on towards the end.

Alistair Hines (Shank McCoy/Hines) and Blitzkrieg both skate for Southern Discomfort and England Men’s Roller Derby. They may be men of very few words, but they really understand the mechanics of skating and get straight to the point with their tips:


20. I like to think of your body as a spring. Thinking about the biomechanics of skating, getting lower gives you the most potential energy in your coils on wheels (legs) so sit nice and low and get the most out of every push.


21. Fast but quiet and gentle feet to maximise speed but limited energy wasted.

Getting your laps is not just something to practice in training. Our recreational league only train once a week and for many people that’s enough, but for those wanting to cross over from recreation to competition, that’s where the extra training comes in. Not just on skates training as well, skaters need to start cross-training to start building muscles and endurance. Dirty Deborah Harry discusses how you also need to take into account your body type and size.

22. I was never actually a Freshie because I could already full-on skate when I joined derby in 2006. When I joined derby though, I was 38 and the heaviest I had ever been. I weighed in at about 225lbs. Soooo… I skated my butt off when I started because I was lugging around a lot of extra weight! Are you consistently training for the 27/5 or are you only doing it a practice? Are you switching up the training? Are you doing a straight 27/5 or are you doing interval, fartlek and tempo training? If not, get on it! It is so much more fun than just trying to do 27 in 5 over and over again.

Don’t worry, we had to google fartlek training too! It’s a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. It’s really helpful to assist with changes in speed when skating and to give you that extra bit of power when you need it most. Treble Maker also recommends High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short.


23. High Intensity Interval Training is a method of exercising that is made up of short, very intense periods of exercise followed by short periods of rest – kind of similar to skating then coasting when doing laps, right? HIIT makes your lungs and legs burn and you have to really push yourself to put in maximum effort… also kind of similar to laps, right?! If you never practice under those conditions, you’ll be unprepared when the time comes and nerves can get the better of you.

Try introducing some HIIT workouts into your off-skates training a couple of times a week – you’ll improve your fitness, ability to recover more quickly AND you’ll be strengthening your mental muscle!

HIIT example: 20 seconds work / 20 seconds rest –
– Skater hops
– Squat jumps
– Skater Hops
– Fast Feet
– Skater Hops
– Lunge Jumps
– Skater Hops

Commander Pain Shepard, KRG’s current captain and triple threat on the track explains why it’s important to train your mental toughness just as much as your physical fitness:


24. Technique and fitness are frequently taught in training sessions, while the mental aspect of achieving your laps can often get overlooked. The last minute of laps is the hardest and also one of the most important. It’s the point where your lungs are burning, your legs feel like lead and everything is screaming at you to give up. The only thing that’s going to get you through that is the determination and drive to keep pushing for those last few seconds. You have to tell yourself that you can do it and, more importantly, that you will do it.

It might seem difficult to train yourself to be more determined, but it can be achieved by making small changes and repeating them until it becomes normal. For example, if you’re planking in the gym and you usually hold it for 30s, challenge yourself to hold it for longer or even until you burn out. When the voice in your head tells you that you can’t do it, it’s important to be able to think of the reasons why you can do it.

Optimus Grime’s next tip is to train your brain with rewards. We like that he specifically mentions cake!

25. Reward vs incentive. Tell yourself: It is ok to fail the test. But not more than twice. Telling yourself it’s ok to fail eliminates the fear of failure. However don’t make this a pattern. If you fail make yourself do something as gentle punishment so you don’t fail again. Such as no chocolate for a week. But if you succeed reward yourself with something. Such as new toe stops or cake etc. Eliminate the problems and then its 100% in your control.

KRG skater Finch transferred to Kent with a huge amount of derby experience under her belt. She has coached and captained a WFTDA team and has seen many skaters struggle through their minimum skills tests. In her opinion, it might be time for a new method to test the fitness of future derby skaters.


26. I think a big problem with 27/5 as a skill, is that it’s often viewed as the pinnacle of the learning process. A huge proportion of skaters I’ve worked with have struggled with it in some way or another. I’m a big believer in taking the pressure off and focusing on correct form and seeing where that gets you. I’m not against an endurance test (certainly at the higher end of derby), but I don’t believe that 27/5 is conducive to good performance in our sport. I have seen plenty of slower skaters who are incredible derby skaters. I have also seen plenty who are fast and agile but not necessarily great at the game.

When looking at the principles of training for improvement in performance, the guideline is not to train at above 50% more than the upper limit of your sport. To put it into context: a 100m sprint runner will often train at a 150m distance to increase performance. There is very little point in them training at 400m as the fundamental skills required will vary at that heightened distance. I believe the same goes for derby. I see so many passionate, dedicated people give up because they just can’t quite get that last lap and I think that is such a shame for our sport.

Our final tip – yes, we made it to 27! – is from Treble Maker. Sometimes it’s hard to realise you’re making progress when you’re a newbie and you’re so fixated on the skills you haven’t managed to conquer yet. Just take a moment to look back to the first time you turned up to practice; nervous, wobbly and probably a bit overwhelmed, and then think about how far you’ve come.

27. So you might not have got your 27 this time but did you improve on your previous time? Even a half or quarter lap is a huge improvement. Did you do crossovers all the way round the track this time? Awesome! Did you maintain a good line? Perfect! Did you not feel freaked out by the other skaters on the track this time? Amazing!! All improvements are important and every small success is a step towards your main goal. 27 laps is hard by anyone’s standards so congratulate yourself for every fraction of a lap or extra crossover that takes you closer to it. As long as you keep moving forward, you’ll get there!

For more derby news from Kent Roller Girls click through here to follow our Facebook or Instagram pages.

You can also see Shep, Finch and Abi at Kent Roller Girls next home game on the 26th May. We’ll be taking on the mighty Portsmouth Roller Wenches in a double header. Get your tickets now!

27 Tips for Passing Your 27 in 5 (Part 1)

Passing your minimum skills can be tough! Most new roller derby players come to the sport having never really skated before and some without having been involved in a sport for a number of years. Although we are all keen to get on and learn how to play the game, if we don’t manage to nail that one-foot glide or get stuck on the cone weave or the 27 laps in five minutes, it can be really frustrating.

Passing your 27 laps in five minutes is perhaps the biggest obstacle for a lot of skaters so here at Kent Roller Girls we decided to reach out to some of our own personal skating heroes to pick up some of their best tips for nailing those laps and acing the minimum skills test in general. They replied with some incredible nuggets of skating wisdom.

We hope that you find something here that makes the difference for you!

Our first tip comes from Abi Crowe (Muscle Crowe) a KRG fresh meat success story who went on to play for London Brawling (LRG) and Windsor’s A Team after learning the basics with us and passing her minimum skills.


1. My tip for improving your 27 in 5 is get low. Lower. LOWER!!! You’ll get so much more power from bent legs than when you’re stood upright. BONUS, it brings your centre of gravity lower making it easier to stay on your feet! This goes for roller derby in general too – everyone can always get lower!

Adrian Wordsworth is a 21 times individual and 5 times team British Champion speed skater, with over 40 years of skating experience. He very kindly came to pass on his knowledge to KRG at a training session last year and has given us some great tips. The first of which is all about preparation.


2. Do a proper warm up including a skate and stretch, so you’re ready to give it your best shot. Select your wheels to give you the most roll without compromising your cornering grip. This will depend on the track surface of your venue but if your wheels are too hard they’ll slip in the corners and if they’re too soft they’ll drag (each of which will slow you down). Make sure your bearings are clean, lubed and spinning freely to get the most out of them too – every little extra bit of help will make a difference!

Dirty Deborah Harry grew up at her family’s roller rink. She has been a competitive figure skater, derby skater with the OC Roller Girls, coach and ‘all around rink rat’ in her own words! She also agrees about perfecting your skate set up in your preparation to take on the dreaded laps!

3. Make sure your skates are set-up properly. Do you have the proper boot fit? The boot needs to fit snug to your foot with no forward/back movement. Do you have the right cushions for your body weight and skill level? Do you even know what cushions are?! Are you skating on the right wheel that compliments both your body weight/skill level and the composition of the skating floor? Are your bearings all fully functioning? Have you removed all the hair/gunk/dirt etc. from your truck/wheels … (not even kidding about hair! hahhaha!) Are your trucks properly adjusted to enable you to hold an edge and then switch edges?

To find out what works for you, we always recommend trial and error; borrowing wheels, trying on skates and chatting to your more experienced league members about what they prefer. Our next tip is from another of our KRG alumni (and qualified personal trainer) Molly (Lady Killer) who took her KRG training all the way to the USA to expand her blammer knowledge with Sac City Rollers:


4. It’s 5.4 laps a minute so tell yourself you’re going to do 6 or even 7. Make sure the person timing/counting for you is communicating what you need and you’re zoning into that one voice. Just like in the game, you’re never doing something alone – utilise that team mate. In the first and last 30 seconds (no matter how many laps you have left) do 3 minimum.

Jess (Lipstick Librarian) was a coach and skater also from Sac City Rollers (now Sacramento Roller Derby) and just happens to be Molly’s awesome wife! Together they’re both passionate about exercise, functional movement and utilising the power your body has:


5. Use your arms to build momentum, deep crossovers that allow you to fall into a stride all the way around the track, and matching breath to steps to keep a steady pace.

Jenna (Jennapocalypse/Sharpe) has found that maintaining a steady pace is the best way for her to complete 27 laps too. Jenna has been with KRG for seven years, two of which as captain, and has also been involved in coaching skaters from recreational league to A Team level.

6. My lungs are terrible. I know if i’m going to make it round that track then I need to regulate my breathing and keep it nice and slow. The best way I’ve found to avoid those panicked and ineffective breaths is to count. I count my crossovers and make sure I get the same number and same rhythm each time; 1… 2… 3… Glide… 1… 2… 3… Glide… Tapping the rhythm with my fingers on my wrist guards can help too. This way I know there is always a rest coming after the 3rd crossover and I can get ready to really pack as much power as possible into my next 3.

Jamie Campbell (Sparky) from Teeside Skate Invaders and Team England Men’s Roller Derby remembers what it was like to be a new skater trying to master those minimum skills.


7. As a rookie you’re finding your position in the game; searching for your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re one of those skaters that finds they struggle with 27/5 don’t worry! It’s always tempting to compare your laps with another rookie but just because another skater is progressing faster doesn’t mean you’re a weak skater. Your strengths will come through in ways you might not have even noticed yet. Don’t get hung up on getting more laps every time, the longer you play roller derby the better you’ll get, just focus on using the correct technique.

Speaking of technique, London Brawling and Team England star Kristen Lee likes to break skills down and practice each part individually.


8. My top tip is to really be disciplined in breaking down the steps to crossovers and practising each one. Just trying to skate faster isn’t going to do the job. Low body position, getting powerful pushes with both legs, really break these down to their individual movements and do them over and over. Pretend you are a speed skater with each movement – don’t cheat yourself! It’s muscle memory as much as any other skill. Those legs will and should burn. Film yourself! Chances are you are not as low as you think.

Even if you plan to spend your whole derby career as a blocker, using all your skills to slow down rather than speed up and sticking with your pack rather than lapping them like a jammer, you still need to pass your laps. JigglyTough is an incredible blocker and will take you off your feet if you try to challenge her! Her tip is to use the other skaters on track to your advantage.


9. Use the other skaters on track to challenge you to go faster/keep skating. If someone is in front try and catch up to them. If you catch them up overtake them. Similarly if there is someone coming up trying to overtake you, keep them behind, skate a bit faster use them chasing you to distract you from how long you’ve been skating, how sore your legs are etc. It’s only 5 mins then you can relax!

Treble Maker is the go-to skater for most newbies wanting to find out more about how get the most out of their training. She blogs at and you can pick up a copy of her ‘Mental Toughness for Freshies’ here. Obviously her tips for getting 27 laps are not to be missed! Here’s the first one:


10. With laps, the saying “more speed, less haste” really is true! If you panic and rush because you must get 27 laps, the worse your technique and the slower you’ll be. Concentrate on your racing line, making sure you’re taking the most efficient route around the track (the diamond or the circle), make sure you’re in a nice low, speed skater stance, think about getting the most push and pull out of each crossover… Focus less on trying to be fast and more on trying to be clean!

Demi Lition is a personal trainer and all-round derby superstar who coaches all levels of skaters at both KRG and KMRD. One tip that she recommends is ditching the derby track completely:

11. Get outdoors on your skates as much as possible. Find somewhere nice and flat and really work on pushing out hard with each stride. After that, skating indoors will seem like a piece of cake!

Tristan Epps is a local hockey player and coach who has been skating for years and loves finding new, engaging ways to teach it to a range of different age groups. Although hockey has no equivalent to the 27 in 5 minimum skill, they do practice their speed regularly with shuttle runs.

12. My tip is to power out as many crossovers on the corners as possible. Crossovers are the the most effective way of gaining speed throughout your 27-5. Getting low and leaning right in should help in producing a good powerful cross over. If you find yourself going to wide, try and fit a few more in but with short pushes. This should take you tighter to the inside line.

Learning from other types of skating can be vital in your development as a skater, as we can see in Dirty Deborah Harry’s next tip:


13. Right away I realized that most Freshies were suffering because they did not have proper technique AND they were reluctant to spend time practicing technique preferring to rush into game play. Some skaters could overcome this but most ended up holding up their own progress.

Can you really do a kick-ass crossover? Are you really going from a right inside edge to a left outside edge or are you simply picking up your right foot and setting it down over your left? If you need help, watch ice speed skating. Their technique is easily to spot and identify. Look at their body posture from the top of their head to their toe when it leaves the surface.

Chip took a while to pass her minimum skills but once she’d decided to really commit to derby she rocketed through the ranks to become an All Stars jammer, and a very successful one at that! Chip explains that a lot of the battle with laps actually comes from your own attitude:


14. More than anything, I’d say mental attitude is important. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Worst case you don’t pass this time. So what? There’ll be another tryout. Just make sure when you are on that track, you are giving it your absolute everything… and then some! Be determined. Focus on the track and where you’re heading. So you fall over? It doesn’t mean you can’t still get 27 in 5… you already know how to get up quick! Don’t get distracted by others on the track or be afraid of overtaking. Just do it. The C in KRG’s motto H.U.C. is commit. Commit to doing your absolute best.

Next week we’ll be publishing Part 2 of our 27 tips, including advice from Lady Trample, Optimus Grime and more top tips from Treble! So for this and for more derby news from Kent Roller Girls click through here to follow our Facebook or Instagram pages.

You can also see Jiggly, Chip and Demi skating for Kent Roller Girls on the 26th May at our next home game against Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Get your tickets now!