I do have a couple of gripes about roller derby, once again this is not dealing with any particular league, just general gripes and shit.
Learn the rules.
Don’t depend on some website to tell you how to interpret them, read them…. If you have a question read them again.
If you want to win bouts don’t try to manipulate the rules, skate better. Do core workouts, skate outside of practice, become faster, quicker, more stable. Build up your core strength and read the rules.
The easiest way to avoid going to the penalty box is to know the rules and know what you are not supposed to be doing, and then don’t do those things.
I hate bench coaches who scream at refs and try to argue every little minutia. There is a process for that, it is called taking a time out and then asking for an official review.
This is the same reason when I am running a bout I make the rule that all questions go through the head ref. It actually makes things a lot easier, you ask the head ref a question and then (assuming I am head reffing the bout) I will go and verify whether what was called was correct or not. The reason that I have everything go through the head ref is that way I can keep everything under control which makes the bout go faster, and makes it so that all of the zebras are on the same page.
If you are reffing don’t be wishy-washy. This is truly one of my greatest pet peeves. Be decisive, if you make a call stand behind it. I will tell you if you were wrong, but if you come up to me with an answer like “well I thought I saw this so I called this” I am not going to stand behind that call. If you come up to me with “I saw this, the contact was here and with this part of the body, therefore I called this penalty” I am not going to disagree with your interpretation. That is solid, and hard for someone to argue that it did not occur.
Just because someone fell does not mean there was a penalty. People fall in derby, it is kind of the nature of the sport.
If you are jam reffing a jammer does not automatically get all of the points on a pass, there is that wonderful thing called “no pass, no penalty” and it happens more frequently that some people think.
When I am reffing I don’t call penalties to be mean or spiteful, I call them because they are a necessary evil that we have to deal with. If there were no rules and no penalties we would also be dealing with broken bones in almost every bout. I would not want to be part of a sport that supports that kind of behavior. This is roller derby, not MMA, treat it as such.
Read the rules.
Do core work.
If you are struggling with balance and strength issues try yoga, seriously, yoga is about patience, balance, and strength, these are three things that all derby people could use more of.
And read the damn rules….
Don’t trust what refs say as being the bible. Just because one ref over here says that it is called this way does not mean that they are correct. The rules are what the rules are. Good refs read them and adapt their behavior and calling based on the best interpretation that they have, but are willing to see that they may or may not always have the best view on things. So good refs read the rules. Then we re-read the rules. Then we go back over the rules to make sure that our interpretation of the rules is correct.
Seriously, now that I have been back in school I have been slacking on my derby which means that I only spend 1.5 hours a week reffing a scrimmage, and then the following 5 hours going over rules, drinking beer, and playing pool. Then we spend time on the interwebs and on our personal discussion boards, and or facebook, going over rules. If I spent this much time doing studying of what I am actually paying to learn I would be rocking this geology stuff!
So read the damn rules.