It’s great to skate with the roller derby

Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby in Sale is looking for skaters of all skill and fitness levels over the age of 18 for their senior roller derby team.

Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby Vice President and Coach Liz Griffiths said the sport is a great way to stay active in a fun environment.

“The club has been around for 10 years and I started nine years ago. There is a lot of training to learn how to skate safely and learn all the rules of the sport,” Ms Griffiths said.

“Roller skating is fun, and doing it with your friends is really fun. The junior kids love doing it too, mostly for recreation, rather than competition.

“Skating itself isn’t that hard to learn, as long as you stick with it. It can get tricky when you’re skating near other people and learning how to contact and bump into people, and get back up if you fall.

“There may be barriers to entry due to the cost of skating equipment, but we have used grant money to accumulate loaner equipment, such as skates, helmets and elbow pads , knees and wrists. It really cut costs for a lot of people because when I started we had to bring our own stuff.

“For now, they just have to bring a mouth guard and a water bottle. We can provide everything else. There is a cost related to our annual dues and training fees. There is also insurance from Skate Victoria.

The Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby is looking for more players.

Ms Griffiths says they need 15 people for a full squad, and the small number of players has made practice difficult.

“We never had enough for a full team. When we play in the Victoria regional team with the other three clubs we are with, we still don’t have full squads because they are small clubs like us. It is difficult to get people to play a different sport like this because they are so used to cricket, football and netball in these areas,” she said.

“We usually play with 10 or 11 skaters. It’s also hard to get people back because with COVID everyone had a long break. And once people stop coming, it’s too easy not to come back. We used to have a lot of people moving up the ladder, but since people have dropped out that hasn’t happened, but we’re just starting to get skaters back. We want to be able to show everyone what the game is actually like. We would love to have 20 or 30 more new skaters.

From a fitness perspective, Ms Griffths says roller derby training is a full body workout.

“When you start, you’ll discover muscles you didn’t know you had,” she said.

“There are a lot of squats because you have to stay low so you don’t fall so easily. And you use your arms when you get ready with your teammates when you play. It’s your arms, your legs, your core strength, your endurance. That’s all.

Ms Griffiths said the roller derby community is very friendly, including the naysayers.

“A lot of people think of roller derby as this big, aggressive, fist-on-wheels fight where the participants get hurt all the time, which was maybe seen in a lot of movies with old-school roller derby. But it’s not like that at all, it’s played in a really safe way. And the roller derby community is really friendly, even your opponents. It’s not as aggressive as other sports.

Those interested in learning more can follow the Gippsland Lakes Roller Derby Facebook page for updates or to get involved.

The club skates Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Sale Showgrounds Henebery Pavilion (Dawson Street) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Training for juniors is also available.

Sale Exhibition Center Henebery Pavilion. Photos: Stefan Bradley

Sale Exhibition Center Henebery Pavilion.

The Roller Derby action takes place in the Henebery Pavilion.

Roller Derby provides participants with a good workout.

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