At this time of year, skating outside becomes a battle against the whims of the weather, and getting chance to train can be rare.

But don’t worry, there’s still ways you can become a better skater without even having to leave your house.

Get watching derby

Although it’s off season, a lot of leagues take advantage of the quiet period to play friendlies against their local rivals.

If you’re new to derby, getting out there and in front of a real game will teach you more about the sport than any book or website.

Seeing the strategies and moves happening right in front of your eyes will help put your skills into context.

If you can’t make it out to a game, well fear not, the Internet is as nurturing as ever. The WFTDA hosts recent games and tournaments both on their archive site and on YouTube. While you don’t get the same hypnotic immersion as in a live bout, watching footage online has a few advantages of its own.

For one, the ability to stop, rewind and replay the video comes in very handy for checking manoeuvres and watching the reactions of players. You could watch the same jam 10 times and each time learn something new from watching a different player.

The commentary is also great to listen to, as they’ll shed light on rules and tactics which might not be obvious at first. Plus the action replay can capture some truly magnificent feats!

Skates out in the living room

Even if it’s raining outside, you could still get in some practice on your skates from inside your house. Transitions, toe stops, balancing, and even hops require little space, and 10 minutes a day practice will quickly add up.

Cross training

If skating’s off the cards, you can still up your derby game by hitting the gym (or the pavement).

Resistance and strength training will tighten up your core for stability and put power in your legs to beast those crossovers.

Running and interval training will give your cardio system a boost, while Plyometrics and circuits will add explosiveness to your jumps and keep you light and agile when you jam.

Swotting up on derby

It isn’t just our bodies that need conditioning. Time off-skates is prime time for learning and educating yourself about the world of derby.

If you’re new, learn the rules. Learn the ref signals.

Find out more about your skates and how they work. Do research about how to tweak them to make them work for you.

Get on YouTube and watch some videos on skills you need to work on or techniques you need to improve.

Do some soul searching. Think about your goals and set yourself some targets; if you’ve yet to pass your minimum skills, plan which ones you’re going to tackle next and how you’re going to train.

If you’re an experienced player, think about strategy. Study derby games and how teams adapt to keep or win the advantage.

Volunteer some time for your league

Lastly, think about how you can help your league. Being the best skater you can be is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but there’s always more.

Find some cool drills to suggest for the next session. Spruce up the website with some articles. Do some groundwork around recruiting new skaters.

And then, once the weather turns nice and the training ramps back up, feel free to revel in your newfound skills and strength.

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