derby stance is coming back to a screen near you

DERBY STANCE, AN ONLINE coaching summit, is an event run by Yorkshire-based roller derby coaching company, Rule 56, whose motto is “let’s keep talking about coaching.” Derby Stance bills itself as “a space for learning about coaching, sharing experiences, and understanding the value that competent, confident coaches bring to roller derby.”

The aim of the online coaching conference is to bring coaches together to share inspiration, build networks, get tools and insights for their own coaching development and to share resources for roller derby coaching.

This is the second time the event is being run as an online-only webinar series. Although the inaugural event in 2016 was an in-person conference that took place over 2 days at a physical venue, Maha El Nasser (Hydra) who owns and operates Rule 56, took Derby Stance online for the first time last year after working out the complex logistics of time zones, language and scheduling sessions for audiences across the world. Last year’s event was a great success and allowed Rule 56 to collect valuable feedback that has led to small changes that will enhance this years’ experience further. The summit will begin with a key note from WFTDA, one of the event’s sponsors. This will take place the night before the summit proper starts, and will be available to all, with no cover charge. People can buy watch-live tickets for the full weekend of seminars or to attend individual sessions.

There will be a total of 18 seminars, workshops, and round tables across the weekend. Seminars are 1-hour-long presentations with a chance for questions. Workshops are 90 minutes and involve engagement and working on a topic together with the speaker. Round tables are 1-hour discussions, led by a facilitator interested in the topic. They are a space to share ideas and discuss challenges and are also a great way to understand how derby works in other places.

This year’s speakers are a mix of new faces and old hands, covering a variety of topics. The speakers represent a wide diversity of leagues and levels of roller derby. Some of the more well- known faces include Nadia Kean (AKA Smarty Pants) of Strong Athletic and formerly of Texas Rollergirls and USA Roller Derby, who joins the crew for a third successive Derby Stance. Nadia will be facilitating a workshop called, “Is Your Coaching Actually Working?” Rosie Peacock of Manchester Roller Derby also features, this time, to talk about strategic coaching. Furrrocious of Amsterdam Roller Derby and Team Netherlands will talk about getting beyond “Do better! Get lower!” Dr. Astrid Coxon of Suffolk Roller Derby is a chartered psychologist with a special interest in stress management and team dynamics, who will be chairing the workshop “Coaching the Uncoachable.” Kaio- Kensi of Montréal Roller Derby, is delivering a session on building a healthier brain safety culture. This topic will look at identifying and overcoming the barriers to brain safety encountered by roller derby coaches and incorporating brain safety into season F/tag/training planning.

One of the sessions I am most looking forward to is being run by Squirrel Power of Monterey Bay Derby Dames. The topic is “Coaching Slower Learners.” Squirrel says: “We regularly talk about how roller derby is an inclusive sport. This is a chance to look at your league structure and training programme. Encouraging all levels of fitness is at the foundation of fostering inclusivity. We will examine league atmospheres and training programs, focusing on expanding methods to increase retention.”

One of the main logistical issues when planning webinars for a worldwide audience is time zone differences. Inevitably, there will be sessions that take place at an inconvenient time (such as the middle of the bloody night!) and these are most likely to be the ones you’re most interested in attending. Hydra has changed the ticket structure to incorporate feedback from last year’s event, so that this year, attendees can buy watch-later tickets separately from watch-live. This means that if you know you won’t be able to attend, you can plan ahead and buy the watch later pass for the seminar you really want to see. Hydra has also scheduled the more interactive events (workshops and round table discussions) so that at least one will fall within normal waking hours in every time zone in the world.

One of the beauties of attending live is the interactivity of the experience, and the ability to pose questions and participate in real time. As such, workshops and round tables aren’t included in the day or weekend tickets and are extra to attend, although it is possible to buy a single pass for these events.

Another logistical issue for a global audience is language: All the sessions will be run in English. However, Microsoft Translate is available to do real- time translation in over 30 languages (and is free), but this is only an option for the live events. Unfortunately, watch later sessions will only be in English with no subtitles.

Full details of the Derby Stance schedule, list of speakers, and ticket prices are available at Derby Stance is sponsored by Steaks Contact Wear and Roller Dirty Soaps, as well as WFTDA, and is extremely grateful for their support.

If you can’t wait until November to get talking about coaching, you will probably want to join the Derby Stance Online Coaching Community. This is a place of knowledge sharing, advice, and support for roller derby coaches and aspiring derby coaches. Currently there are over 400 members of the community, so there’s bound to be someone there who has the same questions as you – or the coaching answers you’ve been waiting for. Membership is not restricted to summit attendees, so get on and join in.

In the run up to Derby Stance, Rule 56 will be hosting a series of fringe events on Facebook and YouTube, so stay tuned in.

Rule 56 Coaching

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  • Billy No Skates

    Billy No Skates/Sinéad Garry is an Irish announcer and writer living in Yorkshire, England. She has been announcing since 2011 and writing for roller derby since 2013. Her favourite roller derby thing to do is to interview people and share their stories. She is not good at writing her own bio.