Sometimes, just before I fall asleep, I start to slide off the bed. I feel my skates roll out in front of me as I flip backward into deep dark dreamy sleep. It’s the kind of thing that makes you glad you started skating…again, and again. I took a little sabbatical from all things derby and got in touch with my spirit animal (giraffe). Oh, and started a little helmet painting company with my best girl, Beats. Helmet painting? I mean, that’s what people do when they take a break. They think of ways to smash derby into every crevice of their lives…right? Alright, I fail at vacation. It’s been a long time since I wrote to all my adoring fans. Thank you both for your patience.

So where were we? Having trouble switching from offense to defense? Let’s start with the basic definitions.

DEFENSE: You are called a BLOCKER for a reason! SO BLOCK THAT JAMMER! Wall up with your teammates, dominate her out of bounds, slow her down with a plow stop, and trap her in the pack.

When? ALWAYS. The opposing jammer should ALWAYS be on your mind. If she’s on the track you’re blocking her. If she’s in the penalty box, you’re keeping an eye peeled for her reentry. Bottom line is, you are always, always, ALWAYS looking for their jammer. Consider her your personal responsibility.

Offense: Get your girl out of the pack. Block the blocker(s) on her. Break up walls. Take out the biggest threats. Whip and push your jammer though the pack and do it FAST! You are Link and she is Princess Zelda. Go save the fucking day.

When? When you don’t have an opposing jammer to block. Their jammer goes to the box- immediately switch to offense. Their jammer breaks free from the pack- immediately switch to offense. Immediately! And even when you’re helping your jammer- you ARE thinking about that opposing jammer. Because you are ALWAYS responsible for the opposing jammer.

The reason we have to focus so much on defense is that defense is the best offense in town. The longer you keep the opposing jammer in the pack, the more likely your jammer is to get lead. And statistically speaking the more times your jammer gets lead, the more likely you are to win. That’s because getting lead jammer means controlling the jam, it means controlling the point spread, and therefore it means winning the bout more often. So no matter what I’m about to say; your number one priority is ALWAYS to block the opposing jammer. Still a little confused?

Introducing: The Five Second Rule

The rule is, when the opposing jammer leaves the pack: You have five seconds to get your jammer through the pack.

Seems simple huh? But five seconds is more like an instant when you’re in a jam. So, let’s break it down.

You have been relentless, but something happened and the opposing jammer broke free from the pack. From that second, that “OH-SHIT-SHE-GOT-AWAY!”-moment, that’s when you start counting.

Five…Four…Three…Two…One…and back to BLOCKING THAT JAMMER!

Five. Find your Jammer

Four. Who is holding her hostage?



One. FORGET THEM! Where is the opposing jammer?

Still confused? Just remember, as a blocker you have only two options- either hurt their jammer, or help your jammer. The most important point here is that you should be doing WORK 100% of the time.

If you’re still uncomfortable in a pack, stick to defense. If you’re getting more comfortable try using the five second rule to switch back and forth from defense to offense. Before you know it you’re a work horse and that’s the best kind of horse to be.