Well, it's that time again.
Off season is finished and the derby break is over. It’s time to get roller derby ready.
But before you hit the track you need to get organised and check over everything in the ol' skate bag.
Here's a few things to do and stuff to check over before you hit the track.
For your safety, and the safety of others.
1. Wash your padding
Did you wash all your gear at the end of your last training for the year?
Or did you just throw it in your skate bag and hope for the best, leaving it to marinate for a good four to six weeks? Be honest now.
If you just opened your skate bag and your face crumpled with the stench, if you cannot safely rest your wrist guard on your nose and not shudder, then it's time. Oh, it is time.
Wash. Your. Gear.
A gentle hand wash is best for most derby gear, then dry in the sun.
2. Scrub that mouth guard
When is the last time you gave your mouth guard a good scrub?
I know that thing lives in your sweaty bra sometimes and that you often drop it on the floor and don't rinse it.
I also know that it is full of bacteria and old food particles.
Brush those germs away by giving your mouth guard a bit of a scrub with your toothbrush and toothpaste.
It will not only clean your mouth guard but leave it tasting minty fresh for your next training.
3. Check your equipment
You can't just skate on your skates, week after week, month after month, year after year and not check them over, replace the bits that need replacing and clean the bits that need cleaning.
Your skates are not self cleaning/healing! The only one responsible for maintaining them is YOU.
Your skates have lots of moving parts and they probably cost you a pretty penny. Just like your car you need to maintain them and service them (like, several times a year).
Some of the parts you need to check are:
- Cushions/bushings: Replace these annually. The urethane over time becomes hard and less responsive making it harder for you to turn on your skates. It’s like bouncing on a trampoline with rusty springs.
- Pivot cups: Best practice is to inspect them every year and replace as needed. If they're looking worn or thin or if they have disintegrated then you better get some new ones.
- Toe stops: Do they have enough meat on them? Rotate them, grease them, switch them from right to left foot to get more time out of them. Always make sure that the toe stop is held into the plate by 1cm or more of the stem. Less that this can cause plate issues such as cross threading.
- Bearings: when you spin your wheels do they roll consistently without too much noise? Inspect them, clean them and don’t forget to lube them.
- Laces: Make sure they are not hanging by a thread and one session away from snapping.
- Insert/insole: Is the insert of your skate all crushed and crusty? Over time they can wear down to a very hard and thin little wafer. If you want more cushion for the pushin it might be time to throw them away and invest in some new ones.
- Wheels: Switch out your summer outdoor rolls and put your indoor wheels on. Check them over to make sure they're not too worn or coned. If you've had the same ones on since 1962 it might be time for new wheels.
- Wheel nuts: If your wheel nuts keep loosening on their own and coming off or if you have never replaced them ever - it's probably time to replace them.
- Plate: If you've had your skates for a while now you should check to make sure your plate hasn't come loose. Over time, and with all the apex jumps you've been doing the mounting bolts can come loose. It's very easy to tighten them all up. Take out the insert covering the bolts, hold them from the inside of the boot (using a screwdriver or allen key) and tighten the mounting bolts with a spanner. If you check your plate and you think there are wobbly bits that shouldn't be wobbling, take them to your local skate shop for advice and help.
4. Pay your insurance
Most leagues have an annual insurance fee. Without it you can’t train. Get it sorted.
5. Set some goals
What do you want to get out of derby this year? And what do you need to do to achieve that goal? What did you achieve last year?
Short term goals for what you want to happen this month and longer term goals for derby with help you to focus.
By setting realistic goals it will also give you something to strive towards.
Now get out there and skate your little heart out!