Minimum Skills Requirements from the Perspective of a Prospective Skater

Okay, first off, I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT TO ADD Derby + Diapers to the blogroll, since hers was one of the several blogs I found all at once which inspired me to revamp/add to the sidebar links. This atrocity is now fixed.

Now! Like I said last week, there are new minimum skills requirements from WFTDA. Cherri Blaster of Diary of a Rollergirl weighed in, and so did Booty Quake over at Derbylife, and both of them are accomplished skaters. I am SO NOT. So, here’s what I think of them.

My thoughts are mostly simple, because I’m only cleared for sections 1-3 (what our league considers to be first or beginner level skater skills. Level 2 skaters are cleared to practice pack skills, blocking, and checking, but have not passed their MSRs, and level 3 skaters have passed the MSRs and may be drafted to teams. I am glad that ALL the sections have more detail (though I don’t think my lateral hops were 18 inches wide anyway, argh!) We always did the one-knee falls as knee taps anyway, so it’s no big change for me, and I’m not worried about the increase in speed requirements. Our league’s safety test already required transitions, so I knew I’d have to do them, and skating backwards. But skating backwards while doing crossovers terrifies me (I still can’t skate backwards at all, unless I’m coasting backward.) For the most part, though, a lot of these changes aren’t changes for me (not doing baseball slides is ACES, though I think 4 point falls should have stayed in) so I mostly think this change isn’t so bad at all. I know Denver requires their skaters to do 25-in-3 rather than the former 25-in-5, so 27-in-5 is sort of a bare minimum thing, as I was always planning to work up to 25-in-3. Honestly, my reaction is mostly pride in my league, that we already asked a lot of this of our skaters. (Transitions are SO important in derby, they should have been on the MSRs ages ago.)

Side by side comparison of old and new MSRs below

Old MSR New MSR
Basic Skating Skills 1.1 Skating posture
1.1.1 Bends at knees and hips with shoulders back.
1.1.2 Swing arms fluidly
1.1 Skating posture
1.1.1 Bends at knees and hips with shoulders back.
1.1.2 Demonstrates stability, with center of gravity down and forward.
1.1.3 Demonstrates ability to skate low with bent, flexible knees.
1.2 Stride
1.2.1 Uses steady, confident, fluid strides.
1.2.2 Uses both feet to push forward on straightaways.
1.2 Stride
1.2.1 Uses steady, confident, fluid strides.
1.2.2 Uses both feet to push forward on straightaways.
1.2.3 Shifts weight completely from foot to foot without stumbling.
1.3 Crossovers
1.3.1 Performs smooth crossovers while skating at a brisk pace going into and out of turns.
1.3.2 Uses both feet to push during crossovers.
1.3 Crossovers
1.3.1 Performs smooth crossovers while skating straightaways and track turns.
1.3.2 Uses both feet to push during crossovers.
1.3.3 Performs reverse crossovers, crossing over the right foot to the outside of the track.
1.4 Speed and endurance
1.4.1 Skates 25 laps around regulation track within five minutes.
1.4 Speed and endurance
1.4.1 Skates at least 27 laps around regulation track within five minutes.
1.4.2 Accelerates from a standstill to complete one lap within 13 seconds.
1.5 Stops
Skater must come to a complete stop from a brisk pace within 4 seconds, using proper form and without
losing balance.
1.5.1 T-stop
1.5.2 Plow stop
1.5 Stops
Skater must come to a complete stop from a brisk pace within 4 seconds, using proper form and without
losing balance.
1.5.1 T-stop
1.5.1.1 Balancing weight on one leg, other foot is turned at a 90 degree angle so the
heel or arch of the turned foot is aligned with the heel of the other foot.
1.5.1.2 Maintaining balance on one leg, applies smooth pressure with the turned foot
using the two outside wheels, the two front wheels or all four wheels (does not
use only the two inside wheels).
1.5.2 Plow stop
1.5.2.1 Turns one or both feet so toes are pointing in and heels are pointing out.
1.5.2.2 Upon completion of stop, feet are in a position that would allow resumed
skating (feet are not spread so wide apart skater must adjust stance before
resuming skating).
1.6 Other skating skills
1.6.1 Performs one-foot glides with each foot for the length of the track turn and
straightaway with good balance.
1.6.1.1 In low stance with one foot completely off the floor, able to balance weight over
the other foot for at least 5 seconds.
1.6.1.2 Maintains speed sufficient to complete glide and does not flail limbs.
1.6.2 Propels self while keeping all eight wheels on the floor.
1.6.3 Moves easily and fluidly from one side of the track to the other.
1.6.3.1 Performs smooth, quick lateral cuts, crossing the track at least four times on
each straightaway and at least three times on each track turn.
1.6 Other skating skills
1.6.1 Performs one-foot glides with each foot for the length of the track turn and
straightaway with good balance.
1.6.1.1 In low stance with one foot completely off the floor, able to balance weight over
the other foot for at least 5 seconds.
1.6.1.2 Maintains speed sufficient to complete glide and does not flail limbs.
1.6.2 Propels self while keeping all eight wheels on the floor.
1.6.3 Moves easily and fluidly from one side of the track to the other.
1.6.3.1 Performs smooth, quick lateral cuts, crossing the track at least four times on
each straightaway and at least three times on each track turn.
1.6.4 Backwards skating within track boundaries.
1.6.4.1 Maintains moderate pace skating backward around the entire track
Falls/Recovery Tactics Skater must perform the following falls safely, correctly and naturally.
2.1 Single knee falls
2.1.1 Left
2.1.2 Right
2.2 Double knee falls
2.2.1 Skater is able to return to active skating within 2 seconds
2.3 figure 4/Baseball Slide
2.3.1 Both legs stay on or near the ground during the fall
2.3.2 Skater is able to return to active skating within 3 seconds
2.4 180 degree turn single knee fall
2.4.1 Exhibits control to complete the fall in exact opposite direction
2.4.2 Skater is able to return to active skating within 2 seconds
2.5 Four point fall
2.5.1 Hands are kept in front of the body, fingers closed in fists
2.5.2 Skater is able to return to active skating within 2 seconds
Skater must perform the following falls safely, correctly and naturally. Skaters must be able to slide into
knee contact with the floor, rather than crashing onto pads. Slides should be performed from a brisk
pace without using hands or flailing arms. Recovery to a normal skating pace should be smooth and
immediate, unless noted otherwise.
2.1 Knee taps
2.1.1 Left
2.1.2 Right© 2013 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) WFTDA Minimum Skills Requirements Page 4
2.1.3 Performs each knee tap without coming to a complete stop.
2.1.4 Taps a single knee without breaking normal skating stride.
2.1.5 Recovers from knee tap without using hands to get up.
2.1.6 Performs two consecutive single knee taps in stride, with low recovery.
2.2 Double knee slides
2.2.1 Knees do not make contact with ground at exact same time.
2.2.2 Returns to active skating within three seconds.
2.2.3 Recovers without using hands to get up.
2.2.4 Momentum used to initiate the slide is continued into the recovery to normal skating
motion.
Balance and Agility Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks without losing balance or
falling.
3.1 Standing and stepping from a standstill
3.1.1 Forward and backward.
3.1.2 Side to side in both directions.
3.2 Squatting
Squatters achieve a 90-120 degree angle at the knee during each squat. Feet and knees are hip width or wider. Eyes looking forward, chest is out and back is flat.
3.2.1 Squats and coasts through the entire straightaway and turn
3.2.2 Squats and propels self on straightaways and around turns
3.3 Hopping
3.3.1 Hops over an object at least 3 inches in height without touching the
object or losing balance, while skating at a moderate pace.
3.3.1.1 Skaters feet must leave the ground simultaneously, then land simultaneously
3.3.2 Hops from one foot to the other while moving forward
3.4 Focus
3.4.1 Comfortably looks left, right, and behind quickly and unexpectedly while maintaining
regular skating stride at a moderate pace.
3.5 Weaving
3.5.1 Maneuvers through 10 cones placed 6 feet apart, covering both straightaways and turns
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks without losing balance, stumbling or
falling.
3.1 Standing and stepping from a standstill, maintaining control of wheels (not rolling)
3.1.1 Forward and backward.
3.1.2 Side to side in both directions.
3.1.3 Grapevine (first foot side steps, second foot steps across and in front of first foot, first
foot side steps, second foot steps behind and crosses first foot) to both the right and
left.
3.1.4 Shuffle (first foot side steps, second foot steps to meet first foot without crossing first
foot, first foot immediately side steps in a hopping motion) to both the right and left.
3.1.5 Quick steps (both feet rapidly alternate in small steps, only one foot is on the ground at
a time) in place and to the right and left.
3.1.6 Ability to balance on each foot from a stationary position at least 30 seconds.
3.2 Hopping
3.2.1 Hops over an object at least 6 inches (15 centimeters) in height without touching the
object or losing balance, while skating at a moderate pace.
3.2.2 Jumps with both feet simultaneously, but does not have to land with both feet
simultaneously.
3.2.3 Hops laterally at least 18 inches (45.5 centimeters) from a brisk forward speed.© 2013 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) WFTDA Minimum Skills Requirements Page 5
3.3 Focus
3.3.1 Comfortably looks left, right, and behind quickly and unexpectedly while maintaining
regular skating stride at a moderate pace.
3.4 Weaving
3.4.1 Maneuvers through 10 cones, each no more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) apart (not to
exceed 50 feet or 15 meters), placed through the straightaways and track turns, in less
than 6 seconds
3.4.2 Weaves comfortably and briskly through a moderately moving pack of skaters without
focusing on their own feet
3.5 Transitions
3.5.1 Turns 180 degrees without breaking stride, maintaining a moderate pace
3.5.1.1 Turns clockwise and counterclockwise from front to back
3.5.1.2 Turns clockwise and counterclockwise from back to front
3.5.2 Turns 360 degrees without breaking stride, from a moderate pace. Using two 180
degree turns in a row, without breaking stride, is acceptable.
Skating with Others/Pack Skills and Interactions Skaters must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills legally and safely while skating at a moderate pace.
4.1 Whips
4.1.1 Giving whips.
4.1.1.1 Giving an inside whip
4.1.1.2 Giving outside whip
4.1.2 Receiving whips
4.1.2.1 Receiving inside whip
4.1.2.2 Receiving outside whip
4.1.3 Hip whips
4.1.3.1 Giving hip whips
4.1.3.2 Receiving hip whips
4.2 Pushes
4.2.1 Giving pushes
4.2.2 Receiving pushes
4.3 Pacing
4.3.1 Adjusts to the variable speeds (decrease/increase) of a pace line while maintaining an
arms-length distance from other skaters without falling, tripping, overtaking or running
into another skater.
4.4 Weaving around moving obstacles
4.4.1 Demonstrates weaving through a single-file line of skaters, each an arm’s length apart.
4.5 Unexpected obstacles
4.5.1 Skating within a pack of at least four other skaters who fall in front of skater at various unexpected times. Skater must deal with fallen skaters by avoiding or safely falling without hurting oneself or the fallen skater, and without causing unnecessary hazard for any of the pack skaters
4.6 Leaning
4.6.1 Skates while leaning shoulder to shoulder with another skater while maintaining an upright position an d propulsion without tripping, falling, or becoming unsteady
4.7 Bumping
4.7.1 Maintains or recovers balance, without falling, while being bumped into and having wheels bumped by other skaters
Skaters must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills legally, safely, and without losing
balance, stumbling, or falling, while skating at a moderate pace.
4.1 Whips
4.1.1 Giving and receiving arm whips.
4.1.1.1 Giving an inside whip, the initiating skater holds their right arm against their
body, providing a hand as a “handle” for the receiver to grab and pull. The
initiator does not attempt to pull from the shoulder. The initiator may use the
left hand to push the receiving skater.
4.1.1.2 Giving outside whip, the initiating skater positions body with one foot extended
in front of the other, and extends right arm to receiver. The receiving skater
grasps the initiator’s hand with their own right hand. The initiator of the whip,
using core abdominal muscles, not the shoulder muscles, pulls the receiver,
transferring momentum to the skater being whipped.
4.1.2 Taking and providing hip, belt and clothing whips.
4.1.2.1 Consistently demonstrates the ability, judgment and timing to take a whip off
another skater’s body or clothing without pulling the other skater off balance.
4.1.2.2 Consistently demonstrates the stability to provide hip and clothing whips
without getting pulled off balance.© 2013 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) WFTDA Minimum Skills Requirements Page 6
4.2 Pushes
4.2.1 Giving pushes
4.2.1.1 Pushes receiving skater near receiver’s center of gravity (hips or buttocks) with
ample force to provide noticeable change in receiving skater’s direction of
momentum.
4.2.1.2 Pushes are centered and even (does not turn receiving skater’s hips).
4.2.1.3 Pushes are parallel to the floor (does not push up, causing the receiver to be
pushed off their feet, or down, causing the receiver to be pushed to the floor).
4.2.1.4 Maintains form and balance before, during and after pushing receiving skater.
4.2.2 Receiving pushes
4.2.2.1 Uses momentum provided from a forward push to accelerate and begins skating
within two seconds of push.
4.2.2.2 Maintains form and balance while receiving push forward, to left and/or right.
4.3 Pacing
4.3.1 Adjusts to the variable speeds (decrease/increase) of a pace line while maintaining an
arms-length distance from other skaters without falling, tripping, overtaking or running
into another skater.
4.4 Weaving around moving obstacles
4.4.1 Demonstrates weaving through a single-file line of skaters, each an arm’s length apart,
at a moderate pace.
4.5 Unexpected obstacles
4.5.1 Testing all skaters in a pack of 4-10 moving at a moderate pace. All skaters demonstrate
the ability to perform safe knee taps and slides at unexpected times in the pack. Pack
skaters must avoid the downed skater(s) without going out of bounds, falling over them
or causing unnecessary hazard.
4.5.2 Demonstrates the ability to recover balance after bumping skates or locking wheels with
another skater.
Blocking Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills without fouling other skaters while
skating at a moderate pace.
5.1 Taking hits
5.1.1 Responds safely to repeated heavy blocks without flailing or grabbing other skaters. If
the hit knocks the skater off balance, they fall safely, without sprawling, and
demonstrate an ability to recover within 2 to 4 seconds. © 2013 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) WFTDA Minimum Skills Requirements Page 7
5.1.2 Demonstrates the above in a pack situation, without causing an unnecessary hazard for
pack skaters.
5.2 Positional blocking and leaning (aka frontal blocking or stall blocking)
5.2.1 Performs contact with good posture and without loss of balance.
5.2.2 Demonstrates ability to lean and push on an opponent with legal blocking zones to legal
target zones while moving at moderate pack speed.
5.2.3 Demonstrate ability to plow stop in a pack without tripping other skaters in the pack.
5.2.4 Demonstrate ability to use a plow stop to slow another skater.
5.2.4.1 Must be no more than 2 feet (0.5 meters) in front of other skater.
5.2.4.2 Other skater must have demonstrated decrease in pace due to blocking skater’s
positioning and/or contact.
5.3 Checks
5.3.1 Demonstrates the ability to perform repetitive hip and body checks delivered with legal
blocking zones to legal target zones with moderate to heavy force while skating at a
brisk pace.
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills without fouling other skaters while
skating at a moderate pace.
5.1 Taking hits
5.1.1 Responds safely (without flailing or grabbing other skaters, if falling, she falls safely, accurately, and small, without sprawling unnecessarily, and with 2 to 4 second recoveries) to repeated heavy hip checks and shoulder checks
5.1.2 Demonstrates the above in a pack situation, without causing an unnecessary hazard for
pack skaters.
5.2 Positional blocking/frontal blocking/stall blocking
5.2.1 Performs contact with good posture and without loss of balance or focus
5.3 Checks
Performs checks with legal body parts delivered within legal blocking zones with moderate to heavy force while skating at a brisk pace
5.3.1 Hip checks
5.3.1.1 Left hip
5.3.1.2 Right hip
5.3.2 Shoulder checks
5.3.2.1 Left shoulder
5.3.2.2 Right shoulder
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2 Comments

Filed under derby, skating

2 responses to “Minimum Skills Requirements from the Perspective of a Prospective Skater

  1. Thank you for the shout out, Miss. And this is by FAR the most comprehensive comparison of the min-skills-reqs yet! Thanks for this.

    • 😀 it took FOREVER because my copy of the old requirements wouldn’t let me cut and paste! I’m glad the wording is essentially the same, I ended up pasting the new ones twice and then editing down, but some stuff I just had to type out.

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