ANYONE can play Roller Derby but Roller Derby is not for EVERYONE

So you have discovered Roller Derby. You are excited, full of energy and have a lot to learn. Most leagues have a program for those new to roller derby to teach new skaters the WFDTA minimum skills. But you have just learned about roller derby and, depending on the league’s structure, you may have to wait for the next session of their “freshmeat” to begin.  

Check Facebook and/or email the league recruitment to find out about their process for incoming skaters (bootcamp/clinic/try-outs) and ask for advice/recommendations on gear. You may want to go out a buy and get a pair of really great skates- DON’T!!! Buy some starter skates (starting price is usually $100-150). They are basic. More expensive the skates have better components- many the plates. These will be more responsive to the shifting of your weight and will require greater control. While you are learning minimum skills you want your feet to be in control of your skates not your skates in control of you.  When you feel confident skating that is when you can start dreaming of new skates.  The most inexpensive way to upgrade starter skates is to replace the bushings or cushions with medium. This will make a huge difference and make weaving easier on your ankles.

Ask other skater on the league what kind of wheels they recommend. Every floor surface is different and certain wheels will be more suited. Surface + how much you weigh + skating confidence = what wheels will work best for you. If you want to work on skating skills outside look at outdoor wheels (78-84a)

DO NOT CHEAP OUT ON KNEE PADS! Take care of your knees. Ice them after practice even if they do not hurt. When you are new you will fall and practice falling more than other skaters. Find out if there are requirements on knee pads. Some league it does not matter but some require white caps. You want to know before you speed $70 on knee pads.

As you wait there are a few things you can do to give you a leg up that do not require any gear.

  1. CORE: work on strengthening your core. I’m not talking about doing crunches and/or sit-up every day. Find exercises to work your lats and lower back (side plank dips and super-mans are great but also planks which has a variety ways to hold) which crunches and sit-ups do not work. The strength of your core will affect your balance and your ability to absorb contact (hitting, pushing/driving, etc) and not fall
  2. BALANCE: all movement in derby can be broken down to shifting of your weight from one side to the other. Stride, crossovers, weaving, stopping, hitting, transitions are all fundamentally shifting weight. Work on balancing on one (1) leg. Aim for 30 seconds or more. Once that feels easy start balancing on one (1) leg with your eyes closed. Simplest way to practice this is when you are brushing your teeth or waiting for the microwave.  Apart from that practice standing with two (2) feet on the ground shifting your weight so that you are standing with your weight on the outside edge of your feet, the inside and then inside on one and outside on the other. Being actively aware of where your weight is an important skill to have and will make learning new skills that much easier throughout your derby career
  3. HIPS: Derby requires skaters to learn to open and close their hips. There are many ways to ways to open your hips. Simple stretches are frog (nicked named “dirty derby” sometimes) on the ground or standing with your feet wide and turned out as far as comfortable and lowering yourself down flat surface (front is against the surface. If you are feeling stress in your knees you are not turning from your hips. Lay in your back in the same position, letting the weight of your legs to open your hips.  Closing your hips is important for stopping (the many variations of plowing). Do a wall squat with feet pointed forward and hip width apart. Lift one leg. Keeping your weight on your grounding foot place the lifted leg down, leg straight, and foot turned in. DO NOT TRANSFER YOUR WEIGHT TO THIS LEG. Add pressure to the forward leg. You should feel yourself being pushed into the wall. Practice this on each side. The lower the squat the more this will help you later when you are no skates. Lower is always more stable…and if you fall there is less distance to fall.
  4. ARMS: Strategies used in playing roller derby changes and strong arms have increasingly become more important. Pushups (elbows out wide and elbows tucked in to your sides, triceps dips (on a bench or on ground-crap) and bear crawls (walking forward and backwards on your hands and feet). There are other that require weights if you want to go that way. 

There are routines that can be found online- videos and diagrams. If you are a yoga person- do sun salutations as slowly as you can hold each position for at least 10 seconds (lowering from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana as slowly as you can) and all the different warrior poses working up to 30-60 seconds. Roller Derby Athletics is another resource.  On my Bughouse blog I posted a 8 minute routine you can do when you get up (great way to start the day- patting yourself on the back for doing something) years ago. 

For more information on joining visit PRG University and mail
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Bughouse Cuckoo #67

Obstacourse: How we got our groove back in the off-season

Here we are entering the New Year, the time for taking stock of our lives and making resolutions for the year ahead. We think about what we can do to become the best versions of ourselves and how we can live life to the fullest. I feel that often adding a new workout regimen or joining a gym is part of these plans. 

The Peninsula Roller Girls took an early step towards said fitness goals by entering our off-season with Coach Keith & the rest of the crew at Obstacourse Gym in Redwood City. Coach Keith has been kicking our booties twice a week, making us stronger and helping us gain endurance through weekly off-skates workouts at Obstacourse. The changes are noticeable - both on the track and IRL.

“Be Positive. Have Fun. Challenge Yourself.” Those three sentences may well be some of the first answers derby a player would give when asked why they join the sport. They also happen to be Obstacourse's motto. The partnership with Obstacourse came at the best possible time for the league. We feel extremely fortunate to have met Keith and Candice during one of the hardest times in recent PRG memory and that they have welcomed us into their community with open arms. 

So what is Obstacourse? In short its a obstacourse style gym where you can train to be a Spartan, Ninja Warrior, or more recently, a Derby Skater. If you're not reach to tackle the course on your own quite yet they also have group workouts that are sweaty, intense, and most importantly, FUN. They offer Zumba classes too! Check out their website here.

The challenging and playful aspect that an Obstacle Course adds to what might otherwise be a boring, run-of-the-mill workout reminds us a lot like of the type of fun we have playing derby. And the circuit training we do as a league is a great way to build camaraderie and push both individual skaters and the league as a whole. For you data nuts out there, this stat says it all: PRG averages 40 high fives given during an Obstacourse workout. True story.

Obstacles are for kids too! Obstacourse has also welcomed our junior derby team and they're loving it. My own kids (who are junior derby skaters) ask to go every Saturday. One of the best parts as a busy derby mom is that you can drop the kids off! A two hour Obstacourse session for the kids means a peaceful dinner for me. 

All of this awesomeness will translate to a really great derby season in 2018 - with skaters who are in really good shape and able to do cool stuff. We can’t wait for our first scrimmage and bout of the year to show off how much stronger we've become. And if you're in Redwood City on a Monday night and want to work out with some derby girls, swing by Obstacourse for their 7pm class <3.

-Pax Punches

The Peninsula Roller Girls <3 the City of Millbrae

TLDR; The Peninsula Roller Girls are bringing roller derby to Millbrae and we couldn’t be more excited!

As many of you know, the Peninsula Roller Girls lost our home of 6 years – the Redwood Roller Rink – this September, just before our final bout of the season. We’ve been fortunate to have found love and support from some of the local businesses in Redwood City (we’re lookin’ at you, ObstaCourse and SportsHouse!), but we’ve been having trouble finding the right space to use as our permanent venue for on-skates practices.

Two nights ago, the league attended the Millbrae Parks and Recreation Council meeting, to speak to them about the possibility of using the isolated single tennis court on Lincoln Circle. We got the opportunity to witness local governance in action – and it was AMAZING! 

From the moment we met them, it was clear that Millbrae’s Parks and Recreation council cares deeply about the community it serves. Since the loss of the Millbrae Community Center to a terrible fire in 2016, the council has been looking for ways to continue offering recreational opportunities to community members, with reduced facilities.

As many of you are aware, PRG has a thriving junior derby program, in addition to our boot camps, and adult league. We believe strongly in the power of roller skates to bring together people of all ages for learning, growth, empowerment, and – most importantly – fun. We saw a strong match with the Parks & Rec Council’s goals and we’re overjoyed that they felt the same. 

We’re beginning our relationship with the community of Millbrae on a trial basis. PRG will start by taking steps to light and soundproof the tennis courts in a way that will allow us to practice without disturbing the neighborhood. We will then hold practices there for the month of January, before returning to reevaluate the partnership with the Parks & Rec Council.

We can’t iterate enough how grateful we are to Millbrae’s Parks & Rec Council for giving us the chance to show them how derby can bring a community together. And if you’ve been on the fence about trying it out, maybe because Redwood City was a touch too far away, now is the perfect opportunity to get involved!.


We’ll leave you with a few words from our skaters:

Perhaps Leslie Knope taught me to romanticize local governance and sisterhood in Parks & Rec-related activities, but when Julie Turner closed her motion with “Roll On!” I knew we’d found a great community to call home. It was exciting to watch local governance in action - and to watch our juniors watch local governance in action - and when they said yes I really felt like I was part of something special. Thanks Millbrae!
— Killer Time
This was a very special night for everyone, but a few of us seasoned vets got emotional. A new home, a new chapter, and an opportunity to keep this incredible league going strong. We’re excited about our new community!
— Sheracuda 
I’m quite literally thrilled at our hopeful future as a part of the Millbrae community! As we discussed the pilot program during the meeting, it was evident that the council has the best interests of Millbrae at heart—and that they believe in Peninsula Roller Girls’ potential as a positive influence. I’m so thankful that PRG has been given this opportunity, and look forward to our league collaborating with the City of Millbrae to creating an empowering space for the community!
— Betty Gesserit
It was amazing to see the PRG family come out in force to represent our league. It was a physical representation of how much roller derby means us, and the community we can bring to Millbrae. I’m very much looking forward to this partnership with the Millbrae community!
— Captain Painway

A letter to our fans...

A letter to our fans...

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that our home, Redwood Roller Rink, is shutting its doors on September 30th, 2017. We would like to thank Jim and Suzie for all their hard work to keep the rink open all these years. We especially would like to thank Suzie for keeping up Jim’s legacy through the rink after his passing.

Though this is sad news, PRG is just getting started. As a group of strong, confident, and passionate skaters, we will find a new place to call home. That being said, we are looking for leads in a new space! Please email any ideas you might have to

Who are we!? PRG!!

So you want to watch some roller derby...

Welcome, friends and family of derby skaters, refs, NSOs, and fans! We put together this FAQ for anyone who wants to come to their first bout, but also wants to know what the frick is happening (don't worry; we've all been there).

 Photo by M. F. Shick

Photo by M. F. Shick

Q: What is Roller Derby??

A: Roller derby is a full contact sport, rostered by a diverse group of people of all ages, shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, and genders. Its all about expressing individuality and finding your inner strengths!

Q: That sounds awesome! but what are the rules? How is it played?

A: Each team fields the track with up to 5 players - 4 blockers and 1 jammer. The goal is to get your jammer through the pack of blockers and stop the other jammer from scoring points. For every person on the other team that the jammer passes, they score 1 point. Here is a Roller Derby 101 Video if you're more of a visual learner.

Q: OMG I'm in! How much does it cost?

A: YAY! Depends on when you'd like to enter the rink and if you want to pre-purchase your tickets online or wait until the day of...

  • Kids Ticket (ages 7-12): $6 online / $8 at the door
  • GA Ticket (7:00 entry): $10 online / $12 at the door
  • VIP Ticket (6:30 entry): $15 online / $17 at the door

Q: Great! Where are your bouts?

A: Most of our home bouts are at Redwood Roller Rink, a super retro roller rink located at 1303 Main Street in Redwood City, nestled between the dog park and a car wash.


Q: What time should I arrive?

A: As of our 2017 season, our doors open for VIP entry at 6:30. VIP is a few dollars more and gives you an opportunity to stake out a good spot to watch from! If you don't want to splurge on VIP entry the GA doors open at 7:00. The bout starts at 8:00pm. 

Q: What should I bring?

A: Things to bring:

  • A good attitude
  • Some face paint
  • Some rally gear
  • Some cash if you want to buy raffle tickets
  • Your ID if you want to drink

If you need a place to sit you can bring a beach/tailgating/camping chair or get to the bout early enough that you can snag one of the foldout chairs or a spot on the bleachers. Some of the best views are actually in standing sections, though, so don't stress about seating. 

Q: Is there food/alcohol?

A: Hell yes! Beer, wine and and snacks for purchase inside the rink. We also have a food truck parked outside if you want something more substantial! Oh, Kara's Cupcakes slings her sweet #nomz-worthy desserts in the rink as well. No outside food (except from the food truck) will be allowed in the rink.

Q: Do you have team colors?

A: The Psychopathogens are olive green and red. Damas De Los Muertos are teal and black. Check out the roster, pick your favorite derby player and dress accordingly <3.

 Photo by David P Discher

Photo by David P Discher

 Photo by David P Discher

Photo by David P Discher

Q: Oh no! I have nothing to wear in my favorite team's colors!!!

A: Chill, we've got you covered! Swing by our awesome merch table and pick up some swag <3

Q: How do you come up with your alter-ego derby names?

A: Every player has their own unique story... feel free to ask them about it after the game if you're curious!

Q: Is there a lot of violence?

A: Its actually less "violent" than it is "aggressive". Its def a full contact sport. Players--including your favorite derby player--will be hit off the track. They will have the wind knocked out of them. They will come away from the bout with bruises. But no one is punching each other in the face or doing anything unsportsmanlike. But don't worry--we are stronger and tougher than we think we are. 

Q: What are we doing after?

We like how you think, friend! There is a Peninsula Roller Girls after party right across the street at Main + Elm. Everyone is welcome to join!

Ready to become a derby fan? Check out our full schedule here! Have additional questions you need answered to feel prepped and ready to attend your first bout? Ask them in the comments below!

PRG Goes To Colorado! (With Your Help)

Think Colorado is a pretty cool place? Well, it's about to get even cooler as the Peninsula Roller Girls travel team, Slam Andreas, travels to Greeley, CO for the 2nd Annual Brandies Tournament on May 6th and 7th, hosted by the Slaughterhouse Derby Girls. We will be playing West Texas Roller Derby on Saturday at 3 PM, Slaughterhouse Derby Girls on Saturday at 6:30 PM, and Castle Rock  'n' Rollers on Sunday at 12 PM on the aptly named "Kill Floor". 

According to WFTDA, Castle Rock is ranked 310, West Texas and Slaughterhouse sit right next to each other at 280 and 279 respectively, and, after an impressive jump of 36 places, PRG sits at our all time highest ranking, 238. This rise in the rankings comes after three seasons of hard work as a WFTDA member league under the careful guidance of Coach Brigid Fitch. In other words: we've been stepping our game way, way up. 

This will be Slam Andreas' second tournament of the 2017 season, following the Dustbowl Invitational in Bakersfield, California, where we skated against Central Coast Roller Derby, ranked 267, and Charlotte Roller Girls, ranked 163.

Following the Dustbowl, Slam Andreas has identified key areas of improvement and have been working hard with Coach Fitch to grow as a team. We're ready to bring the pain. And have fun, too, of course. But also, kick ass. 

To help raise funds for the trip, PRG is selling a t-shirt/tank top, available here. The shirt features beautiful artwork by Slam Andreas skater Betty Gesserit. The phrase it bears, "Strength, Unity, Focus," comes directly from a mantra by skater Reapercussion, which Slam Andreas has adopted as perhaps the zen-est team cheer you've ever heard.

And we're not the only ones who think the shirt is awesome; CustomInk chose it as their Ink of the Week for the last week of April. The beauty can be yours for just $25, to have and to hold from approximately 3 weeks from now forward. 

So whether it's buying the Booster shirt, hauling your butt over to Colorado to cheer us on, or simply sending words of encouragement via any of the social medias (or your mouth), we hope for and appreciate your continued support of PRG as we work our way to the metaphorical top! Go Slam Andreas!

PRG Has A Blog!

That’s right PRG friends, family, and skaters! Peninsula Roller Girls—everyone’s favorite derby league this side of Redwood City—has a blog.  We’ll be writing on a variety of your favorite topics here for your viewing pleasure. For example: game day make up. Do you know how to do it? Find out the best color combos and smear proof makeup brands to last you all four quarters! Also: gear. Wheels, trucks, boots, plates, and what the hell is a bushing? Also also: bruises. What’s up with those?

Okay, you get it… We’ll be covering a lot of stuff. We’ll be getting into the nitty gritty of nutrition, recovering from hard hits, and the all-important task of foam rolling. From videos to infographics and everything in between, PRG’s blog will be a hub for all things derby. You heard us. All. Things. Derby.

PRG is going into its 7th year as a league (whoa, how’d that happen so fast?) and we are ready to kick butt and answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear at our bouts, during practices, or whenever we’re walking down the street in our sweet swag. Have a question about derby or our league? Ask it in the comment box below.  We’ll do our best to answer questions in a timely manner and with a pithy quip or two.

Oh, and we more than encourage you to get involved. Are you a fan with a strong opinion on what it’s like to watch roller derby these days? Are you a family member with thoughts on the experience of having a loved one entangled in derby? Are you a retired skater looking for a place to pontificate on life after derby? Reach out and let us know. We’d be happy to feature you on the blog!

Who are we? PRG! All of us.