Speed, agility, endurance strength – these are all key concepts to becoming a powerful Jammer. Being able to acquire these tools doesn’t just come from on skates training, but the off skates too. When I first started out as a junior roller derby player, it was extremely easy for me to have these tools right away. I started playing when I was 15, 5’7”, and 140lbs. I outweighed everyone, I was taller than just about everyone, and the sports I played in school made it really easy for me to overpower just about everyone.
It wasn’t until I started playing with an adult scrimmage team named TFR that I realized, I wasn’t the biggest, the tallest, the strongest or even the fastest out there. I needed to adapt. I started out by looking at other well-known jammers I associated my jamming style with. I felt like I was a lot like Micki Krimmel from Angel City and Freight Train from Texas, because they were just such power houses. I had always felt like I used my power/strength to my advantage, but strength and power only got me so far.
I eventually moved out to California from Texas, and joined Angel City. This is where I really started to fully understand what being a D1 jammer looked and felt like. I was skating next to people like Satan’s Little Helper, Laci Knight, Tui Lyon etc. During my first few months here, I felt extremely defeated. I was not, by far, the strongest, the fastest, the most agile, nor could I adapt to their style of playing. I just felt like a failure. I realized at this point, if this was something I truly wanted to succeed at, I had to change something. I looked at all the women I skate with and realized the biggest difference was they all worked out outside of derby.
I hired a friend to personal train me, and help teach me what it meant to be a competitive athlete. I learned I wasn’t feeding myself the nutrition I needed to be able to perform to my fullest. I wasn’t strength training or even running to give me endurance and power I needed to be an unstoppable jammer. I started out slow with all these changes. I worked out twice a week and would try and run short distances every morning. I started carrying around healthy snacks to prevent myself from feeling hungry and wanting to take the easy way out by turning to fast food. I gradually started working out more and slowly didn’t crave junk food anymore. I could really feel the difference in how I felt on the daily and my overall performance at derby was just sky rocketing. Soon enough, I was working out just about every day, meal prepping, and increasing my daily water intake. I had never felt better or more confident. It really showed in my skating and when I tried out for Angel City’s travel team they accepted me.
For the first time, a few weeks ago, I played my first D1 games, at playoffs in Seattle. It was the very thing I had been working so hard and pushed myself for. All the changes I had made, and the time I committed to this sport, were starting to pay off in all the ways I had hoped. Now, I know I’m far from perfect, and have a lot to work on, but I finally feel like I am doing something right.
Hi! I’m Pearl Jam #512, and I skate for Angel City Derby. I started out skating for Texas Junior Roller Derby in Austin, Texas, at the age of 15. This is where I found my love for derby. I then quit TXJRD to join a scrimmage League in San Antonio, Texas, called Heart of Texas Skaters. At this point in my life, I dropped out of school and ran away from home. I then put a hold on Derby and went on a 3 month cross-country bicycle trip. I went from Jackson Ville, Florida, back to Vidor, Texas. When I got home, I didn’t want to go all the way across the country, so instead, got my life together and picked up roller derby again. When I turned 18, I joined an Austin league called Team Free Radicals. During this time, I had gotten an apartment, bought my first car, and enrolled myself back into school to finish it. When I got my diploma, I desperately wanted to get out of Texas. I looked around at all the derby leagues and decided Angel City was the one for me.
I packed up my car and headed west. Joining Angel City helped me discover my passion for fitness and health. Right now, I’m doing group training sessions at our derby warehouse to teach people (who are like me) about strength training and working out outside of derby. The sessions are called Above the Line Athletics and can be found on Facebook. I often write individual or team/group workouts to help people achieve their goals. Feel free to join my Facebook group, where anyone can post videos, ask questions, and help each other grow to become the best athletes we can be.