Hi Reddit! I am Nadia Kean, also known by my derby name, Smarty Pants. I skate for USA Roller Derby and my home team, Texas Roller Girls. When I am not skating for my teams, I travel around the world teaching roller derby clinics and work on my clothing line, Strong Athletic. Ask me anything!

Hey Reddit! That was fun, thank you so much for joining. I wasn't able to get to all the questions, but I enjoyed getting to talk to y'all and answer the questions that did come in. Maybe I'll do another one, but until then, keep it real and keep on killing it at derby! Bye!

My Proof: https://goo.gl/cov7a5

Comments: 218 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

BagelTrollop14 karma

Hey Smarty Pants! LOVED watching you skate the All Star Game at NEDC 2016!

Do you have any advice for how to mentally deal with facing skaters that are much, much more advanced in skills? I played a mashup scrimmage this past Sunday between our league's A and B travel teams recently and while my fellow B Team blockers were pumped at the opportunity to play with and against our own Lake Effect Furies, as a B Team Jammer, I felt nothing but fear and anxiety, which led me to be pretty down on myself before, during and after. How do I turn these experiences into positives?

SmartyPantsRD17 karma

Hey! You skate with Buffalo!

You're going to be an underdog so often that you really need to go into games thinking about yourself and your team rather than the competition. It sounds like you shut yourself down before the game even started! I'm lucky enough to play some of the best skaters in the world, so many skaters that I compete against are so talented, that if I hyper focused on their talent I'd never step on the track! I'd recommend that you go into every practice and every game expecting it to be hard, so that you're not surprised when it is hard.

SmartyPantsRD12 karma

Another thing to keep in mind, is that I bet you wouldn't be that excited about roller derby if it were super simple. So, when you're playing if it's super easy, that doesn't really give you that much of a challenge, does it? But when it's hard, then you're actually getting the very thing out of it that you wanted when you joined the sport.

BagelTrollop6 karma

I DO skate with Buffalo! Queen City Roller Girls love you. :)

You're right that I was pretty shut down before it started (work, mid-season burnout, the thought of skating against people like Bricks Hit House, yadda yadda). I'll definitely start looking to and thinking about my teammates and how badass they are going forward. It took a long time on Sunday to take the mental step back from my own anxiety. I realized I wasn't going to get anywhere pushing, so I started using some (legal) tricksy shit to draw penalties on people. If you can't outgun, best to outwit, I suppose.

You're right - it needs to be hard if I'm going to get anywhere doing this thing that I love. Thank you. <3 <3

SmartyPantsRD14 karma

I was jamming at practice the other day, and i was thinking, "oh god, I have to jam until I get out of this massive pack?!?" but I didn't stop moving my feet and then before I knew it I was out and I was lead. I have a friend, Olivia Shootin John. She is one of the smartest players in roller derby. She can block and she can jam, she's a double threat. When she jams it is insane. It's as if the pack is a locked door, and on the other side is a room and in the room is a tiger and her two children, and she has to get through the locked door to save her kids. When she jams, it's as if nothing else matters. She just goes and goes and goes and goes and goes until she's out. I admire that about her, and I try to do that every time I jam. Good luck to you this season!

imhereforthemeta13 karma

Hey Smarty! One of your TXRD babies here!

So you started not just on the banked track, but with a banked track league that heavily favors entertainment, crazy costumes, fighting, etc. Now of course, you play at a high level of derby that resembles most modern sports in structure. You are a rare example of a skater who has seen derby from every level.

My questions are:

1- Do you believe there is room for "entertainment"/costumes/penalty wheels/all of that in modern roller derby of any kind?

2- Do you believe that it's possible for leagues that value entertainment as part of their sport to be competitive?

3- Generally, how do you feel about these two worlds and how they interact with each other? Should they be interacting more, or is it time for old school derby to die out? Where do you see derby in 20 years in that regard?

Thank you so much for chatting with us today! You are a very lovely person!

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

Hey Jane! You're not a baby! But I will answer your question.

SmartyPantsRD4 karma

I'd also recommend you read the reply below about anything I'm embarrassed about, because I talk about bank track and fights and the early days.

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

I need to think about how I want to answer your question, so I'll get back to it, I promise.

BagelTrollop12 karma

These questions come from my coach/derby-mom and derby-wife respectively.

  • What are some of your favorite books/resources that have helped you with training?


  • What are the most effective off-skates training regimes, in your opinion? Do you differentiate off-skates workouts between blockers and jammers?

SmartyPantsRD12 karma

I love reading books to help with derby!

Mind Gym is especially great. The Power of Habit. The Optimism Bias. Forward.

I also listen to Pod Casts and really enjoy the Hidden Brain, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris Show, Ted Radio Hour.

Pilates has changed my life. PILATES HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. PILATES HAS CHANGED MY LIFE (not typo, simply emphasis) It's one of the best things I've done for my body and brain in sports. Do Mat Pilates before you do the reformer. Learn how to use your own body to create strength.

When I'm jamming, I like to run a lot. I try to trail run mostly and I use the tread mill at the gym during workouts. A typical jammer work-out for me is going to be: (lift lower body, upper body, abs, cardio x 3) x 3. I try to spike my heart rate up to 160+, which is really hard for me to get to.

When I practice blocking, I'd actually do a very similar routine at the gym, with one difference. Rather than sprinting in my set, I have some one push me from behind, so it basically looks like an off-skates 1. v 1 positional blocking drill. I try to improve my positional blocking skills as much as I possible can.

SmartyPantsRD8 karma

Hey thank you so much for tuning in to my Reddit AMA, I only got to a portion of the questions, but they were great and really made me think. I'm going to sign off now. I enjoyed spending the afternoon with y'all!

hzek8 karma

What is your favorite mental exercise?

SmartyPantsRD14 karma

Last year I was realizing that my brain would give out before my body. For example, in a scrimmage at the 20 minute mark I would start to make mistakes or get penalties, so I decided to do an exercise in which I'd go to the gym and do super hard-core cardio on a machine and then play Sudoku, so I had to exercise really hard and also concentrate on something else. I also do this with listening to a really intense pod-cast, my brain is one place, my body is in another.

trshtehdsh8 karma

In your experience, is there ever a time/situation (other than being injured) where you would recommend someone NOT play derby?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

Yes! Is this Trish, the Trish?

SmartyPantsRD8 karma

I think everyone should treat derby like a train ride through a beautiful and amazing country. Ride the train, enjoy the ride, but then when you see something else that is so beautiful and intriguing and it grabs your attention, it is okay to get off of the train, you can get off of a little bit and then get back on, or stay off the train forever. Derby does not have to be an all or nothing sport.

If you are the type of person to have a ton of different interests, that's totally cool and wonderful actually, just keep your team in mind and what they need. If your team needs you to be more committed than you are able to be, then just be honest with that situation and choose one. You can always go back to the other interest later.

It's usually obvious when you have a player on the team who is "over it" and typically it's best for everyone if that skater bows out until their interest is sparked again.

BridgetteBane4 karma

Smarty-Not Trish THE dish, founder of RollerCon. But she's my sister and she's great anyway. ;)

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

Trish is your sister? So cool! I wanted my sister to play derby. I had a great name for her: Ruth or Dare.

BridgetteBane3 karma

I think I've made this more confusing... Trish the Dsh, the redditor who asked this question, is my sister. Trish the Dish, founder of rollercon and Sin City Skates, is someone else who isn't my sister and I don't think on reddit either... I thought you were replying to her comment and asking if she is Trish "THE" dish, and I think by trying to clarify I've made things worse though, whoopsies.

Related though, I also want my sister to play derby too even though she refuses, even though she came up with a great name too- T-Rekt. Maybe we should make our sisters honorary players just because both those names are amazing.

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

got it and got it. and thumbs up!

stormywater368 karma

Hi Smarty! LOVED your classes at Rollercon last year and i cannot wait till May when you visit the UK!! I wanted to ask what has been your favourite of all (yes, all) of the games of Roller Derby you've participated in?

SmartyPantsRD8 karma

There was a game back in 2005 or so where my team was down every single jammer but me and so I jammed the final 5 jams to win the game. that was pretty epic. There was a Texas Rollergirls home team game in 2014 or 15 in which we were down in the final jam, and we went into the final jam with no jammer, I was the pivot, I believe we did a star pass and one the game by one point, which one us the Championship. I was in disbelief that it all actually worked. And then of course there was Champs 2013, when my team played Gotham for WFTDA Championships and at certain times in the game we were winning. That was pretty epic.

yaygalilei2 karma

we went into the final jam with no jammer, I was the pivot, I believe we did a star pass and one the game by one point

Wait...how did that work?!

yaygalilei3 karma

I think I'm just going to have to watch archive of this game. Do you remember the opposing team?

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

It was Hail Marys v. Hotrods, not sure if there is an archive, but we started with our jammer in the box, she was released passed me the star, and the rest is sweet history.

doctorhotpants3 karma

Jammer in the box, maybe?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma


jesyvondoom6 karma

Hey Smarty, another Buffalonian here with the Queen City Roller Girls Lake Effect Furies.

I'm wondering what advice you have for new and aspiring coaches looking to learn about coaching derby both on and off the track. I'm a 5 year vet and in my first year of coaching a home team. It's both exhilarating and challenging at the same time. Any books or anything that you can recommend that have helped push or inspire you? I've taken several classes from you and really love your coaching style.

Also, have you ever tried cryotherapy? Or sensory deprivation? If so, what did you think?


SmartyPantsRD8 karma

For people wanting to enhance their coaching ability, I recommend that you learn about humans. Learn how to communicate, listen and learn about various cultures. I read as much as I can about how humans think and learn. I also listen to pod casts constantly. I then use the athlete to teach me the exact way that I should coach them. Most athletes know how they want to be spoken to or coached. I'm doing a webinar series with Rule 56 that covers the basic how-to of coaching and then goes over specifics that are often over looked and under appreciated. I'll have a post up soon about how you can sign up for those.

I have never done Cryotherapy or sensory deprivation, but I do have some friends who have and they swear by it.

BridgetteBane6 karma

What's something you've done in a game you shouldn't be proud of, but totally are?

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

You mean it was embarrassing or slightly faux pas?

BridgetteBane12 karma

Like the time I hit a girl and she peed her pants... Probably shouldn't be proud of it... but I totally am.

BagelTrollop6 karma

Dude, I just peed last night at practice when helmets collided. And I peed at a game a few weeks ago. Both women were proud of themselves. Time for more kegels.

AmazonPrimal6 karma

At the beginning of scrimmages, I tend to cough and pee myself. I have no clue why. No clue why it happens every time- it's not a nerves thing. It's getting old though.

SmartyPantsRD7 karma

Do Pilates. That problem goes away. Pilates will make you a better skater, so it's two benefits in one.

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

This is boring, but I don't really have anything that I should be ashamed of that I'm not.

SmartyPantsRD14 karma

I started derby in 2003, back then you'd practice "planned plays" as much as you practiced other aspects of the sport. You'd go to a practice and one of the things you'd drill is jumping over a hurdle-like device, and you'd do that for about 30 minutes. One of my most favorite planned plays was to get in a fake fight on the rail, flip on to the announcers booth, which made an extremely loud noise, then jump back on to the track and finish the jam. This type of stuff is part of our sport's important history. It freaks a lot of people out, especially hose that do not know much about the origin of derby, but it was super hard to pull off and was simply, straight-forward fun. I'm super happy that WFTDA rules are different from the early day bank track rules, but I wouldn't take any of that back at all.

SmartyPantsRD10 karma

Also- I should note, I wouldn't ever get into real fights on the track, I was considered pretty boring actually, because a skater might try to take me down and I'd basically pull a dead possum on them and just lie there until it was over.

2donahues6 karma

Have you ever dealt with a serious injury? If so, how did you deal with the off skates time, mentally and physically? What did you do to prepare yourself to get back on skates? What was the transition period like?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I've had a few injuries. Two shoulder in juries, my right and my left, a crushed knuckle, a torn calf and a sprained ankle. I choose not to take time off of my skates for the ankle injury, which I sprained during a game against Gotham in Denver last year, and it's currently still recovering. It happened at the end of the first half and I stayed on the track, the jam ended, I rested it during half time and went back in. There are still a few things that it is sensitive to, but I've been told I can play through it. My torn calf happened 3 weeks before Playoffs in 2014 and that was extremely hard because I was very scared that my season was over. Luckily it was not that bad and I had to tape and rest it for two weeks. I wasn't allowed to practice, and my teammates were super hardcore about not letting me back on skates. I went to every practice, watched from the side lines and made a good recovery. I was super surprised when my team not only put me into the blocker rotation at Playoffs but they also had me jamming as well. Due to the rest and rehab and the great taping job by our Sports Med friend Roe, I recovered and had a great tournament.

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I'm currently rehabbing my shoulder and ankle still and I've decided that I need to call it something else besides rehab. What I mean by this, you might identify with- rehab sounds optional, almost like warm-up and cool-down sound like the optional stuff that you can do before or after the important part of the work out which is the workout.

If warm-up was called Phase 1 of the Workout, then you had Phase 2, which is the workout and then Phase 3 is cool down, skaters and athletes might be more inclined to do the super important warm-up and cool-down properly because they are considered part of the work out.

So, what I've decided to do is call my rehabbing Phase 1 of lifting, so that I do my rehab exercises and then I go into Phase 2 which is the bulk of the workout for the day. My hope is that I make the rehab more of a priority.

derbyhusband6 karma

How do you feel about co-ed derby?

SmartyPantsRD4 karma

It's great.

JennPrice1216 karma

Hi Smarty! I'm Jenn from Ann Arbor. :) I think you're one of the best pivots in the game. Do you have any advice or drills to help one become a better pivot?

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

Hey Jenn, that's a super nice thing to say, and it makes me feel very, very proud.

I consider the pivot to be one of the most important players on the track, because they can get the star moving when it's stuck.

I like to say that lead is not given to a jammer, its' given to a pack- so that puts the responsibility on 5 players to get lead, not just one. I then like to say that if you're not lead, you have two options for offense- get the jammer out or get the star out. Both are great options and both serve a purpose.

Make sure you can jam if you're a pivot, make sure that you're not so defensively minded, that you never think to pass the star, know the rules around star passes. There are soooo many good drills. To create a drill, you can start the drill at the moment in the game that you are focusing on: when the other team is lead and you need to get the star out, you can then practice that one action- passing the star against 4 defensive players that don't want it to leave the pack- over and over again. Resetting when the star gets out or it's been blocked for 30 seconds or longer. very simply, very good.

Frajer5 karma

Have you seen the movie Whip It? If so how accurate was it?

SmartyPantsRD14 karma

Of course I've seen Whip It. The team in the game was the Holy Rollers and I skated for them for about 7.5 years. The movie was extremely accurate and if you were on either TXRD or LADD at the time there were a ton of really awesome inside jokes that you could catch. If you think it's a movie about WFTDA and flattrack derby, then you will think it's a fake. However if you watch it and keep in mind that it's a movie about the origin and early days of bank track roller derby, then it's pretty accurate.

BridgetteBane6 karma

Lol she was in the team the movie's based on... didn't expect that!

SmartyPantsRD9 karma

The coach in the movie is called Sword or Knife or something and he's based off of a real person called Blade, who actually wore a golden dolphin around his neck, as did the guy in the movie.

AmazonPrimal4 karma

Fairly accurate? Source: Other derby girl.

Edit: Except so much of the contact would be considered illegal. You def can't just hit someone in the face.

Edit2: And yes- Flat track does not equal banked track derby. The stories from some of our league formers are insane- especially 10 years ago+.

SmartyPantsRD8 karma

Yeah, no hitting above the collarbone and actually recently I've been thinking we might need to lower the legal target zone to be the chest, this way a "high" block will hit the collarbone at worst, where as right now we can hit as high as the collarbone and a high block lands on the neck or face, which is dangerous.

AmazonPrimal2 karma

I support this, but it will make it hard for me as a blocker who is 6'. I'm 6'2 on skates...I'm a high block champ.

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

Thus the Reddit name? I get high blocked from people who are under 5 foot, so everyone does 'em. There was one practice where I blocked both Fifi and OJ in the nose so hard, it was awful. I have a permanent mark on my nose from where I've been hit in the face. It's no good.

Megonomix5 karma

Any advice for a small town roller derby team with very limited resources?

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

Yes! Remember, the first group of skaters who started derby back up knew so little about the sport, they only had a book that they had found at a thrift store to teach them about roller derby. That was before the internet is the resource that it is today, so think about what you have rather than what you don't have and make sure to compare your team to your team, not other teams that have been established for years and have more players, more money, etc.

If you love the sport, be intrigued by the process of learning how to play derby, retaining skaters and officiators and finding places to practice. All of that will be a struggle at times, regardless of how old your league is, where it's located, how much money you have, etc.

Take the "road-blocks" and learn from them. Love every moment of it. It's like riding a wave, sometimes you'll be higher than high, and other times you'll crash, but then you always get back to that high point again.

Slanderpanic5 karma

Hey, Smarty.

What are your biggest pet peeves regarding announcers during a bout? What are your favorite announcer behaviors?

SmartyPantsRD13 karma

Hey! I do not ever want an announcer to refer to a derby skater as a "girl". One of the reasons I started Strong Athletic was so that derby skaters who identify as women could wear the word "woman" across their chest to educate people that we are not "girls" but in fact "women". I really love to hear about strategy when watching games, the smarter the announcer sounds, the more compelled I am to listen to what they have to say. I watched one game at Div 1 Playoffs last year where the announcing was so interesting, I reached out to the announcers afterward to thank them personally.

Slanderpanic7 karma

refer to a derby skater as a "girl"

This is one of my biggest pet peeves, too. I always try to say, "woman" or "skater."

Thanks for giving the announcers some love!

SmartyPantsRD4 karma

Smart announcing is really the best! Y'all are the voice of our sport during games, so you have so much impact on what people hear, think and how they perceive the game. If the word "girl" could only be used to refer to junior derby skaters who identify as girls, that would be great!

sw3k5 karma

Any chance you'll rejoin the Holy Rollers and experience that banked track magic again? My wife would (figuratively) die to skate alongside you and mess up some Putas, Cherry Bombs, Cowgirls and Hellcats. Also, I promise I'd have an all-time great Smarty Pants boutfit ready to roll. I'm pretty sure they'd get you on the roster with a quickness.

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

That'd be so great. I loved playing for the MFHR and I'm super proud to be a Moldy Roller. I played in Jantastic this past January, and I have to admit, I believe I might have played my final bank track game. I got beat up in that tournament and I'm not certain that my body can sustain any more bank track. The last game I played with TXRD was a few years ago and it was SOOOOOOOOO MUCH FUNNNNNNNNN! I especially loved playing with my derby wife Cheap Skate and my bandmate Peachy Mean!

tinyfury8885 karma

Question from a leaguemate: Hey Smarty Pants!

You immediately became my favorite coach at North East Derby Convention last year. I've never seen someone give us that many visual cues and since then, I've become a lot more aware and reactive thanks to your workshops.

Do you had any tips for people who get anxious easily? I feel like I'm the weakest in my team, and more of a liability than someone who can truly contribute or help the team.

It's like I have a mental block, or rather a wall, before I jam or block. I feel like the team is disappointed in me when I mess up, and it becomes a vicious circle of mental failure that I can't seem to reset.

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

I answered a similar question earlier. Every person brings something different to a team. You are important and you bring something to your team and your league. I bet you didn't join derby to feel anxious and unhappy. Why did you join derby? Why are you putting yourself on someone else's timeline or agenda? If you stop focusing on others and instead you focus on yourself you might have a better experience. Remember, it's impossible to have more than one thought at a time, so if you're on the track thinking about how you're the weakest link, you can't possibly be thinking about the game. Be present, be in the moment and when you start to have those limiting and toxic thoughts, you might need to literally tell yourself to "shut up". It's not a nice thing to say to anyone, but the thoughts that you're having about yourself are really not nice at all either and they need to stop.

I understand where you're coming from. I hope you're able to tackle these issues. Roller derby is for everyone, even the least skilled player on the team. Also, there really is no such thing as the least skilled player on a team, everyone brings something.

AugrayTheSorn5 karma

The braced wall (by the way, thanks for that) changed the way defense is played in derby. What will be the next groundbreaking change to the game?

And on a non-derby subject: If derby didn't exist and skill/experience/time/location weren't limiting factors, what would you most want to do as an occupation?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I think we'll go back to using a lot of strategies that were used in 2007-2011, but they will be played at a higher level. If I had the time, I'd watch all the Champs games starting from the first one and see how the strategy was changing, I'd then use that information to help fix some strategic issues I've been thinking about, and to forecast what is coming up next. If anyone has the time to do this, please send me the highlights.

I started off in this world as a musician. I'm a songwriter, singer and I play the guitar. I have a telecaster that is one of my most prized items. I'd go back to playing music again, it's been on the back burner due to the derbs.

I'm very interested in how people learn, and specifically how we treat humans who are considered to have learning deficiencies or disabilities. I'd like to continue to work in education and with coaches to further our knowledge and ability to help people have equal access to learning. Both in the classroom and especially in sports.

stiricide4 karma

How do you get yourself in the right headspace for a big game?

Who is your favourite Muppet?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I used to do visuals of the game, but sometimes those over excite me and then I'm creating adrenaline when I don't need to be.

Sometimes I'll watch footage of a game I played with Texas, in which I thought I played pretty well, I then imagine myself doing that against said team.

If I'm in a really bad headspace, I then might watch footage of another team playing pretty well, and I imagine that I'm on the winning team- I just mentally paste my face onto another skater's. If I can, I'll find footage of the team I'm about to play, and only watch jams in which they lose.

I love Ernie and Burt. My gf and I want to be them for Halloween.

misse3104 karma

What team or player do you want to play against who you haven't gotten to yet?

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

I want to have the chance to block and jam against Bricktator, Erin Jackson, Shortcut, Luna, Demons, Slinky, Master Blaster, Wilhelm, Whips, Bonnie, Licker and Brick Yard as much as possible. Those jammers are some of the best in the sport and I'd be so lucky if I got to practice with and against them as much as possible. (I already get to play with and against Texie jammers every week, so no need to put them on my wish list).

My team just got to play Team Mexico and it was a great experience because of they way that they attacked our defense with their offense, I'd love to have the opportunity to play them again soon.

When I was at Euro Derby Con I got to play with and against a ton of skaters in Europe I don't get a chance to play in the US, I'm really looking forward to having the chance to play those skaters again.

I want to play against Minnesota, Angel, VRDL because they have some of the strongest walls in the sport. I'd like to go back in time and play in the VRDL v. ACDG Playoffs game last year because it was one of the best games of the year. I'd play for either team.

If I could go back in time, I'd replay a jam in the Texas v. London final game at Playoffs last year in Montreal, in which my team was having penalty problems and I was the only blocker to stay on the track the whole time, I'd see what I could do to change the 30+ points London got during that jam. I think I was on to some good ideas during that jam, but they didn't materialize when I needed them to.

I could go on actually, but I need to get to other questions.

Rubickk2 karma

That London v. Texas jam was a soul crush for sure.

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

You've seen it? I was pretty mortified by it, but then I watched it again and realized that I did what I was meant to do strategically, so what can you do? 1 v. 5 is a pretty hard predicament to be in.

Rubickk3 karma

Girl, you were amazing. There is nothing to be mortified about; just frustration over team penalties. I remember how tight the game was and the loss of momentum from that jam. I know the feeling of realizing you're the only blocker out there and it's not a fun one.

I've been a hardcore Texas fan since I started getting into derby. Every year you guys get stronger, and last year was the best yet. I know the team had what it takes to beat London (and Rose and Gotham and VRDL), and I was probably almost as disappointed as you guys may have been in the outcome. I can't wait to see the team at the Big O this year - I remember how you kept it so close against VRDL this time last year. I'm SO HYPED for T2K3!

SmartyPantsRD2 karma


AdoraSkater4 karma

Hi Smarty! I have had the pleasure of being in your classes at Northeast Derby Convention and learned so much from you! My question is, how have you kept yourself in shape to be able to play for so many years and avoid injuries? Derby is such a tough sport on the body, especially for jammers! How have you been able to play for so long? I was only able to play for 4 years (almost solely jamming) before I felt my body wasn't able to take it anymore and I retired.

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

I came in to the sport at 21, how old were you when you started?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I don't think I really thought about it. I've only been to the doctor for a few injuries, so it's basically been rest when something feels bad, go back in when I feel healthy. I focus a lot on strength training and I've always cross trained. For my shoulder injuries, I was told that they would have been much worse if it hadn't been for all the rowing that I did. When my back was at its worst I started Pilates, and then that helped me rehab and stay so much stronger, which has also helped to keep me in the game.

Perhaps it's a perspective thing: maybe our bodies feel the same, but I just take it as additional information, rather than an indicator to stop? We should check in with each other in a decade and see if we're both still walking! :)

ski_hye4 karma

Smarty! Loved your classes at NEDC the last few years. What are your favorite derby off-season activities to help stay in shape?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I love to run, do pilates, bike, row, play capoeira, work in the yard and walk. Last off season I fit in skiing which was so fun and I also did a boxing session which was epic. I'll basically try anything, so if you have a recommendation, let me know what it is.

ski_hye1 karma

If you liked skiing, definitely try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing if you get the chance! Tried both this past winter - they were fun and gave a great workout.

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

I've done both, they are awesome! We don't have a lot of snow in Texas, where I'm based. When I'm in Vancouver with my partner we play in the snow a lot. Luludemon of Pivotstar and I once went cross country skiing, but it was negative 17, so we turned back. We were sooooooo coooooooold.

queenfool4 karma

Hi Smarty Pants!

Do you have any advice for other skaters who both block and jam regularly, either in terms of how to train to be versatile, or in how to switch your mindset between different roles?

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

Yeah, do both. Try not to over think it. Know that you're spending 50% of your time doing each role, so don't be frustrated if you don't progress as quick as your friends who only practice one. Make sure you Pivot, and get super good at it.

Pm_me_some_dessert3 karma

Hello, thank you for doing this! I have been skating for about a year and find myself struggling with staying upright on the line after an initial hit from a jammer. I'm not sure if I need work on my plows or something else. Any advice?

Also...will I ever stop bruised so damned much?! ;)

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

Think about it: you're on skates, and someone hits you. Holding your spot, should be a bit hard. Sometimes I lose my spot too and I'm experienced! Practice holding your spot off skates, have someone hit you how they would on and work on balance and strength from that perspective. Then try it on skates and repeat. I coach a lot of classes on strength and power in derby, you can find videos on line and I recommend that you check out the recently released video that I did with Camp Elite.

BridgetteBane3 karma

As a player, I think current WFTDA rules are a good challenge... but I do think it can be a little boring to watch if you don't have an intimate knowledge of the rule. What do you think would help make games more fun for a more generic audience?

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

I love our game. There are indeed some things I'd changed, but for the most part it's awesome! What other game has both teams scoring at the same time? You can go from 10 people on the track to 3?

Modifications are necessary and will come with time. But for now the WFTDA rule set is my favorite, that's why I play under it. :)

apley3 karma

Hey Smarty Pants! Thanks for doing This! What's your advice on getting the newer skaters up to par as quick as possible (mentally or physically)? And what's your favorite pack formation for blockers?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

I love any pack formation that is adaptable. I'll use a flat wall, a braced wall, a 2 person, 3 person, 4 person, they're all great actually.

Sometimes you can't speed newer skaters up, they're just going to have to take as long as everyone else does. Try to remember that they are all individuals so they will all learn at their own pace. Make sure that you're watching the indicators that they are giving you regarding if they are learning or not. If they are not progressing as quickly as their peers, they are telling you that they don't understand something. Try to work with individuals to correct mistakes and look for misunderstandings with information. When I first started I skated as much as possible and I also worked out when not at derby. Off skates training will go a long way.

DRDderbywidow3 karma

Hi Smarty, My wife is one of your biggest fans but is stuck at work with no reddit access.... She would like to know if you need a personal assistant? because she could shadow you for a year or two so she could "learn all the derby things !!! "

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

I need about 10 personal assistants, so the answer is yes. But what I need help with is not at all exciting, it involves sitting behind a computer and making all the fun stuff possible!

Hannthrax3 karma

Hi Smarty! I've been fortunate enough to skate derby in the same city as you for my entire 6+ years of skating, but there are still so many more things to learn!

  1. What steps did you take to move from the role of a "trainer" into the role of a "coach?"
  2. With so many years of teaching under your belt, do you have a way that you organize drills in case you're looking for something specific?
  3. What were your derby goals when you decided to move from banked track to flat track?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

Hey Hannthrax!

I moved into the role of coach the moment that the concepts I was telling skaters were my own, rather than someone else's. I think that a trainer can lead a practice, but they are not teaching. A coach also leads practices, but they are teaching and developing while they do it. I do have drills organized, but so many of them are in my head and it's very common for me to create a drill on the fly when working with teams. My concept of a drill is when you take a scenario, decide if you like or dislike what is happening in the scenarios and then you practice the outcome or what should have been the outcome. My last season of banked was 2010, I was going to retire. I really wanted to try flat track before retiring, but I was not sure if I'd be able to. I asked my friend Curvette if I could skate with her team, the Texies, and they decided to let me know, so I started playing flat in 2011. I loved bank track, but you can think of it as going to school. You start in middle school, you go to high school, then college, then.... I played banked for 7.5 awesome years! I was ready for a different version of the sport, so I tried flat. I compared derby to being on a train earlier, sometimes you've got to know when it's your stop, your time to get off.

DecksHerMorgan3 karma

Hi Smarty! LOVED your classes at Rollercon! You're my blocker inspiration. My favorite tip was the pretend brace. Do you have any tips for mindfulness during bouts? There's so much to remember :)

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

I am so happy you like the pretend brace idea- that's one of my favorite concepts to coach.

Mindfulness during bouts came easier to me when I stopped taking life and derby for granted. I realized that I was under appreciating all that derby offered to me and that I really needed to appreciate the whole experience more. When in games, I try to really focus on being in the game. The good, the bad, all of it. I do my best to live in the moment and realize that it could all go away at any given time.

Gratitude has gone a very long way for me. Thank you for asking.

BridgetteBane3 karma

Wait what's a pretend brace?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

it's when you push into something that isn't there to wake up your muscles so that they stabilize and brace you as if something were there.

KingofPho3 karma

Hi, Smarty Pants! Thanks doing this!

My sister did derby up until she was 12 (now 14). She was small, but she played with a lot of girls 5 years older, a foot taller, and ~70 pounds heavier than her, and she still made great contributions to the pack, even though her size made her a better jammer. She had to stop because our place was moved to somewhere much less convenient for us.

Now in high school, she hasn't grown much bigger, and she has two years of rust. If she were to try to get back into derby, how difficult would the path be to get back into it? What would she need to relearn and/or practice? Also is there something in Los Angeles that I can't just look up that you could hint us on?

Thanks again!!!

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

Hey! Tell your sister to play derby again. There are so many skaters of all sizes. One of my favorites is Shortstop of Gotham, she is not massive but she is one of the best jammers in the sport. One of Texas' best blockers was Shortcut, she was also just about 5 feet, but was one of our most skilled blockers. Pollygone, another super talented and not massive player. So tell your sister to start up again. Also, there is so much derby in the LA area. Go to derbylisting.com and find derby leagues both adult and juniors all around.

Thanks for asking!

CommandoRoll3 karma

Hi Smarty! Thanks for doing this AMA. Do you have any suggestions on how to help build a winning mindset in a team as a coach? I'm coaching a B team this season & we scrimmage against our league's A team every week. While my team always tries their hardest, I know they feel resigned to their fate of not getting lead very often, not being able to catch & stop opposing jammers & not always being able to counter the A team's offense. During our first game of the year, our opponents came out very strong & we struggled to claw back their lead.

I'm concerned that my team is so used to getting soundly beaten every week in scrimmage, that when they were down by a significant points margin early in that game that they lost some of their mental resolve. This is my first season a coach so any ideas on how to help shape the way the team thinks about themselves & their ability to win would be great. Thanks!

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

I've been reading about motivation lately and one of the key things I've learned about is how humans are motivated differently and you need to motivate to their preference. Basically, the concept is that you will have some risk takes and have some conservative people and you will coach them all. The way that they want to win will vary, so if you try to encourage them in only one way, to have a winning mindset, you might miss out on half the team's form of motivation. I can't think of the book's name, but when I'm at my home office next, I'll post it on my FB page.

Athena_Latina3 karma

Hi Smarty!

What would you consider your favorite thing to eat on a game day? And for tournaments, do you have favorite snacks/routines you like to do?

Thanks! :)

SmartyPantsRD4 karma

I will always wake up and drink a coffee with half and half first thing in the morning. I like to eat a massive breakfast before a game, but then eat apples, nuts, peanut butter as well. A lot of the Texies like to have apples on the bench while we play, so sometimes that gets hard telling everyones apples apart.

AmazonPrimal3 karma

Did you ever have to correct bad form when learning how to skate? If so- how? Anything off skates? I'm consistently duck kneed and skate on my outside edges- but for the life of me, no matter if I think i'm on my inside edges... I'm not. :( :( :(

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

Hey- I don't know what duck needed looks like, but if you want you can tag me in a short video of yourself skating and I'll take a look at your skating style. I've learned a lot recently about how we should stand on our feet and how that translates into the muscles that you use, or should use. I taught myself how to skate as a kid, so I got to bypass learning as an adult, which has its pros and cons.

When someone tells me that I'm making mistakes on my skates I take it very seriously. Not many people critique me, but it's usually members of the Texies. Once I get over myself, and try to really look at what they are recommending, I usually take the correction head-on. Sometimes the correct form does not show up for a few months or a few years. So, it can take time.

coryrenton2 karma

what's the weirdest injuries that are common but not often known for derby skaters?

SmartyPantsRD1 karma

No idea actually!

DariaMorgandorfer2 karma

Do you feel trash talking on the track is douchey?

SmartyPantsRD6 karma

I don't ever notice it to be honest. On the few occasions I have, I haven't really cared too much. We're athletes with emotions. Some people hit with their bodies, others with words. We're all adults, so I'd like to think that as long as it's not hateful, there are already too many things that are governed by the sport, listening to what every single skater says, is a bit too much. Finally, there is an expectation for women to be "nice and polite". I think monitoring what we say is sort of asking us to "stay in our place", "don't make a scene" and be what others want us to be. Again, I don't do it and I don't hear it and I don't really care about it either. When trash talk starts to become offensive, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., then it needs to stop, but i'd say the same goes for on the street, derby unrelated.

myravolt2 karma

Hello! What resources can you recommend (or general suggestions can you make) for a brand new league that is working to train our own scrimmage eligible skaters (the first we've had)?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

Read any thing that Punchie O' Guts has written, she's so smart and especially gives great recommendations on new skaters! Take your time and develop your own timeline, don't go by anyone else's. Learn how to skate and learn the game at the same time. There is so much that you can learn off-skates. Go to clinics! I'm not sure where you're located, but there are tons of clinics run by ton of talented coaches and they have great drills and info to get you started.

BabyBetty2 karma

Hey Smarty. It's Kier from Jersey. I recently aged up to adults and I feel like the majority of my team, though knowing me forever, does not think that I know my shit. They never want my input when we are in discussion and they ignore me, but then someone will bring up exactly what I said and they will talk about how smart that was. Do you have any tips?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

Hey Kier! Yeah, here are some tips: don't be surprised by what's happening, it happens a lot. It's intimidating to play with someone that is not only smart but also young, so it might just be something that you have to deal with right now, but in time it might be resolved as you've been on the team longer. RD can sometimes have an unfortunate hierarchy that is hard to crack, so instead of trying to tackle it, just focus on playing and dob't be surprised when that happens. I'm sorry that it is happening, it can be the worst, I've experienced that too.

heyricochet2 karma

Hey Smarty! Not sure if this has already been asked but what is your opinion on the slow pack game that has emerged since skating backwards was allowed?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

I love all derby. I love when the game is slow, when it's fast. I love how the rules and strategy drives how a game is going to be played. Bring it ALL on, I want to play it!

RollinPolanski2 karma

Hellarad fan or nah?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

Long live Hellarad. I remember reading over the final issue at Rollercon, and learning all the reasons Hellarad was hanging up their skates. One of my favorite signs ever held during a game was in the hands of a Bay Area fan, it read, "I hope you both lose". You've got to laugh at things, it's easier than letting them make you mad.

Realsmitty2 karma

Sgt.Sugarbush here, ex mascot for the Gnarlies Angels in Rossland. My question is how are you today?

SmartyPantsRD1 karma

I'm very good Sgt Sugarbush! Just trying to wrap it up so I can hang with a former Gnarlies Angels skater. :)

TitanYoung2 karma

Hi Smarty Pants! Alaska skater here, and a huge fan. I'm going to move away from derby questions for the moment:

If you were to name one piece of clothing that describes you, what would you say?

What was the best thing that happened to you this past week?

If you could be an animal for one day, what would you be and why?

SmartyPantsRD3 karma

hoodie I went on an amazing trail run in the mountains in the snow, with a beautiful dog and a very strong woman I'd love to be a blue whale.

What about you? What's your favorite t-shirt? Do you think flossing every day is important? Do you eat/ drink gluten?

misse3102 karma

What advice would you give a skater who has mostly blocked for years being asked to be a spot jammer.... How do you switch from blocker brain to jammer brain mid game?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

Don't over think it. Just do it. If you're being asked, it means you're good at it.

MiaKougar2 karma

Hey Smarty !! How do you keep from popping up and do you have any plow stop or pivot tricks?

SmartyPantsRD5 karma

Hey! I think about it constantly actually. The muscles that control your hips- your hip flexors, and the muscles that control your knees are so important for you to strengthen, because when you're blocking in a positional stance you need to be able to stay in your stance, rather than pop-up as you mentioned. There are a ton of exercises I do for muscle engagement. One is to be in a squatted position and have someone put weight on your hips and you push against it. Then you do the opposite and they try to pull you up from a squatted position and you try to hold a squat. You can hold a squatted position and have someone try to back block you and you resist changing your stance. There are so many good ones! I hope this helps!

Yenifa2 karma

Hey Smarty, I loved your classes when you come to colombia. I have a little question, what do think are the best roller skates?

SmartyPantsRD1 karma

I miss Colombia! I love Antiks!

BridgetteBane1 karma

What are your favorite travelling traditions? What are your must-haveS?

SmartyPantsRD2 karma

I travel with a stovetop espresso maker. I try to run in every city I go to. I try to only travel with a red messenger bag that I got in NYC in June 2004. No matter where I go or for how long I travel, I try to fit everything in the bag. I love to travel by the way, and it's one of my favorite parts of the job.