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NPT Roller derby

Last day of the learn to skate.  Roller Disco and skate awards then off to the pub.  Sad to see the end but will see some at Roller Derby training next wed :)

Last day of the learn to skate.  Roller Disco and skate awards then off to the pub.  Sad to see the end but will see some at Roller Derby training next wed :)

Learning to skate course - My experience by Holly Aspey


After my first session learning to roller skate I had never been so sweaty and out of breath yet with such a big smile on my face… except maybe in the bedroom..!!!

I was sat at my desk four weeks ago at my 9-5 job thinking to myself ‘there must be more to life than this’ when, as though reading my mind, Neath Port Talbot Roller Derby sneaked up on my work’s Twitter feed advertising their ‘learn to skate 10 week course.’ I was instantly sold - convinced it was some sort of sign!

The girls in the team cover photo looked cool and friendly; tattooed and smiling. I knew I needed a drastic change to snap me out of my ground hog day daily routine and maybe this was exactly what I had been searching for!

It was only until I was sat in the roller skating hall with 10 other terrified newbies; strapped from head to toe in safety wear and skates attached to my feet raising me inches off the ground, that I realized what I was doing… ‘what have you gotten yourself into now?’

It was all well and good trying to look cool in front of my friends, telling them I’d joined a roller derby team, but now I’d actually have to stand up on these skates and move around on them which probably wouldn’t look so cool!!

I’m renowned for my awful balance; falling over on nights out, tipping coffee over customers in my waitressing days, not being able to turn left on a push bike without falling off and just generally tripping up over my own feet. What on earth was I doing?

As I was pondering all this, a lovely girl from the team took my hand and slowly but surely we made our way around the track. I couldn’t believe I was a natural; if I could skate when I fall over casually walking down a street then I’m sure this could be a sport for anyone!!

As the lessons went on I was skating on my own, learning how to fall and stop and different styles of skating! I think the best thing about learning to skate is how easily you pick it up. In only a few hours you can really see your progression.

It gives me a huge sense of fulfillment knowing that I can skate and now instead of just telling my friends I’ve joined a roller skating team I can actually show them or even teach them a thing or two myself - and it’s only week four! I highly recommend taking up roller skating to anyone looking for an exciting new change in their lives!

The team are enthusiastic with a genuine passion for the sport which is really inspiring for us learners. Usually after a day in work the last thing I’d be thinking about is participating in physical exercise but I can’t wait to get my skates on and break a sweat!

I’m so happy I’ve started roller skating it’s a huge positive change in my life that is hopefully a permanent one. For now it’s just a bit of fun for me but who knows, I’ve heard they might be making roller derby into an Olympic sport!!

https://www.facebook.com/NPTRD

contact@nptrollerderby.co.uk

www.nptrollerderby.co.uk

 

Learn to skate week 1

The last month we have been out on mass spreading the word about our learn to skate course. After a lot of effort we awaited anxiously “how many will turn up? do we have enough gear?” were the thoughts running through our head. 

To our amazement we were fine 10 turned up and yes we had enough gear, phew. We started off getting everyone used to their skates you could see some fearful faces as they either tried skating for the first time or was the first time in a long time. We then stretched and everyone introduced themselves. 

We mainly went over balance and stance everyone was surprised how they could balance on one foot which give them the confidence that they were all able to get the basics of skating down. We then went over falls so everyone got used to falling forwards instead of on their bums, there was some dubious faces as we asked them to fall to their knees but after that the fear factor of skating got smaller and people who were holding on to my hand at the start of the session were skating along on their own by the end of it.

Was a great session and we have a lovely bunch of people who are all fabulous.  Next week onto stops!

Learn to skate week 1

The last month we have been out on mass spreading the word about our learn to skate course. After a lot of effort we awaited anxiously “how many will turn up? do we have enough gear?” were the thoughts running through our head. 

To our amazement we were fine 10 turned up and yes we had enough gear, phew. We started off getting everyone used to their skates you could see some fearful faces as they either tried skating for the first time or was the first time in a long time. We then stretched and everyone introduced themselves. 

We mainly went over balance and stance everyone was surprised how they could balance on one foot which give them the confidence that they were all able to get the basics of skating down. We then went over falls so everyone got used to falling forwards instead of on their bums, there was some dubious faces as we asked them to fall to their knees but after that the fear factor of skating got smaller and people who were holding on to my hand at the start of the session were skating along on their own by the end of it.

Was a great session and we have a lovely bunch of people who are all fabulous. Next week onto stops!

Sunday will be our last advanced Sunday session so we will be opening it as a open skate for all levels 18+, advanced sessions will now be mondays 7-9 old min skills passed starting 8th July. We will be having scrimmages once a month on a Sunday 10:30 - 12:30 any teams interested please get in contact.

Brilliant piece about Roller Derby in Wales great to see the Sport broadcasted and getting coverage in Wales :)

Come to our fundraising Karaoke night next Thursday, come sing along with NPT.

https://www.facebook.com/events/172298386272294/

Come to our fundraising Karaoke night next Thursday, come sing along with NPT.

https://www.facebook.com/events/172298386272294/

Hot one in training last night, had to escape outside at the end to get fresh air

Hot one in training last night, had to escape outside at the end to get fresh air

Jones NPT Experience a Referees story

So……., Sundays, the memories of a misspent youth of dreaming of Rock stardom, and Formula 1 of course, after all, Formula 1 is what Sundays are for right? I used to skateboard on half pipes when I was a kid, for quite a number of years the deck and trucks were attached to my feet, well, apart from when I was playing music, or watching F1. One Sunday, my then girlfriend (now wife) must have been slightly not as into F1 as I thought to my dismay, and decided on the advice of one of her oldest friends who found some random flyer in a random pub, to disappear for the morning (and leave me in peace to watch the grand prix). A few hours later, slightly smelly, slightly sweaty, and with a beaming smile on her face, in she wandered to tell me about the fun she had on skates for a few hours. If I had known then where this would lead………………

After a few weeks of peaceful F1 time, lots of random youtube videos, and talk of nothing but skating, she convinced me to skate up. Now, understand, I’d never been on skates, apart from those adjustable yellow and blue Fisher Price ones when I was like 4? So my first choice was to buy the Rule book, and see what this was all about. A couple of weeks later, another friend of hers had a pair of old Bauer blades for sale, so the inevitable occurs. I have 8 wheels! So along I go (on a non F1 Sunday I might add).

The rules aren’t that difficult to follow, although those early days of having no-one to show me the ropes was quite daunting. Not quite sure what I’m looking for, not quite sure exactly what’s going on, then the team we were in had a couple of guests down from Cardiff for a scrim. I was appalling during this scrim, but Jon, a ref from the other team helped me out to muddle through, and really boosted my confidence at the end helping me understand bits and bobs. So now armed with the rule book, and a little understanding, there was no turning back.

I soon got bored of blades, and got my first pair of quad skates. Cheap and cheerful as they were, I fell in love! For the first time in a decade, I had trucks under my feet again. the ease and maneuverability was immense. Took me no time at all to get used to them, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not the best skater in the world, but I can do enough on quads for me to get on with refereeing without having to think about what I’m doing on them.

Next came our first public bout as spectators. Tiger Bay Brawlers v’s Bristol Harbour Harlots. I noticed it was easier to watch the refs when they weren’t on the internet. Head Ref, Skatan from Glasgow, and on the outside Pack, a very tall chap called Chaz Tizer who did a cool walking backward impression of a robot! the game was immense, and I knew then I needed some stripes! Right after the bout, I went down trackside, and as soon as the Derby girls had all done their high 5’s, I went and introduced myself to the aforementioned refs saying “Hi, I’m Joe, I want to be a ref too!” A couple of Facebook add’s later, and I had two friends on my list who were more than happy to answer any and all the questions I had.

After a little while, my girlfriend gets invited up to the Brawlers for their birthday bout, this started a friendship which has given me some of the greatest experiences of my Refereeing career. Soon I was going up and helping with scrims, and Chaz became my unofficial mentor. Between him and Hazel (my wife) they have nurtured my knowledge and understanding of the game, and the rules.

Eventually, Haze and I decided to start our own team in our hometown, NPTRD was born! Yes we’ve started from scratch, but we have gained respect, and with our NPT friends, built up a reputation as one of the friendliest teams in Roller Derby. Although I’m not reffing much for the team, and I’m even moving toward Bench Managing, I still get the call from other teams now and again to help out. The experiences I’ve had within Roller Derby have been some of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my career. I’ve Jammer refed, and OPR’d possibly some of the toughest games I ever will, and although sometimes I’ve felt completely down about my performance, I’ve revelled in the opportunity and education I’ve had.

So, now I’m head ref for NPT, I’ve head refed my first bout this year (not that I wouldn’t have before, I just love Jammer reffing), and I’m teaching and debating the rules with one of the nicest chaps I’ve ever met, Dan of Iniquity, my protege! All we need now, is to recruit a few more refs, and the girls of NPT can gain the benefits of constantly being whistled at! Come on, get your Zebra on! Join Team Zebra!

 

Interested in becoming in a referee and/or want to learn to skate sign up to our 10 week learn to skate course

Get your tickets here image

www.nptrollerderby.co.uk/learntoskate

www.facebook.com/NPTRD

@NPTRollerDerby

Hazel Hemlock’s NPT Experience

Hi I’m Hazel Hemlock, head coach and founder of NPT Roller Derby. I have been skating since I was about three when my sister who was nine at the time strapped some uncomfortable metal adjustable skates on me and taught me how to skate round our front garden and I loved it even though they hurt. I then had my first pair of skates when I was 5 years old, they were white high ankle boots and were not like derby skates at all!

My childhood ambitions were either to be a bus driver or to own a roller skating café. They both involved wheels and I knew even then I wanted skating to be part of my life in some way. I quad skated up till I was 12 years old then moved onto rollerblades as I took up roller hockey in my local leisure centre. I really enjoyed it but found it difficult as I was the only girl amongst a lot of boys and being quite a shy person I found it tough to stand my ground (not anymore lol).

In my teens I then bladed and quad skated a lot down Swansea beach and spent many a summer skating back and fore practicing little tricks. Little did I know I was in a way training for a sport that I didn’t even know existed and more than 10 years on I found roller derby.

I hadn’t skated for a while not because I didn’t want to but because being grown up meant not much time but now I find the time to do something I love. I started out with the Swansea City Slayers and skated with them for a year and a half. Then my newlywed husband Joe and I and our friend Carol decided to start a local team where we lived in Neath Port Talbot. This was a big decision for me as it meant not playing derby for a while until we had formed a group of skaters who could skate and play derby safely. However I’m glad I did as the rewards have been great, I have helped skaters who on their first session clung to the wall but are now confidently bouting.

With coaching you help others but you also learn a lot about yourself too and your own skating as you have to think of easy ways to break things down which isn’t always easy, however completing my BRSF coaching course has helped with this.

The team is going well and we are now introducing our first learn to skate course for people who would like to just learn to skate or play/officiate derby with no pressure. I’m really looking forward to this as I love meeting new people and each person the team meets brings something extra to NPT Roller Derby and its growth. If you are interested please sign up, it is open to anyone over 18 and I and the rest of the team will make sure that you are welcomed.

 

Get your tickets here

www.nptrollerderby.co.uk/learntoskate

www.facebook.com/NPTRD

@NPTRollerDerby