Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Rules

Alright, so the rule change is official!  Well, unless you're in the SW:UK tournament.  As it started with the old rules, it'll finish with 'em.  Makes sense to me.

So, what can you be doing to make the transition work better?

#1, actually read the rules.  I know an awfully large number of people who read that list of rule changes and think that they're ready.  I know a few more who read reactions to the new rules, like mine, and are happy now.  This is the quickest way to find your spot on the team turned over to a new skater who took the time to read the rules.  Read 'em, know 'em, love 'em!

#2, stop looking for loopholes.  Seriously, some people are out there not thinking about how to be better skaters, but how to 'game the system' so that they can win.  At the most basic level, if you focus on 'gaming the system' you're not focussing on skating better.  If you win due to gamesmanship, you're not winning on the merit of your skating.  Derby is a skating sport; any victory won due to a clever loophole is a hollow victory indeed.  Focus on skating better this new year, and win the physical and mental game as an athlete, not a lawyer.

#3, be clever.  "But wait, didn't you just say skate better, stop thinking?"  Well, I didn't say stop thinking, just stop gaming the system.  Never stop thinking.  So the play says 'form wall here,' but you see a star pass behind you and the pivot is struggling to put the panty on.  What do you do?  Well, if I were you, I'd hit her whilst she's defenceless and distracted.  Now, you've delayed the whole think 6-10 seconds, for her to get up, pick up the panty off the floor, etc.

---I'm going to say this once right here: there is no perfect play in derby.  There is no secret recipe that always gets you 4 points, and them 0.  If you have an idea, try it.  If it works, keep on.  If it doesn't, don't do it again.  Simples!

#4, this is an opportunity.  Many of the tactics used by teams ranked 5-10 places above yours will no longer be as effective.  Honestly, some teams are ranked due to skill, others due to teamwork and tactics.  Now is the time to leapfrog 'em by being better prepared for the new rules than anyone else.  Get refs to practice, work hard, scrimmage, scrimmage, scrimmage.

#5, enjoy!  I think the new rules streamline the game greatly.  I have a feeling it'll function way, way better.  Enjoy it!  Never forget, the reason you do derby is because you love derby.


  1. I'd challenge your second point - the reason teams started using the knee start/scrum start under the old rules was due to them finding loopholes in the rules (ie what constitutes a pack) that enabled them to gain tactical advantage. I'm sure that's the same with many of the tactics used under the old rules. Teams that can find and exploit loopholes in the new rules will find themselves with tactical advantages.

    1. Are exploited loopholes and the tactical advantages they bring necessarily a good thing?