Roller Derby started in the 1930s. But it was not widespread until the 1970s when it made a comeback. It was more of an organized sport for women at that time, and the focus was on fun and fashion. All that was needed to become a player was the desire to be part of a contact sport. Today, this sport has gained both popularity and professionalism and has become a serious international sport.
Here are some of the best-known roller derby books that you should know. They trace the evolution of the sport, discuss training strategies and rules of the modern-day games.
Best Books on Roller Derby
1. Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Sport of Roller Derby
This book is an absolute must-read for all Roller Derby enthusiasts. It demystifies the sport for the newcomer. It also offers valuable information on the sport’s history, the gear needed, strategies used, coping with injury, and the challenges and the drama intrinsic to the sport.
Margot Atwell, an experienced skater, gives her own professional experiences and advice and personal stories from Derby greats like Scald Eagle, Bonnie Thunders, and others. New skaters, veterans, and fans will find it riveting and highly informative.
2. Down and Derby: The Insider’s Guide to Roller Derby
Here is another book, hailed by many as both the ultimate manifesto and a detailed guide on Roller Derby. Written in a style that is as brassy and sassy as the sport itself, this book is both entertaining and informative. For the newcomer, this book will help you pick your alias. For those who want to cross-check the rules of the modern game or get more information on the history of Roller Derby, this book has all the answers. It celebrates all aspects of the sport and is an engaging read for anyone associated with it.
3. The Roller Derby Athlete
More than any other, this book acknowledges the change in Roller Derby, from being a fun game in the seventies-eighties to becoming a combat sport. It focuses on developing the female athlete – fitness (plyometric exercises), training, nutrition (including meal suggestions and supplements).
It traces the evolution of roller girls. From being a daring woman in short skirts and fishnets, with neither experience nor training, and just a passion for a contact sport on skates, becoming a focused athlete, bound by rules and molded and shaped by the rigorous demands of an international sport!
4. Roller Derby 101: The Fresh Meat Training Manual
This is a brilliantly written manual and one-stop guide for Roller Derby coaches. This book has gained high praise for the quality of content, easy to implement guide plans, and detailed lesson plans. It comes with checklists to assess skills and sample forms.
There are three main parts to the manual: part 1 is about skating skills; part 2 focuses on pack skating and contact; and part 3 discusses scrimmage skills – an essential part of coaching. From looking for a starting point to coaching fresh skaters to needing an entire prepared coaching program to use or adapt, this book provides it all.
5. The Business of Roller Derby: Developing an Efficient Training Committee
Another invaluable ebook that focuses on how to set up, define, and manage a training committee. From creating the training mission to spelling out each committee member’s job descriptions and roles, the book offers detailed input.
The book also looks at common issues and best practices in training and how-to-effectively-deliver-feedback. It gives sample documents to help create curriculum, practice itinerary, manage the budget, etc. It is one of the 3 part series called The Business of Roller Derby.
6. Rollergirls: The Story of Flat Track Derby
This book is a fascinating visual archive of the sport and offers little known details in the sport’s history. It is a photo-essay in black and white featuring the sport’s evolution, from short skirts, fishnet stockings, and makeup – to warm-ups, huddles, and bloody noses.
Best of all, the book offers a peek into the camaraderie between players, competitors, and fans off the track. The 160 black and white photos of the Texas Rollergirls spans a decade and shows how women of all ages, professions, and lifestyles have gone on to define this game on their terms.
7. Mental Toughness Tips: For Roller Derby and Beyond
The best part of this book is that the 200 plus tips on Mental Toughness are offered in tiny, easy to digest capsules. So in effect, you do not need to read this book in a single start-to-finish format. You can pick it up, and open it to any page, and read a couple of inputs at a time. It is ideal for a tired athlete who does not want to deal with long, dry, advice-giving text.
Whether you are a beginner learning how to get started or looking for a derby gift to give to your loved one, the books above can help. They are shares, lessons drawn from the very people who have been participating in this fascinating sport. Select one or several that you like and read it now.