Published on March 26th, 2013 | by Juicy Lucy0
Inventive Tactics from an Underdog Team
Auld Reekie Roller Girls were founded in April 2008. Most of us could not skate in April, yet we had our first bout in the same September. Following this we had a surprising winning streak coming up against much more experienced teams. Looking back I can only theorise this was because our secret tactics kept us a step ahead.
A comprehensive list of ‘tactics’, ‘training techniques’ and ‘psych outs’:
(1) ’Lulling them in to a false sense of security’
This was used effectively at least once (against CCR). Very simple, use your weakest line ups for the first 10 minutes – ‘lulling’ your opponents in to comfortable complacency, only to unveil a stellar 50 minutes of comparative ‘Power Line Ups’. Also as an interesting side note this game was played in 3 twenty minute periods!
(2) Effective Jammer Strategies
I am saddened to say none of our most eccentric jammer strategies were attempted in an *actual* bout, but we did have many. Many of these strategies revolved around the fact that I jammed a lot and was (still am) very small:
+ Throwing the jammer over an opposing wall
+ Piggy backing the jammer through the pack (although this did later morph in to a semi effective ‘canon ball’ tactic…)
There was also ‘The Birthing Whip’. If you have a lot of space (which unfortunately you generally don’t in a pack…) this actually does quite a good job! Get a small jammer to crouch as small as possible behind a long legged team mate – long legged team mate puts her arms back through her legs and pulls the jammer through by their hands – off to a speedy escape!
Jazz hands were also a common way of trying to fake out a blocker.
(3) Radge Pack Work
At the start of ARRG’s colourful history we relied on a somewhat ‘radge Scottish’ reputation, even though at the time the majority of the team were not Scottish! This influenced some of our very early strategies and psych outs. One classic approach to pack work we used time and time again was ‘The Wrecking Ball’. This was very simple – we would get a particularly ‘radge’ member of the team who liked hitting and being a bit intimidating (usually Danger or Minnie!) to smash up the whole pack in no kind of particular order, just for some mayhem. It turned out to be quite good offensively whilst skaters got to enjoy ‘shoulder checking’ the opposition. We did also used to say ‘make the last minor count’, before poodling became the norm! This meant in many cases you would go out trying to do some elaborate game changing hit and then end up with a major instead until you were back on track to try again!
(4)Gaining the Psychological Edge
Many of the teams we initially played we felt had better skaters than us, so in order for us to win we thought of many elaborate ‘psych outs’ and ways to intimidate or confuse the opposition.
As an extension of our Radge Scottish persona we were generally quite loud due to the excitement of just playing roller derby. On one particular trip to Leeds many of us had travelled down sitting in the back of a white van and upon being released in to the open air were so hyper the oppostion bench coach asked if we were drunk. Said van had no windows or light so the return journey to Edinburgh involved being covered in spilled ashtrays and doner meat until 4am. On most other occasions I think people thought we were just weird.
We did however have more than just the ‘radge Scottish’ angle. We also had ‘creepy weirdo’. The creepy weirdo approach could be used by the jammer or a blocker trying to get oppostion players to move away from them. For this you could try any of the following:
+Breathing heavily on their neck
+Gently caressing them on their arm/back/cheek/bum
+Telling someone you love them/fancy them/find them very attractive
Or another bright idea was to politely ask someone to move out the way. I did use this tactic effectively once in a game, probably my proudest moment.
(5) Whole Team Psych Outs
Back in the day all UK bouts started with a ‘demo’, a walk through on track of how points were scored. Normally teams sent out a random line up. We decided to (attempt to) freak the opposition out by sending our first line up out. This way we could stay on the track (which people never did) to confuse people and also get the best position on the pivot line!
I like to think ARRG blazed a trail by choosing to skate out to ‘Bootylicious’, ’What is love’ and ‘I believe in Miracles’ by Hot Chocolate back in the day. Until then pretty much every UK league had skated out to ‘let the bodies hit the floor’ or ‘psychobitches outta hell’. We also used our ‘lulling’ tactic again by skating out holding hands…
Republished with permission by Juicy Lucy from her blog, Roller Derby Opinions.