Chronic Pain in Derby – By Rachele/Revulva

Kaarina Mikalson Blog Posts

Whoever coined the phrase “your body is a temple” was right about mine, because over the years I have managed to destroy it slowly (and sometimes quickly). On a regular basis, I am left to pick up the pieces and rebuild until I am back to a “normal,” functioning state. I started ballet at three years old, and I was good at it. Good enough that my teacher asked me to start on pointe shoes when I was around ten years old. As I’m sure you can imagine, putting all your weight on the tips of your feet at such a young age is hard on the body, and at around thirteen I had my first major injury in my foot. The idea of dancing through your pain is expected for a dancer, and it wasn’t until it was so bad that I had to take a short hiatus from dance to recuperate that I realized I had done some permanent damage. Now, eleven years later, I still have a cluster of cysts in my foot that sometimes feels like nothing, sometimes feels like the worst pain in the world, and ultimately ended a huge part of my dance career.

After realizing I was no longer going to be dancing en pointe, I decided to pick up some other dance styles, mostly modern, contemporary and jazz. These often involve falling on the floor with no padding for artistic effect. Here is where my knee injuries come into play. I now have some calcified bruises, ligament issues and wobbly knee caps, which were one of the first things I noticed affected my derby participation from the get go. Derby involves falling on your knees a lot; it’s one of the first things they teach us. The padding made it feel way nicer than when I used to just land straight on my knees, but after multiple falls and skating around in a squat position, I noticed my knees were pretty angry at me for days – and sometimes weeks – after just one practice.

Now, if the knee and foot injuries (and now chronic pain) weren’t enough, I also have scoliosis, which pretty much means my spine is curved like a ‘C’ at the lower part of my back (note: all scoliosis is different, this is what mine looks and feels like). The spine curvature doesn’t hurt on its own, but the affect it has on my muscles, gait and internal organs is a concern. It means that bending, kicking and sitting one way feels totally normal, but another way causes some pretty significant discomfort and sometimes pain. I noticed that skating in derby direction and the way my body leans into turns sometimes causes pain in my back, numbness in my one leg, and a decreased ability to open my hips to one direction.

My chronic pain and injury history affects my involvement in derby, as well as my everyday life. I see physiotherapists, massage therapists, pain specialists and general practitioners on a regular basis. This equals time, money and often more pain (from massaging, poking and prodding). This also means that I have to pace myself differently in practices than other people, which is frustrating for me. I danced for years through pain, and still have this notion that I should be pushing through pain in order to succeed. However, as I get older and the pain gets worse, it starts to take days out of my life when I need to recuperate because I can’t stand up. So, I have made a commitment to myself to not push myself as hard as I would like, and to take breaks when I need them. This means sitting in the middle of the track during some practices, or even missing months of practices at a time. I often feel like I am constantly falling behind other skaters; the people I started derby with last winter are now in intermediate or seasoned skaters, while I am always going back to LoCo (Low Contact). When we started doing hits, I realized my body wasn’t going to able to take much of that. Each time I come back, I end up picking things up quicker than the last time and feeling less pain, but each time, I make it through a certain number of practices before my body tells me to stop.

I am constantly angry at my body and the limits I have to set for myself to stay healthy, but I have been able to find alternative ways to be involved in the derby community, on and off skates. NSOing (non-skate officiating – often score keeping for me, and sometimes penalty tracking) has been one of my favourite things I have gotten to participate in this summer while off skates. More recently, I went to my first referee training, which gave me an opportunity to skate without purposefully bashing into other skaters, and take breaks when I need to.

It has been challenging to accept the limits of my body, but derby has given me more than one way of participating, and an accepting, non-judgemental community of people who often understand some part of what I feel. It has also given me a new understanding of what my body can and can’t do, and how those limits are not necessarily a bad thing.

Kaarina MikalsonChronic Pain in Derby – By Rachele/Revulva

6 Ways to Become a More Competitive Skater – Coach Coffin

Coffin Blog Posts, Skills

So you’ve decided that you want to up your derby game. Maybe you have just joined a learn to skate program and are eager to master the skills. Or maybe you are ready to get that competitive edge and join a team. That is great! I have a couple of steps to help improve your skills.

Watch more high level derby

I know this is mentioned in about every blog about derby, but seriously, you should watch more. It is so easy to watch something from the WFTDA.tv archives. Our league tries to organize monthly derby watching parties for everyone. It is a great way to get your league talking about gameplay, strategy, AMAZING moves, and generally talking with each other. When we get really into a moment there is usually a whole discussion about what happened. Someone has to pause and backtrack the game, then we watch it in slow motion while everyone talks in excited voices. It sparks great conversations with our newer skaters about how the sport works. It is so beneficial as a skater to learn the rules of roller derby (it may save you from a trip to the penalty box). The skaters in high level WFTDA and MRDA push the boundaries of what we believe is possible on skates. It’s great to be able to break down exactly how a blocking strategy worked or how the jammer squeaked through the pack. You can figure out what skills you need to work on in order to pull off those moves.

Go to extra practices

The best thing to do to improve your skating skills is get more time on skates. See if there are other practices in your league that you are able to attend. A big part of being on a team is learning how to communicate with the other skaters. You have to be able to understand each other in a split second. That sort of thing takes a lot of practice! If you are a newer skater check with trainers to see if there is space to practice individual skills on the sides. If you are not able to practice on skates, there are still so many things you will pick up when you watch a practice. You can learn a lot when your head doesn’t have to talk to your feet. A seasoned skater practice usually works on more advanced skills. They spend a lot of time talking about gameplay and strategy. If you are still working on your skills, it is great to see what you want to focus on during your own skate. I have seen so many “lightbulb” moments happen when we have talks about derby at practice. It also gets you understanding where you want/need to be with your skills to play more competitive roller derby. If your league does not have any more practices for you to go to, see if you can drop in with another league in your area, or take a look and see if there are any training camps coming up. If all else fails, try and find some space to yourselves where you can strap on skates and work on your skills.

Set goals

This is a skill I certainly didn’t use enough before joining derby. I remember one training camp where the coach had us make team goals–something we want to achieve for ourselves. It really helps to give a focus and direction to all of your practices. Make sure to set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time based) goals. Usually, I try to make one big goal at the start of the season and then I break it down into smaller short-term goals for each week or even each practice. It’s one thing to say you want to be a “better” skater but what does that mean, what does it look like for you?

Okay, so you have a goal in mind. Write it down! It has been proven that people who write out their goals are more likely to accomplish them. Even better–once you have written down your goal, tell a friend about it. You want someone who can keep you accountable and check up on your progress. I try to have something specific in my mind every time I put my skates on. Say, for example, I want to get my 27/5 within the next three months. I would focus on nailing my crossovers, my derby stance, and endurance. I would think about what I need to do to get better at those things, so I can get my 27/5. Setting small achievable goals means you get to celebrate every step of the way!

Crosstrain outside of practice

This is an important one, especially if you are still developing those derby muscles. I strongly encourage everyone learning to skate to do SOMETHING else outside of practice. There are so many great options out there to help build your body up for this sport. I am a big fan of bouldering/rock climbing in the off season. It’s a very core heavy exercise that gets me to work on my balance and move my body in new ways. I would also recommend doing some yoga, swimming, crossfit, etc. The possibilities are almost endless. This doesn’t mean you have to run out and get a gym membership (especially as some of us are on a budget; gotta get new skates somehow!). You can start small and do some workouts at home. Everything we do on skates can be done in an off-skates workout. There are a lot of great resources online for derby training. My favourite would have to be Roller Derby Athletics. It’s amazing how much an extra 20 minutes of exercise during the week can help your skating abilities.

Up the intensity

You want to try your hardest with everything you do. There have been so many moments I have seen people come to practice and they are holding back. It can be due to a number of reasons: maybe it is fear of trying a new skill, or you are stuck in your head from a bad work day. Use your derby practice wisely. I would recommend coming to every practice and giving it your all. Sure it will be tougher training, but you are doing it for yourself. Don’t sell yourself short by not working to the best of your ability. It is okay to have those days where things are harder. It means your 100% that day may not stack up to your 100% on a normal day. THAT’S OKAY. The point is that even if you are sick, sore, or whatever, that you are present and ready to do all the things. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or if they are watching you. If you come in and do it for yourself then none of those other things will matter anymore.

Stay motivated!

I see a lot of skaters come to practices and compare themselves to other skaters. I can see the days where they are beating themselves up at practice. There are always going to be those days when your muscles feel like giving up on you, or YOU feel like giving up on you. I remember when I had just passed my minimum skills (2014?) and moved up into the seasoned skater practices. It felt like I was brand new again. I was falling down so much at practice. After a few months I still fell down a lot, but I got REALLY good at quickly getting back up. The biggest thing is to keep yourself motivated and remember to enjoy it!

 

Coffin6 Ways to Become a More Competitive Skater – Coach Coffin

Derby and Depression – Kaarina

Kaarina Mikalson Blog Posts, What I Learned From Derby

Last week I went to a talk by Catrina Brown, a professor of social work at Dalhousie. Her talk was on women and depression, and I almost skipped it because I figured I was already an expert, being a woman and depressed. But I went anyway, and spent the full 45 minutes nodding and taking furious notes.

“Women can be really hard on themselves, more so than on others,” she said (after acknowledging the inadequacy of the word “women” and of the erasure such generalizations can cause). She described this as an emotional regime, and at its most extreme, emotional totalitarianism, in which we carefully police and manage our own emotions (and behaviours), and attempt to discipline ourselves when they do not meet a standard.

Why am I talking about this in relation to roller derby? We’ll see if I can get there. For the 45 minutes of that talk, I felt seen. She described with shocking accuracy my thoughts, my feelings, the things I say internally and out loud to myself, the patterns I get stuck in. It was affirming, but it was more than that; I felt her validate all the effort I put in every day: the effort to be put together, to finish my work, to care for those around me, and the refusal to care for myself if I couldn’t first achieve all those other unending tasks.

I guess this is where roller derby comes in. This sport, and more specifically this league, has made me feel seen. For a few hours a week, I can be in my body, detached from my work or from the people in my life that I care for, sometimes at the expense of myself. For a few hours a week, I can fall and fail with no repercussions, and I can celebrate my successes with no sense of guilt or worry. I am happy for the people around me, and they are happy for me. There is room for all of us to succeed. There will be room for us even when we don’t.

This world can be a difficult place, and in times of heightened racism, misogyny, transphobia, and ableism, in times when austerity is the leading practice, there is so little room for basking in pride, self-love, success. When I finish some work, I turn immediately to the next task. When I win a scholarship, I keep it quiet because not all my friends were so lucky. When I do well, I remind myself of my privilege, my luck, and the systems that made my success possible at the expense of others. And I know this is important, but sometimes I lose myself in it.

So this is my epiphany: I need this space to celebrate myself. I need a space to let myself off the hook, and to feel those deepest emotions without managing or disciplining them. Right now, roller derby is this space. I look forward to practice. I come home on Sunday evenings so happy, and with a list of things to boast to my partner about. I feel the ache on Monday and Tuesday and remember that I earned it. I treasure all the feedback from trainers and my fellow skaters. And I dwell in this happiness.

To others balancing mental health and roller derby, I found these posts super helpful. The first one is on getting to practice, the second one is on those times when you can’t do it, and the third one is on how to get through practice.

Kaarina MikalsonDerby and Depression – Kaarina

A love note to derby photographers everywhere* – By Saf Haq

Saf Blog Posts

*With special mention to Maritime derby photographers, especially our very own Richard Lafortune

To all of our derby photographers (Richard Lafortune, Paul Vienneau, Steve Clarkson, Evan Shanks, Roy Crawford, Jason Hickey, Andre Reinders, Travis of Digital Reflections, Cassie Latta-Johnson, Andrea Crowell and anyone else who has captured Anchor City Rollers on camera):

Thank you.

There is so much you do for this sport, for us, that I think we could thank you every day and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Thank you for coming to our games. Tournaments. Practices. Training camps. Fundraisers. Events. Travelling by bus, by car, by plane. Thank you for being a friendly face at home and away.

Thank you for capturing us at our best and our worst (and often checking to see if the latter is okay to make public).

Thank you for inviting us to your photography studios. For taking headshots, team photos, and pictures for epic bout posters. Thank you for giving us priceless mementos of our derby life.

Thank you for making us look Powerful. Strong. Tough. Resilient. And helping us realize that it is because we are.

Thank you for showing us the things that our bodies and brains can make us do. I don’t always love or appreciate my body, but it is when I look at your pictures that I do the most.

Thank you for spending countless hours organizing, editing, and posting pictures. Promptly, voluntarily, and in your free time. It is one of the things we most look forward to after a game. (That and checking out our new bruises.)

Without you, we wouldn’t be able to relive every bout, every jam, every moment. We can recount that time we jammed for the first time, that time we delivered a sweet hit, that time we recycled the jammer, or that time we made the silliest face (there are a lot of those ones).

Thank you for the countless Facebook profile pictures that make us look so badass. And for the proof we do this thing that we can show to our non-derby friends.

Thank you for documenting this sport, the way it has grown, evolved, endured. The way we have grown, evolved, endured.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. We love you! We appreciate you! Thank you for being such an important part of our derby family.

p.s. Share your favourite derby shots in the comments!

SafA love note to derby photographers everywhere* – By Saf Haq

The Pacifist – By Kate Ross-Leal

Kaarina Mikalson Blog Posts, What I Learned From Derby

When I started skating I thought I wanted to transform into a hardcore roller derby star.  Someone to channel the aggression hiding deep down somewhere in my mind. I wanted to be fearless and rebellious, kick ass and take names, unquestionable confidence in every stride. I truly believed I would evolve into this badass skater through body-checks and broken bones. I used to curse myself out because I couldn’t find the balls to do that one-foot glide around the turn, or I’d fall over another skater while in a tight pack. I would think to myself, “Come on dude, what’s your deal? Where’s the aggression?”

Kate practicing yoga in her ACR jersey.

Kate practicing yoga in her ACR jersey.

I would see other skaters, with their cute queer cuts and arm tattoos skating around the track like they were born with their skates attached. How could I fit in? I am this relatively dainty, highly anemic, anxiously sensitive person whose eyes are filled with stars at games and practices. When I started my roller derby career I felt an inner struggle.  How can I be aggressive and badass, but still keep the inherent pacifist and docile traits that I can’t override?

So I found the solution. After months of ‘Fresh Meat’ (now LoCo/Low Contact) practice and taking time off in self-pity, I began to establish a tight relationship between my yoga and roller derby practice. Such philosophies as: Don’t think, just do. Be present. Plant your feet. Always look forward. Breathe. The teacher shows you the appropriate stance, but you perform it.  You take what you want from it, give what you can to it. Go to practice thinking it’ll be shite, and it will. Go to the oval with passion and energy, it will be so. Want this game to be fun? Cool, done. Stay at home and revel in fear and self-hate? Rad – have a great time with Netflix, rather than surrounding yourself with the kindest and coolest people you’ve ever met.

Anchor City Rollers has shown me I am not this aggressive person and never will be. And that’s okay. Being willing and able to leave the house, getting into the car and getting to practice is the only step. That is because when you get there, you’re met with bright, shining (read: sweaty) faces that want you to do well. The instructors are excited that you share a passion for the sport. The friends you make are keen to catch up and your body will thank you for giving it a good workout. I now go to derby with the acknowledgement that I may not be that player who goes to practice fearless and ready to be hip-checked to the next town, but I will go to practice with the same love and appreciation for the sport. Even if I’m not made of stone.

Kaarina MikalsonThe Pacifist – By Kate Ross-Leal

Am I Too Old for This Shit? – By Kim Manthorne / HollaSmack Girl

Kaarina Mikalson Blog Posts, What I Learned From Derby

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Kim marshalling the Sole Sisters race

I started the “Learn to Skate” program with Anchor City Rollers in January 2016, despite a few family members asking, “You are doing what?” and my partner, who said, “Maybe you should get in better shape first.” Great point, but the comment felt rather discouraging – I took it as a dare.

Full disclosure: I am a 45-year-old overweight mother of two girls, and I have not participated consistently in exercise in a very long time.

When I was growing up, my buddies and I always had some sort of wheels on our feet – roller skates, skateboards, ice skating in the ditch when it froze over in the winter – and we lived at Wheelies in Sackville. I knew I could do it….had been able to do it….could I still do it?

What I didn’t anticipate about learning to skate all over again: my back ached every practice because squatting while skating (best description of derby stance) fucking hurts, I fell a lot and it hurts, and anything endurance related set my recently-quit-smoking lungs on fire. I also didn’t anticipate coming to the realization that my inner dialogue was toxic and holding me back. It would tell me things like “you can’t do that,” and “you won’t be able to,” with a so-sarcastic sneering “good luck” thrown in at times. I didn’t even know my thoughts were so negative. I believed myself to be a confident and positive person with healthy self-esteem. I didn’t anticipate that joining Anchor City Rollers would improve my self-esteem. I felt so proud each time I gave myself mental high fives, or left practice bursting with a sense accomplishment. I didn’t anticipate that this group of people would be so amazing, intelligent and uniquely who they are, and they gave me a weird sense of permission to be unapologetically myself.

As I have gone through this process, I have reached some points where I have checked in with myself to have a chat.  After a few injuries happened with my derby family I asked myself, “Will this get me to quit?” “Was that scary enough to side line me?” The conclusion I came to is that my own injury would have to take me out and that doesn’t scare me off.

Another conversation I have had is about pushing myself to the next level. I have passed the minimum skills (so freaking proud of myself) and now have the opportunity to skate with seasoned skaters. Sometimes I chicken out, sometimes I genuinely feel like the skills being practiced are beyond my current abilities, and I hesitate to try. It’s another mental barrier I have to overcome.

The answer to the question “Am I too old for this shit?” is no. Most of what I have spoken about is mental and a process of growing internally; it has nothing to do with age. I still have work to do. You are never too old for that shit.

Kaarina MikalsonAm I Too Old for This Shit? – By Kim Manthorne / HollaSmack Girl

Open House

Kaarina Mikalson Events

WE’RE RECRUITING AND WE WANT YOU!

Interested or know someone interested in playing roller derby? Want to volunteer with us? Or learn more about Anchor City Rollers in general? We’re recruiting people on and off skates to join our awesome league!

Anchor City Rollers is excited to host a meet and greet information night about our upcoming January learn to skate program and how to get involved off-skates if roller skating is not your thing!

You will get a chance to talk to some of the trainers and skaters of ACR. Find out the answers to all your questions; from gear to insurance we will cover everything you need to know about being involved with Anchor City Rollers.

We will be welcoming our next wave of kick-butt derby folks in January 2017, and YOU could be one of them! The Fresh Meat program is designed to be an introduction to roller derby and acts as a basic learn-to-skate program. It is 12 weeks long and 2 hour practices will be held on Sundays. The total cost of the program is $250 which includes your very own league jersey.
We are open to all skill and fitness levels. The only prerequisites for Learn to Skate are roller skates and protective gear.

Questions? Send an email to acrc.freshmeatdirector@gmail.com or post below!

Full details in the event on our Facebook page.

Kaarina MikalsonOpen House

Roller Derby Is Inclusive…Except When It’s Not – By Bloxie Hart

Sugar Blog Posts

Bloxie

Bloxie taking action on the track. Photo credit by Richard Lafortune.

I love roller derby.  Getting involved in this amazing community has truly been a life-changer for me.  I just have so much love for this incredible sport.  Yet there is something that I need to say about roller derby which is something that I could do without and hope to change; for a sport that prides itself on its inclusivity and openness, we still use some language that is exclusive and even hurtful for some folks.  The good news is that they have some simple fixes that require a minimal amount of commitment.

The first example is the signage for the trackside seating a mere 10 feet from the action – close enough that you may even become part of it if a player is smashed off the track and slides into the audience. This seating area is sometimes referred to as ‘suicide seating’, suggesting that if you choose to sit in close proximity to the action, you must have some sort of death-wish.  I am certain that this was only meant to be a serious-but-playful warning, reminding the audience that the hits are real and intense, so look out if you want to get close.  Yet it suggests it’s ok to use suicide as a part of a cute joke or mislabels it as some sort of risk-taking behaviour. But suicide is real, it is serious, and it affects many people in our community.  It upsets people to see it used and if we can avoid that by using other words (simply, trackside seating or perhaps even the “splash zone”), why wouldn’t we?

The other more prolific example that I hear more often is ‘fresh meat’, used to describe those who are just starting the sport.  We have ‘fresh meat’ practices, ‘fresh meat’ training, you can purchase your ‘fresh meat’ gear package, and so on.  When anyone asks about how to get started, I cringe when I describe that skaters start by attending our ‘fresh meat’ program before they are ready to skate on a team. Why? Because it sounds a whole lot like hazing.  Now, I can assure you that nothing we do is actually hazing – we take care of our new skaters by ensuring they are safe, feel welcome, and understand the sport.  We follow standardized training programs to ensure they learn everything they need to know safely and effectively.  We don’t force them to do anything they aren’t comfortable with, we don’t belittle or humiliate them, we don’t make them wear anything other than the required safety gear – I know it’s not hazing, but would others outside the sport? ‘Fresh meat’ makes us sound sketchy.  Thankfully, there is another easy solution: call them ‘new skaters’.  That’s it.  We already use ‘seasoned skater’ to refer to folks who have passed their minimum skill requirements, so those just starting can be ‘new skaters’. Attend the ‘new skater’ info sessions, ‘new skater’ training, and buy a ‘new skater’ gear package.  Simple.  But also inclusive, which is exactly what we want this sport to be.

I encourage you to make these simple changes in your league or in your vocabulary to ensure everyone feels welcome and included as that’s how we make roller derby grow.  Because I love roller derby and I want everyone else to love it too!

Bloxie Hart is a ‘seasoned skater’, trainer and coach with Anchor City Rollers.  In her non-derby life, she trains folks on suicide-intervention skills, educates university students on hazing (ie: how not to do it), and studies language/discourse and its effects on communities. 

SugarRoller Derby Is Inclusive…Except When It’s Not – By Bloxie Hart

Aggressive Skating Part 2 : At the Skate Park by Coffin

Coffin Blog Posts, Skills

(This is the second post in a series.  Please see Intro to Aggressive Skating)

Park Etiquette

The main thing here is don’t be a jerk, and skate safe.  Before you barrel into a skate park you  will want to watch the other people using the park (if there are any).  A busy skatepark can be very intimidating.  It is always a good idea to bring a friend or someone experienced for your first time if possible.  I like to take a crowd of skaters with me and take over parts of the park, like a whole bowl if possible.

Watch the other people for a little while.  There are a number of things that you will be looking for.  Be mindful of the direction people are travelling in and try to use the same routes.  You should also be looking for common places that people are dropping in and coming out of bowls.  Also pay attention to the types of people that are around.  You will be able to get a good idea of what the other people will do with just a little observation.  Most people will make eye contact at the edges of the bowl to determine who will go next.  Watch out for people that are not paying attention or people that are jumping in randomly.  Don’t be the person who is not paying attention.  Make sure that you are not standing somewhere that is in the way and that you are aware of the other skaters around you.

Warm up

Spend a bit of time warming up, it will help to get rid of some apprehension you may have.  Get your gear on and do a lap of the park if you can.  It’s good to get a feel for what the park is like and observe some of the other people that may be using the park.  There is usually some sort of flow or skating direction.  It is also a good idea to have a look for any debris or obstacles that are around.  It really sucks to get caught dropping into a rock (or trash) filled bowl.  Be sure to warm up all your muscles.  This is a great time to practice skating low.  Think about your legs as springs.  Bend your knees and get your butt down low!

Stance

I have been skating with Anchor City Derby for four years and have always had someone yelling at me to get lower. This is so much more important when skating in the bowls. You wanreceived_10154229673715941t to be so low that you feel like you are falling over. This is because you will want to be leaning into every move you make on the ramps. Your centre of gravity should be more or less in front of you for dropping in and combating the ramps. Your feet should be staggered when skating, not side by side. This will get you even lower and help to anticipate the park features. Remember that your legs are your springs! They should be absorbing most of the impact from the different features of a park. Your upper body does not really need to move very much. In fact the lower body can move almost independently.  When jumping you want to lift your legs up into your chest and then back out again.

Falling

If you come from a derby skating background then you are no stranger to falling.  You will be working outside of your comfort zone and getting a new sense of balance on the ramps.  This can take a bit of time to get used to and will definitely result in a lot of falls.  You should be really comfortable with one knee falls and two knee slides.  Another reason to make sure that you are low and leaning forwards is so that if you fall, you will be falling forwards onto your protective gear.  I also recommend wearing jeans (not leggings, or jean short shorts).  That way if you do fall, you have some protection from road rash.

Dropping in

Some skateparks will have ramps, others will have bowls (or it may have both!)  If there is a ramp or bowl in your park without a coping, you can start with a rolling drop in.  Otherwise step up to the coping(the metal bar around the edge of the bowl).  Make eye contact with the other skaters to let them know you are going in.  Be aware of other people who are gaining speed prior to dropping into a bowl, or people that are not paying attention to the flow of the park.  Put one foot on the coping and the other foot into the bowl.  The coping can be pretty intimidating and I personally avoid it when dropping in.  Instead I use my toe stops and jump down onto the ramps.  Lean forward!  Like, a lot.  Bend your knees to keep upright and maintain your momentum.  Bowls come in various sizes, you don’t have to start out with the biggest one in the park.  Different skateparks have different features, and may vary from jumps, ramps, bowls, etc.  

Now that we have covered some of the basics we will be talking about what to DO in the parks.  Keep your eyes out for the next post on tricks!

CoffinAggressive Skating Part 2 : At the Skate Park by Coffin