Learn to Skate
Our next Learn to Skate program runs from January 19, 2020 to April 5, 2020, Sunday afternoons at the Spryfield Lion's Rink.
19 years of age or older (folks 16-18 are eligible to take part in our Learn to Skate program)
Our Junior Derby program accepts participants aged 8 to 17.
Willingness to fall hard and get back up again
One two-hour practice a week. Occasional additional rules training sessions may be required. Skaters are expected to join one of the many committees that help our league run, and to participate in league activities such as donation drives and other public events.
When you join the Anchor City Rollers, you will go through an intense training process to get you bout-ready:
The basics of skating: derby stance, skating stride, stopping, falling safely, etc.
Roller derby basics: skating in a pack, positional blocking, shoulder and hip-checks, whipping (assists), jamming and blocking.
The rules of the game, through both on-skate training and off-skate NSOing. Skaters must pass a written rules test before they are eligible to be drafted to a home team.
Preparing for WFTDA certification: skaters must pass these minimum safety requirements before becoming eligible to scrimmage, be drafted to a home team, or play in a bout. The full list of requirements is available from the WFTDA site.
Minimal fitness training will be provided, but skaters are required to do their own conditioning work outside of practice.
Transfers from other leagues please contact our board of directors.
The cost of the program is $250. This includes:
Administrative costs (pylons, pinnies, helmet covers, tape, and first aid supplies)
Coaching & mentorship from a staff of experienced trainers
Monthly dues for 12 weeks
The money from the “dues” is used primarily to rent practice space.
Each skater is responsible for registering with CRDi (Canadian Roller Derby Information & Services) and acquiring the mandatory insurance. More information on insurance.
Quads (old fashioned roller skates, not necessarily high ankles)
Knee pads (if you splurge, splurge on this)
Helmet (skate board or hockey style)
Many people get toe guards for their skates
People with pre-existing knee problems often find the extra protection of knee gaskets helpful
Many new skaters get padded shorts, if you have a problem with your tail bone, or just don’t like falling on your bum, we recommend these
Protective bras are allowed
*WHEN YOUR GEAR COMES PUT ON ALL PROTECTIVE GEAR BEFORE YOU STAND UP ON YOUR SKATES*
Where to buy gear
The league has sponsorship agreements with:
Rollergirl.ca (contact us for passwords to access clearance items)
Or buy used gear on the East Coast Roller Derby Buy and Sell Facebook page.
Advice on gear
If you’re wondering where you should spend your money, where to go big, the answer is KNEEPADS. You will spend most of Learn to Skate learning to fall on your knees, and the rest of your derby career being surprised to have fallen on your knees. Unless you are the luckiest person in the world, you will want to upgrade your skates after Learn to Skate, get something with an adjustable toe stop and you should be on the right track. For elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet and mouth guards you can get away with what you would get at Sportcheck or Canadian Tire or Walmart. BUT, your best bang for your buck (even though it might make you want to cry) is to get a Fresh Meat or Beginner Package from one of our sponsors. Save yourself some foot pain and be sure to talk to the seller about the size boot you need. It is almost never what you think. You can also come by a practice and borrow a pair to try on.
Common beginner questions
A. No. In Halifax we are fortunate that our league is still small enough that we can accept all newcomers to Learn to Skate. Once you have passed Learn to Skate you will become eligible to be drafted to a team.
A. Yes, please drop in at a Learn to Skate practice. Contact us before hand (email@example.com) to find out our most up to date practice schedule.
A. We can most likely find a pair you can borrow for a couple of practices. Email if you need skates to borrow while you wait for your own to arrive.
A. No. We have skaters ranging in age from 8 to 62. The average age of skaters in our league is 25-35, and there is room for everyone.
A. Clothing comfortable for exercise, which isn’t so precious to you that you will be devastated if it gets roughed up: gym shorts or capris, or pants if you really want; t-shirt or tank top; TIGHTS, if you want to keep your skin on your legs and not leave it on the floor. Also, please bring sneakers for off-skate warm-up and cool down.
A. Yes. We will teach you how to fall as safely as possible.
A. Maybe. Roller derby is a fast paced full contact sport, which, although highly regulated, does pose risks to participants. We do the best we can to prepare you and to referee and make things safe, but sometimes things happen. Serious injuries are rare, but they do occur.
A. No. Roller derby attracts all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds. If it appeals to you, come.
A. No, we will teach you to skate, and all the skills that are required to play the game.
A. No. Roller derby can be a part of your fitness program and a huge motivator to exercise and eat right. There are lots of resources in the league to help you get in skating shape.
A. It will, a lot, but you will still need to go through Learn to Skate to learn other elements of the game.
A. Currently we have many opportunities for men in our league including, refereeing, non-skate officiating, announcing, and coaching. It is one of our dreams to develop a men’s team, and for that we need a base of male skaters, so please come join us! You are eligible to participate in our Learn to Skate program regardless of gender.
A. Yes, get here now.
A. No, you can name yourself, or be named by others when you pass Learn to Skate and are named to a team. But, start thinking about it now.
Q. How soon will I be on a team?
A. It can take a while to learn how to skate and learn the rules of roller derby. Everyone progresses at a different pace, but you probably won't be on a team for at least a year. Check out our Skater Levels Document to get an idea of how skaters move up in our league.
If you have more/other questions for us, please contact our learn to skate director at
Anchor City Rollers is a competitive league that skate and play hard. It takes at least 6 months of training before skaters can become eligible to be drafted to a home team and play in bouts. Everyone entering Anchor City Rollers that has not played with another league must complete the Learn to Skate (formerly Fresh Meat) program.
ACR also runs Learn to Skate weekend bootcamps. These work a little differently than our 12-week learn to skate program, but they have the same goals: getting new people involved in the league and teaching beginners how to skate! Below are typical questions about these bootcamps. If you have questions you don’t see here or in our FAQ section, contact us on social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I’ve never roller skated before.
A. Join us! We will teach you everything you need to know. We promise.
Q. Where are the bootcamps located?
A. Likely at the Gray Memorial Arena. Location TBD.
Q. When do the bootcamps take place?
A. We’ll post future dates when they are confirmed.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. The registration cost for a single bootcamp is $100. This pays for the space, some snacks, as well as gear for the weekend if needed.
Q. Do I need skates and other gear?
A. If you can get skates and gear for the bootcamp, that would be wonderful. Find out what gear you need and where to find it in the gear section of our page. We will have some loaner gear available, including skates, helmets, and pads. If you need to use loaner gear, please get in touch with us at least a week ahead of time with your sizes so we can arrange it. We will not be able to provide loaner gear for everyone. You need to bring your own fitted mouthguard, no matter what, otherwise you can’t skate.
Q. So I can show up without gear and I will be fine?
A. We may be able to loan you gear for the weekend, but you will need to bring your own mouthguard, and you will need to let us know your sizes well in advance so we can ensure we have gear that will fit you. Please do your best to buy/find/borrow gear. Here are some places to look for gear.
Q. Who is eligible to participate in the bootcamps?
A. The bootcamps are open to anyone of any gender/skill level, aged 18 or older. If you are younger than 18, please check out Anchor City Junior Rollers, which is beginning a new learn to skate program in October.
Q. Do I need insurance?
A. For the bootcamp, we will have you sign a waiver. When you join regular derby practices, you will have to purchase insurance through CRDI (http://www.crdinfo.ca/). Insurance costs $50 a year, or $30 for 90 days (which you can then extend to a whole year for $21).
Q. I work weekends/I have a wedding/I have people to care for on weekends/I am too busy.
A. If you can’t manage a full weekend bootcamp, then please join us in January 2019 for our 12-week learn to skate program, which holds 2 hour practices once a week.
Q. What happens after the bootcamp? Am I a member of the league? Do I come to practices?
A. Great question! As this is our first time hosting learn to skate bootcamps, we are uncertain how it will play out, and we will handle it on a case by case basis. If we think you can safely join our low contact practices after the bootcamp, we will invite you to do that, and we will give you full details if/when that happens. If you still need some support with beginner skills (which is totally fine and normal), we will invite you to join our 12-week learn to skate program in January, where you will be given lots of space and support to learn. The bonus of doing the bootcamp: 1. You get to see if derby is a good fit for you before committing to a longer program; 2. As a bootcamp graduate, you will join the league in January as a dues-paying member ($40 a month), rather than a learn-to-skate member ($250 registration fee upfront). Confused? We will explain it all in greater detail at the bootcamp, and if you want to chat one on one before that, contact email@example.com
Q. Do I need to/can I attend more than one bootcamp?
A. You can if you want, but it’s not required. If you attend a second bootcamp, you will be charged a discounted registration fee (amount to be decided).
Q. I’m nervous/I’m scared/I’m not good enough/I’m clumsy.
A. That’s ok/That’s ok/Yes you are/Lol me too. We were all beginners once. We will do our best to provide a space that is challenging but still safe and respectful. We want you to feel welcome in our community.
Q. What do I do until the bootcamp?
A. There are so many ways to prepare if you have the time! Go to the Emera Oval and borrow some roller skates to get a feel for skating. Go to Coffin Skate Shop to get measured for gear. Research the gear you want; buy gear from Coffin Skate Shop; order gear online. Definitely buy a mouthguard and fit it to your mouth. Watch roller derby games on youtube. Stand on one foot to improve your balance. Or just tell all your friends so they can cheer you on, and convince them to sign up with you!
Contact our Learn to Skate director (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or for information on our next Learn to Skate intake!