Transitions: The Best Technique Ever

I’ve been learning to skate for roller derby. It’s going great – so far, I’m capable of going in a circle until someone blows a whistle and falling over in no less than five different ways. I didn’t even know it was possible to have so many variations of basically collapsing screaming onto the floor, but it just goes to show you should never doubt your own potential, doesn’t it?

The transition is a vital skill in which you turn around to face the opposite direction while maintaining direction of travel. Check this video for an example:

Now, this variant of the transition is all very well if your aim is to turn smoothly and efficiently, maintaining control and speed throughout, but I’m sure nobody is going to be surprised that I prefer a variant that is a little less focussed on these things, which I feel aren’t really… well… me. I’ve put together a step by step guide.

  1. Be going in a circle, preferably on rollerskates, and definitely anti-clockwise.
  2. Has someone just blown a whistle or used the word “transition?” Better take a few seconds to check, then a few more to work yourself up to the next several steps. You can’t just rush into these things, after all.
  3. Continuing to skate, but definitely slower than before because fuck this noise, pick up one foot. Turn your hips and put the foot down somewhere behind you pointing vaguely backwards. Don’t stress too much about how backwards it’s pointing. Think of it like a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, where the floor is the donkey and your foot is the tail.
  4. You will now be on the floor. My goodness, however did you get down there? This is a good time to pause and reflect on what the fuck just happened, why you have wheels on your feet, whether you even wanted to go backwards anyway, and whether anyone is about to run you over.
  5. After this short interlude, pick yourself up and turn, static, so you’re facing the opposite direction to where you first started. Now is a good time to pause and try to remember how to start skating backwards. Take your time.
  6. Go backwards. Be sure to scream continuously so everyone knows you are coming. Safety first!
  7. As a bonus, if you put your toe stops down and flail madly, you’ve done a derby stop. This is a super efficient way of stopping quickly, particularly if you are sure to follow all of the above steps.

Good luck with your transitioning! Next up: Existential Crises and You: The Dilemma of Shoes on the Track.

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