New Member FAQ

Where do recruitment nights take place?

Our recruitment nights take place at our private practice space in the Florence section of Northampton, MA.

What do I wear to a recruitment night?

Wear clothes you’ll be comfortable in and that allow you to be flexible. We recommend against jeans. Our recruitment nights take place during our off-season; please also dress appropriately for the weather.

What does a typical recruitment night look like?

At a typical recruitment night, participants will get some gear on, meet some PVRD folks, practice a little skating around the track, learn/brush up on some basic skills and derby rules, get the low-down on what league membership entails, and watch some derby demos.

If you’re wondering whether you’ll experience the “contact sport” aspect of roller derby at recruitment night, the answer is “No!” All new skaters are strictly non-contact for the first few practices. Hopefully that takes some of the pressure off!

I’ve never skated before/I’ve been skating for years. Will roller derby be for me?

There’s only one way to find out! There are a lot of skills specific to the sport of roller derby and working as a team, lots of rules to learn, and a great community to get to know. Come give us, and derby, a try!

I’m probably too old for roller derby. Am I too old for roller derby?

No way!

Do I need my own skates?

We have loaner gear available for a small fee, though you’ll probably find that having skates specific to your feet, and protective gear specific to the rest of you, is a huge advantage.

Roller derby is played on quad skates.

What protective gear do I need?

In addition to quad skates, you will need a helmet, mouthguard, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. We have loaner helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads available. Applicable skaters are also required to wear protective cups. Please note that some pads and helmets intended for other sports are not appropriate for the purposes of roller derby.

What roller derby ruleset does PVRD use?

We study and use the ruleset published by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). (Read the rules here.)

Do league members pay dues?

Yes. PVRD members are required to pay monthly dues, which go towards practice space rental and league insurance. Payment plans are available.

How often will I attend practice?

Active members of PVRD are expected to attend at least two evening practices a week. Each practice runs between 2-3 hours depending on the night. Members on the officiating track are expected to attend scrimmage practices at a minimum once they have passed their skills assessments.

We currently practice Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, all 7pm or later. New recruits start Monday/Wednesday (Thursday optional but open) while scrimmage-eligible skaters attend Monday/Thursday (Wednesday optional but open). Officials who have passed assessments attend Thursday scrimmage practices.

Captains may elect to hold additional team practices outside the regular schedule.

How much of a workout will I get?

Ask politely to see some muscle. Some of us like to flex.

So you get hit a lot in roller derby, right?

Roller derby is a full contact sport, so technically speaking, yes. However, one of the very first things you’ll learn is how to fall safely. You’ll also work on your agility and quick recovery as a skater and learn how to avoid and juke around blocks, and how to transfer and redirect energy from receiving and giving hits. Pretty cool, actually.

How do I become rostered on a team?

We’ll start you out as strictly non-contact. Once you have your feet under you, you’ll be able to do contact drills, and once you’re comfortable with that, we’ll start you scrimmaging. After that, you’re eligible to try out for a roster!

By the end of preliminary training, you will be able to do all the skills on the WFTDA minimum skills list. That’s right, we teach you how to do all of that!

And the best part is, you get to do it at your own pace. We hold monthly skills assessments where our coaching committee evaluates you one-on-one to see if you’re ready for the next level, and getting assessed is completely optional (though a great way to get feedback). You can blaze through in about four months if that’s your jam, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking your time to build a solid foundation, either! The important thing is that you feel comfortable and safe on skates.

What are some of the risks involved in playing roller derby?

Roller derby is a rough contact sport played on wheels, and interested parties should know that there is always a possibility of injury. Most players will experience routine maladies like blisters, twisted ankles, and sore knees when they start. We take safety very seriously, and in addition to the required protective gear, we also employ procedures and policies that ensure no player is allowed into a level of play that he or she is not ready and/or qualified for. That being said, severe problems such as torn ligaments or broken bones are a real possibility for derby players.

Do I have to wear those tiny shorts?

Not unless you want to! We’re all DIY here.