Subject: toe stops
Dear Derby Helper,
We're currently founding a new league in the City of Antwerp, Belgium. We haven't got experienced derby players amongst us - so we study everything ourselves.
We do have a question about toe stops. Some of the derby girls play with them, some without them. One of the ex-coaches told us that is was dangerous to play with them but we don't know why.
What is your perspective about toe stops?
Thank you so much,
One Love Roller Dolls
Hi Lolli and thanks for bringing it to our attention that there are people in the world playing roller derby without toe stops. This seems like it would make roller derby better in exactly the same way that removing first gear and the front brake shoes off of a car would make auto racing better. In other words, it doesn't. When you're a jammer standing at the line, the best way to accelerate quickly is to push off on your toe stops and actually run a couple of steps on them before switching to a skating motion. As far as stopping goes, there are plenty of ways to stop without the use of toe stops (t-stops, hitting someone, falling on your butt) but none of those have the stylistic flare of the swooping backwards turn followed by digging your stops in. You DO want to be stylistic, don't you? Thought so.
The only way I could see toe stops being dangerous is if they aren't screwed in far enough, causing you to trip on them. And even then, you're only really in "danger" of looking silly in front of onlookers since you'll be wearing a full set of pads and can't really get hurt unless you happen to trip really close to the edge of the cliff you're skating on, which reminds me, WHY ARE YOU SKATING ON A CLIFF?!?! But seriously, do a Google image search for roller derby and see how many player pictures you can find with no toe stops. I'm going to guess zero other than maybe your team members. Every player I've ever seen on every team I have refereed for used toe stops. So leave 'em in and learn to love 'em.