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Radar Blog: 5 Things that are Killing Your Footwork

5 Things that are killing your footwork

1- Executing Movements with your Upper body*

It is called footwork, but many people try to execute movements entirely with their upper body. To get quick, precise, and controlled movements, you can initiate movements with shoulders and arms, but must finish those movements with your lower body, hips, legs, and feet.


2- Not picking up your feet

To improve the sharpness of your footwork, you have to get your feet off the ground. Many players try to glide into stops, transitions, or other sharp movements and it decreases precision, slowing the footwork. Pick up your feet!


3- Focusing too much on Toe Stops

Using Toe Stops is a quick way to gain balance and control. Many beginning players find their first blocking success thanks to their trusty, stable toe stops. But if you are looking to improve your quickness, especially in small spaces, you have to get off of your toe stops and down onto your wheels, where your edges can make magic.


4- Working too much on Speed

Beginning Derby skaters obsess over their speed. Of course you have to knock off that 27 in 5 before you can get into the fun stuff, but don’t neglect working on your balance at slow speed. Learning to transition comfortably will serve you for as long as you play derby.


5- Not taking off skates warm up seriously

Skaters who bluff their way through the off skates warm ups or skip it entirely will fall behind in improving their footwork. A good, dynamic off skates warm up increases blood flow to the muscles, promoting the energy releasing reactions needed for great footwork.


*Edited wording to reflect some very thoughtful feedback provided by the skating community.


Joshua “Conan” Pfenning

Radar Wheels Brand Manager

Head Coach – Angel City Derby Girls

Assistant Coach – Team USA Women’s Roller Derby



Blog Post: Little Things that are Slowing Your Improvement

5 Little things that are slowing down your improvement


#1 – Talking negatively to yourself

We all have an internal dialog with ourselves. One of the most damaging little things a player can do to herself as she is trying to improve is to frame that dialog in negative. Always use positive talk instead. For example, telling yourself “stop dragging your toe” or “don’t drag your toe” is not as effective as reminding yourself “stay on your wheels” or “use your edges to stop”. This applies to every technique or skill you are trying to improve. Using positive talk will help your improvement, and your outlook!


#2 – Not Eating soon enough after practice

Eating a good meal 3-6 hours before practices is something most players are already doing; however, eating quickly after practice is just as important. After practice, your body is depleted of energy, and needs to be refueled. Eating a sensible snack or small meal immediately after practice is a little thing that will keep you energized and will also help you from binging later. If you don’t eat soon after practice, your body can feel like crap the entire next day.


#3 – Working with the same partner

Most training sessions involve partner drills, and skaters always seem to pair up with the same people. Mix it up! Working with a new partner can change the drill entirely. It forces you to adjust to a different style and tempo. Also, it can refresh your competitive spirit. Most importantly, it will force you to be a bit more engaged, which is ideal for improving.


#4 – Watching too many things in footage review

Everyone assumes that watching footage will help you improve, but if you aren’t focusing on specific things, it can be a waste of time. Watch for specific little things with concentration and intent. If you are a jammer, watch the jammers feet. Look for patterns. Ever wonder why some jammers get driven out of bounds easily and others seem impossible to dive out? The answers are there if you watch for them.


#5 – Trying to learn everything at once

I guess this could be a big thing, but it is so common! The essence of improvement is that it happens piece by piece. Occasionally, skaters will have Aha! moments where they seem to suddenly have a new skill. Most often, this is the result of extended amounts of time making little improvements that lead to a tipping point. Chip away at the skills you want to improve. Don’t try to do everything at once, and be kind to yourself along the way.



Joshua “Conan” Pfenning

Radar Wheels Brand Manager

Head Coach – Angel City Derby Girls

Assistant Coach – Team USA Women’s Roller Derby



Radar Blog: Durometer

Hey everyone!

Whether you are an experienced skater or just beginning, you have probably heard wheels referred to by numbers, such as 88, 91, or 95.  This number is the hardness of the wheel.  It is an important piece of information for skaters to pay attention to when selecting a wheel because it gives a glimpse of what you can expect the wheel to feel like.  Before we get to that, let’s talk about what Durometer is, and how it is measured.


Durometer is the international standard for measuring the hardness of objects like rubber and plastic.  There are a few different measurement scales, called Shores.  There is the OO Shore, the A Shore, the D Shore, and some others as well.  Why so many?  Different Shores are needed to measure different stuff. A racquet ball, for example is very soft and is measured on a different Shore than a bowling ball, which is very hard.  I’m not even sure if they measure the hardness of those things, though so think of it this way: If you are trying to weigh a paperclip very precisely, you would use a different scale than if you were trying to weigh a car precisely.  The same is true for measuring the Hardness of something.  The Shores overlap.  Soft things have low numbers, harder things have higher numbers.  Check out this cool chart:

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