Last year I heard about a new derby convention, the Northeast Derby Convention. My friends and I decided to go because it was near us and pretty cheap, but had some amazing skaters as instructors.
It was game-changing. For our entire league. (NE Derby Con doesn’t pay me. I get no swag or anything for writing this.) Ten players on my league in Maine decided to go. It cost about $150 a pop for a three-day pass. The training we got there was undoubtedly the reason that same little, newly-founded league won our New England B-team tournament a few months later.
You need to go. It’s again $150 and it’s three days. Not many more details are available on the website yet, but let me tell you what I got last year: 21 hours on skates training. Yeah. 21. I took one off skates session too, so I think it was 22 hours total. For $150. A little math says that’s about $7 to learn jam tips from Suzy, $7 to learn to be a badass from Demanda, $7 to learn new pack strategy from Quadzilla, $7 for Teflon Donna to show you how to mohawk around people, $7 for Bonnie D Stoir to give you the puppy talk (look it up), $7 for Smarty Pants to hit you backward. I mean. Come on. You paid more for the leggings in your closet when you made fresh meat.
That doesn’t include the parties, the hang out time between sessions, the scrimmages, etc etc etc. It’s the best money I’ve spent in a while and elevated my play and my leaguemates play.
Last year the convention was set up as one-hour blocks of sessions with 30 minute breaks in between. That’s 30 minutes to digest, take notes and practice the skills you learned. Oh and rest, right. Those one-hour sessions aren’t going to be the time you need to perfect skills, but I found that my notes from last year still come in handy — because 21 hours is a lot to digest.
The other awesome thing about the sessions on-skates was that they were divided into levels: basic, home team, intermediate, elite. That meant the stars of the Boston Massacre weren’t intimidating the fresh meat from the new Vermont league and let everyone play comfortably and get what they needed from their skate time.
For the nonskaters (and skaters) they also had classes on league structure, how to evaluate skaters, etc. Super helpful for the little leagues trying to figure out the basics of derby business.
So that’s my ringing endorsement. If I were still on the East Coast, I’d be there in a heartbeat. It’s the most one-on-one time you’re going to get and it’s with the best skaters in the world today.