UKROC: A response in three voices.

UKROC: A response in three voices. Kristen Lee, aka Kitty Decapitate, giving a class at UKROC. Photo courtesy of UKROC photographers.

Those of you in the United Kingdom won’t find it any surprise that the much-anticipated UKROC was a definite success, but for those of you further afield (and those closer to home), we have more details on this convention / conference, and how it went. London Rollergirls player and London Brawling captain, Kitty Decapitate (she also plays by her legal name, Kristen Lee), taught and facilitated sessions at UKROC, and somehow managed to find the time to also assemble a report-back on the event for your reading pleasure.

Kitty Decapitate / Kirsten Lee:

“When I found out that there was to be a UK Roller Derby Convention, I was really excited. Mostly because I have always believed AND experienced that whenever you get a large group of Rollerpeople together, that good things come out of it.

Sometimes my favourite parts of these events aren’t even necessarily the actual presentations it’s how they inspire people to start talking to each other and within their leagues . It’s a great bonding experience and exciting ideas and actions always come from them. So naturally I was keen to be part of the first UKROC in some way and lucky for me, the UKROC organisers let me come on board!

I have always believed AND experienced that whenever you get a large group of Rollerpeople together, that good things come out of it.

There was an array of sessions to choose from ranging from Officials on skates training, WFTDA/MRDA Q&A’s, Social Media best practices, sponsorship info, management models and ideas for efficiency. It was all there!

I presented two main sessions. The first was on mental preparation techniques for game day as well as individual goal setting. The next part of that session was on the importance of team values and then the importance of task-oriented goals for games.

Kristen Lee captures UKROC candy, inscribed in 'rock' a classic English sweet treat.

Kristen Lee captures UKROC candy, inscribed in ‘rock’ a classic English sweet treat.

It was great to field so many questions and see lots of nods as ‘aha’ moments set in amongst the skaters—many of whom had been skating derby for less than 2 years (I felt pretty ancient in derby years). My second session was on Coaching Techniques for New Coaches where we spent the first hour on skates going through some of the skills that newer coaches have trouble breaking down to skaters, and then we spent the remainder of the session on coaching tips–how to structure a progressional session, catering for smaller or larger groups, tips on explaining drills, how to allow skaters to try things without over-coaching. Then we did a fun activity where we got small groups to design a quick 4 drill progressive training session based on a specific end goal.

It was a bit of a flying visit as I literally drove up and presented and then drove home again as I couldn’t stay all weekend, but the buzz was really great whilst I was there, and already skaters were chatting away about the new things they had learnt. I wish I had have had the chance to go to some of the sessions myself!

I’m really hoping it becomes an annual event. Oh and the Pudding Table at lunch was lusssssssh.”

A skater in action at UKROC. Photo courtesy of UKRDA's photographers.

A skater in action at UKROC. Photo courtesy of UKRDA’s photographers.

Attendee, Florence the Machine from Lincolnshire Bombers:

“I would encourage leagues to attend UKROC! The workshops I attended, throughout the weekend, were incredibly useful.

It was a great opportunity to network with some of the newer and older leagues within the UK roller derby scene.

I think UKROC gave a great opportunity to see how other leagues function – share in the troubles and successes of running a roller derby league and ask questions.

I think UKROC gave a great opportunity to see how other leagues function – share in the troubles and successes of running a roller derby league and ask questions.

There was a range of workshops to attend targeted at various levels and a particular highlight was having representatives from some of the most successful leagues in the UK and the other international roller derby associations, such as WFTDA and MRDA”.

From UKROC Organiser and UKRDA Secretary, Katy Gordon AKA Chasing Katy:

 “The UKRDA wanted to give the UK derby community the chance to come together and help progress the sport as a whole. We had seen the positive steps that have come out of EROC over the years, and conversations with UK league representatives there showed that there was a desire for a UK-based event where we could replicate that good work.

I think our secret is a lot of hard work! The board of directors is an extremely passionate group of volunteers who want to see UK derby grow and develop, and we want to do whatever we can to help in that endeavour. We are also completely at the mercy of our membership, which means that everything that UKRDA does is a direct result of them telling us what they want for the sport. Hopefully leagues see that in us and feel that we are working in their interests and offer their support.

The UKRDA wanted to give the UK derby community the chance to come together and help progress the sport as a whole.

…We had so many people involved and we are grateful to every single one of them. Firstly Sport England, who gave us a grant. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to hold UKROC, as that paid for the venue. The UKRDA board of directors, who recruited a key number of people, including heads of UKRDA committees, members of London Rollergirls, Auld Reekie Roller Girls, Kent Roller Girls, Glasgow Roller Derby, Milton Keynes Roller Derby, South West Angels of Terror, Seaside Sirens, Central City Rollergirls… We also had a fantastic list of sponsors… There really are too many people to name so I apologise to anyone I have missed!

We had over 100 delegates attending each day (some were there both days and others just came on one or other of the days), and around 40 speakers and organisers over the weekend.

We are very happy with how the event turned out… I think I can safely say that although we hoped UKROC would go well, none of us expected the level of good feeling, good ideas and good connections that were made over the course of the weekend… we are all definitely hoping it will happen again next year.

I think I can safely say that although we hoped UKROC would go well, none of us expected the level of good feeling, good ideas and good connections that were made over the course of the weekend… we are all definitely hoping it will happen again next year.

The UKRDA would like to thank all of the speakers, organisers and delegates who helped make UKROC so successful, because without them, none of this would have happened. It was great that MRDA president Graham Espe and WFTDA executive director Juliana Gonzalez travelled all the way from the US to UKROC, and their support has really helped us throughout. We hope that everyone who attended came away with new information, new skills and new connections that they can take back to their leagues and help them develop”.

UKRDA UKROC
Written by