Roller Derby Tips: Skate-care as Self-care
by Kat Marshall (aka Kat Teabags)
Off season is over and everyone is back at it! The harsh reality of stuffing our feet back into our skates again starts to hit home. In derby, the only way to beat the off season blues is by pampering yourself, and the best way to do this is by pampering your skates.
Now, I'm not here to judge. Really I'm not. I just want to give you some options for when you do have five minutes to show your skates some loving and, in return, they will love you back!
First things first! Check the state of your insoles. I'm not saying go out and buy insoles for hundreds of dollars. But if the ones you have in your skates right now are falling apart or wearing through, it may be time to update them! And please (still no judging) check under your insoles. You have no idea what can get under there!
So, you're not a full time jammer, or you don't really use them? Just take a second to check where they are. Some toe nail problems can be solved simply by lowering the toe stops, or the opposite if you feel you are tripping over them constantly.
And don't forget to check that toe stop screw. If you keep fiddling with your toe stops during practise or when changing wheels, just give it a once over. All bolts can become threaded and that is not the end of the world, your local skate shop should be able to order you a new one in without breaking the bank, or your plates!
We all know we are supposed to clean our bearings, but do you also know you can give your wheels a wipe down at the same time? The amount of dust and fluff and even hair(!) that loves to get in and around them can be quite eye opening. Some wheels can feel slippery but they could just have a layer of dust collected.
A rather pressing matter I am starting to notice is that we are not checking out cushions. And I am not taking about furniture!
For those who don't know, your cushions (are also known as bushings) are the colourful and sometimes squishy bits on your trucks. Cushions are very person dependent and some of us never think to change them. The standard issue cushion is not always the best for you.
Are you loosening your trucks constantly or struggling to find an edge? Try a softer cushion! Are you tightening your trucks and getting too much reaction to the point you feel like you are skating through butter? Try harder cushions. Your stature and experience can all affect what cushions will work better for you.
If you have never changed your cushions, give them a look over and if they are spilling over or looking like exploding marshmallows, consider investing in some new ones. They will only set you back approx. $20 AUD and can give you back the edge you've been looking for!
Take care of your skates and take care of yourself. Try and give them a once over and if you can pop them out in the sun to dry them out and kill off some of that bacterial and smell!
About the Author:
Kat Teabags of the Victorian Roller Derby League Demons and Roller Girl Gang, is a seasoned skate maintenance expert.