Roller derby is a hectic sport and winning requires strategy and focus. Bench coaches do their best to run a smooth bench so that you can play your best! No matter what type of bench coaching your league employs, there are ways that you as a skater can maximize the team’s potential by supporting your bench coaches during a game. So without further ado:
The 10 Commandments of Roller Derby Bench Etiquette
- BE PREPARED: Do you require a special tool for your skates? Do you need extra water to get you through the game? Do you need tissues? Make sure you leave the locker room with everything you need so one of your coaches doesn’t have to go find it for you during play!
- BE MENTALLY STRONG: Your coach is not your therapist and cannot solve your existential crisis during the game, even though they really want to help. Please rely on your teammates to support you emotionally, it makes you stronger as a team!
- BE RESILIENT: Your coaches cannot make the officials call penalties or magically make the other team stop committing them. We understand that someone may have back blocked you, but we can’t change it. Trust that your coach wearing the A is already going to battle for you and your teammates where it counts!
- BE SELF-SUFFICIENT: Your coach is not your maid, nor do they memorize which water bottle is yours. If you spill water, clean it up! Pick up your own trash!
- BE FOCUSED: When you are told to go to the ready bench, GO. Your line up coach is already planning two or three jams ahead. If you aren’t sitting where you are supposed to, then they have a hard time planning. Also, your line needs to talk to you before you hit the track!
- BE PRESENT: Do not stand 5 feet behind the bench and expect to get playing time. If you aren’t where the line up coach can see you, they can’t play you.
- BE PATIENT: Your line up coach will gladly give you a rest for a couple jams if you need it but now you have to wait to be worked back into the rotation. Don’t demand playing time.
- BE HELPFUL: Do not make your bench coach pull the cover off your helmet. Nobody wants that. Their outstretched hand is asking for the cover back, not a high five. Of course, if you need a high five, they will surely oblige!
- BE APPRECIATIVE: Even though all the above applies, your bench coaches are there for you and for the team. Trust them. They have your back. And even if you forget tissues or wrenches or duck tape or whatever else you needed, they probably have it on the bench for you anyway, they are cool like that! Need a hug? They probably have that too! They might even have skittles, for that emergency sugar rush!
- BE EVERYTHING: So many times the difference between feeling good or not after a game, regardless of who won or lost, is made on the bench. Did you support your teammates? Did they support you? Did you have fun? Did you try to make sure other people were having fun? Where you positive? Were you calm? If everyone on the bench remembers these things, the game will go smoothly, your teammates will feel great and your bench coaches will love you for it! Remember that this is a game and it is supposed to be FUN!
By Coach K-Mo