Yesterday was the second session of Ref School with the Birmingham Blitz.
This is the session where everyone has to bring in a drawing (or print off for the artistically uncoordinated) of an animal, coloured in to show the legal target and blocking zones.
It is brilliant because it gives me the opportunity to ask a class full of adults if the “legal blocking zones shown on this bear” are correct.
Most of the drawings were bang on. We had a discussion about where the mid-thigh point is on an alligator. That’s the important stuff I put into Ref School. I can’t believe other leagues are using this across the globe. I almost feel like I should issue an apology.
Thing is, doing this may seem daft, but it’s useful because it gets new refs thinking about different body shapes, not just looking at that androgynous outline in the WFTDA rulebook and thinking in a black and white *THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HIT, THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN BE HIT* way. It makes you consider torso lengths, long limbs and whether you can give a whip with a tail (jokes).
We spent more time than the plan suggested talking about the pack. Acted it out in the room, discussed engagement zones and the varying P penalties that you can get for nonesense within the pack. Bar one person who is pretty fresh to roller derby, this group seems really ON IT. They ask really good questions, answer things for eachother and some of them even read ahead on the syllabus.
Even that one newer person was like AH YEAH, I GET IT NOW. This shit took me MONTHS to understand.
I’m taking it as a compliment that I can teach it to people faster than I picked it up myself. Next week we’re talking blocking and counter-blocking. I might let them hit me.