In my quest to become the best roller derby player I can be, I am interviewing high-level skaters about their experiences with the sport. Their insight is incredibly helpful for skaters at any point in their journey! This interview covers The Smacktivist, #365 of the Ohio Roller Derby. Read on to find out what makes Smack awesome!
Get to Know Smack
When I interviewed The Smacktivist at Summer Affair* last year, I had no idea that I would be playing against them in the A2D2 Brawlstars’ first game of the 2016 season! I had the opportunity to play with them at Rollercon and against them at Summer Affair, but I never guessed I would be playing against them in a sanctioned bout.
The Smacktivist is primarily a jammer for the Ohio Roller Derby, but they are also a great blocker! I was impressed by their skills at Summer Affair and even more so by watching them during the 2015 WFTDA playoffs. Last year was their fourth season with Ohio, where they have been playing their entire derby career. Smack also plays for the Ohio All Stars and Berserker Coed, a coed team based in the midwest.
Derby Is My Day Job
The Smacktivist opened Next Level Skate Shop in October 2014, achieving the dream many skaters have of making derby their day job. Next Level Skate Shop provides training, gear classes, skates and equipment for roller derby skaters and other quad skaters. They are based in Columbus and sponsor Summer Affair. Before Smack opened Next Level Skate Shop, they worked at a gluten-free bakery and worked with people on the autism spectrum.
How To Approach Tryouts
Smack’s perspective on trying out for a team is to treat it like any other big game day. Smack says that being a roller derby athlete is a lifestyle, not a one time event. The Smacktivist trains hard and eats right so they are always tryout or game ready. They spend 6-10 hours on skates every week, and 10-15 hours with off skates training a week. During the off season, Smack focuses on strength building with heavier weights. During the season, they do HIIT and resistance HIIT while keeping up a lighter weightlifting regimen.
The Smacktivist practices ethical veganism and is gluten-free due to a gluten sensitivity. They eat lots of fruits and veggies, brown rice, and protein powder to fuel their training. When preparing for games or tryouts, they say to take the best care of yourself you can by focusing on the basics: eating well, hydrating, and using positive self-talk to avoid negative spirals.
Challenges and Goals
The biggest goal Smack has for the upcoming season is to design their training plan to peak around the time of playoffs. Of the many obstacles Smack has had during their derby career, they said, “Finding new ways to challenge and push myself at practices has been the most challenging thing for me.” Keeping derby fresh can be challenging for all of us at times, but it’s important to break out of our comfort zones if we want to grow. As a new captain of their team, Smack has also discovered the challenges that a leadership role can bring. “It can be hard to skate and control the bench at the same time,” they said.
Advice For New Skaters
When asked for their best advice for new skaters or skaters trying to get to the next level, The Smacktivist said, “Don’t just focus on the track. There’s more to being a high level skater than what’s happening on the track- off skates, diet, fundamental skills so you have something strong to build on. Find places to skate other than your own league to help give you a different perspective and keep it fresh. And remember, it’s a process. Enjoy it! Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to reach the end goal.”
The Smacktivist is a wonderful person on and off the track, and incredibly humble for someone so talented. Watch me go up against The Smacktivist in Columbus, Ohio on March 19!
*Summer Affair is a roller derby mixed scrimmage tournament with skills clinics throughout the weekend. This event is hosted by Cleveland Men’s Roller Derby, and you will see me there August 12-14. I had a blast last year and I will be teaching a clinic there this year, so come check it out!
Sass Magic is not a doctor, but she is passionate about healthy living and how it relates to roller derby.