What’s On introduces the Abu Dhabi Roller Derby. Find out how to sign up, the benefits of roller skating. Now learn how to roller skate.

Blocker’, ‘jammer’, ‘whip’. These are just a handful of the intimidating words you will come across shortly after dipping a toe (or wheel) into roller derby. But don’t be put off, says Sue Mercer, aka Rolla Moll, the president of the all-girl Abu Dhabi Roller Derby, which is on the lookout for new recruits. She’s out to prove this once-niche sport – now being considered for the 2020 Olympic Games – is a fast route to fun and fitness.

What’s the aim of the game?
Both teams skate in the same direction around an oval track. One player from each team of five is the jammer. The remaining eight players, called blockers, make up the pack. The goal is for each team to get their jammer through the pack while at the same time block the opposing team’s jammer.

How do you score points?
Every time the jammer laps a member of the opposing pack they score a point.

Are there rules or is it a case of anything goes?
Sometimes it can feel like being in a washing machine with a bag of cats on wheels, but there are actually lots of rules and a lot of strategy going on. A lot of people think you can elbow your opponents out of your way, but you’re only allowed to hit with your torso, so you need a lot of balance and agility.

Abu Dhabi Roller Derby profile

Do you need to be ultra-fit?
We’re taking on girls who aren’t, but obviously we’re working on building up fitness week on week.

What skills do you need?
Apart from being fit, you need a strong core and a good amount of flexibility. Also, the ability to read the game, so that you can predict what people are going to be doing and position yourself well.

What kit do you need?
Skates, kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and a helmet. We’re really safety conscious, because there is a lot of falling over.

What’s your signature move?
Probably a fast hockey stop. When I’m skating I can stop almost instantly using both feet, and change direction.

Tel: (05) 62179372. facebook.com/abudhabirollerderby

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into playing full time, you can start by incorporating skates into your workout. Rolla Moll and the rest of the team show us how…

Thought the plank couldn’t get any harder? Try doing it while balancing on a set of wheels. The idea is to lie flat, then push up on to your forearms and toes, engaging your core. Hold.  Then it’s on to push-ups.

Abu Dhabi Roller Derby profile

When you are in your plank position, press firmly up on to your hands, keeping your spine straight and your core activated. Bend your elbows to lower and lift. You’ll be working up a sweat in no time.

From standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, roll the shoulders back and extend the arms out in front of you, then lower your hips down as though sitting on an invisible chair.

Knee drops
From a standing position, step forward with one leg, bending forward until both knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Keep your front knee directly above the ankle, and keep the back knee just off the floor.