BUILD YOUR BASICS :: Be a Better Butt

Mar 29, 2018 · 4 min read
It’s a good butt, Brent.

When I wrote the “Be a Better Brace” article, it occurred to me that a lot of the problems that arise for braces are because they:

  1. Don’t trust their butts.
  2. Their butts aren’t doing their job.
  3. A combination of 1 & 2. (It’s a vicious cycle, really.)

So here’s the deal butts:

And the opposing jammer loses. #sorrynotsorry

You might be wondering exactly what it is that a butt is supposed to do in the wall anyway. I mean, a butt is a butt is a butt, right?

Not quite.

I’ve already chastised the brace for trying to stop the jammer when that’s not truly their job, so the corollary is this:

The butt stops the jammer. Period.

In order of tactical importance:

1. Meet the contact.

Any space that you cede to the opposing team can provide them with an advantage, so you want to hold on to your space like Milton to his stapler:

The first chance for a jammer to force you to cede space is with their initial hit to the wall. This “hit” can come in one of two ways:

  • An actual, physical hit that tries to push you forward or pop you out of your blocking stance.
  • A juke that causes you to commit to a space that the jammer doesn’t need (or want) so that you give up the space that they do.

As a butt, your job is to meet the hit as it comes rather than anticipate where it will be.

If you’re looking at a jammer that traditionally bulldozes through the wall, you want to meet force with force by dropping into the neutral space behind you as the jammer comes at you. Think the Dip & Catch.

Jukey, agile jammers can be a little bit trickier which is where the rest of your butt jobs come in.

2. Guard YOUR lane.


What does that look like in gameplay?

Stop encroaching on lanes and space that aren’t yours. (Unless it belongs to an opposing skater. Then encroach away.)

The lane you get assigned probably depends a bit on your strengths and weaknesses, the way lanes are defined by your team, and how your walls strategy adjusts over the course of a game.

But your lane is your lane.

You stay there and guard it with your life. And you trust the other butts to stay in their lanes and guard them with their lives.


Learn more about lanes and zones here. Thanks Serenity Caldwell!

3. Plow your GD legs off.

And it’s true. Especially in today’s game. Any jammer can easily push an ineffective blocker out of the engagement zone without expending too much energy.

The name of the game here is to MAKE THEM EXPEND ENERGY.

Make them push you without having success. Make them juke from side to side without finding a space. Make them work.

Actually stopping against the force of a jammer is the best way to do this. Slow walls take away the two things a jammer needs to be most effective:

  • speed
  • space

If you want to give your brace the freedom to move in front of the jammer (thereby giving you non-verbal communication about where they are), then you need to rely primarily on your own stopping power.

Drop those hips and dig your edges in.

Butts are the bodyguards of the wall.

And throw your body in front of (jammer) bullets.



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I help roller derby athletes level up their game without giving up their life. ALSO: Mindset. Tea. Donuts. Introversion. Momming. Writing.