Here at Team Scotland HQ, we are very proud to have our new Bench and Line-Up Managers – Techno (Kev) from London Rollergirls, and rEd & Baron (Ed) from Bairn City Rollers. With the World Cup only a few months away, we wanted to find out more about them and their thoughts and feelings as we appoach Manchester 2018. So we decided to ask them a few questions…
Tell me a little bit about yourself:
Ed: Well I’m Ed, also known as rEd & Baron and I started skating with Bairn City Rollers in January 2013. I went along for a taster session they were running and was instantly hooked and never looked back. I’ve been fortunate enough to make the last 2 Power of Scotland squads, and I’m in the current training squad with hopes to make it to the top 20 for the World Cup in Barcelona in April 2018.
Kev: Hi I’m Kev. I’m currently in the super cool position of being able to introduce myself as the Bench Manager of London Rollergirls A team London Brawling, and now Team Scotland Roller Derby. This is my third season as part of the Brawling leadership team, for the last 2 seasons I have been their LUM. During the last 2 and a bit years I have been fortunate enough to experience this sport at its very highest level. Working with athletes, managers and officials whose dedication, skill and drive to be the best is what inspires me. This sport is constantly evolving and being as good as the best from last year will see you nowhere next year. It is this relentless push for improvement that keeps me hooked on roller derby.
Why did you apply for Line-Up Manager/ Coach?
Ed:I wanted to support and help grow/build this Women’s team. I was already on the selection committee and when the position came up I jumped at the chance. I feel I owe so much to Women’s Derby and to a number of the women on this current squad, they have been major influences and mentors in my own derby career. Plus I want to grow and develop my own skills within the coaching, LUM, and Bench arena.
Kev: Working through a season from those early practices where nothing is going right, analysing, refining and drilling until you have an on point game is such a rewarding process. Then stepping out onto the track and testing your game plays against new opposition or old rivals is one of the most exciting things I can think of. The tactical nature of the game is what first caught my attention, the amount of simultaneous plays which go into top level roller derby is electrifying. As a bench manager I get to be involved in this process and those moments and this is incredibly rewarding.
What do you hope to achieve in your role?
Ed: I hope to draw on my own experiences of two world cups and to help feed that into the team. I’d like to bring out the individual strength of each skater to benefit the team in the best possible way. I’d also like to listen to what the skaters are needing/wanting and be a part of the team that delivers on that, and to help this awesome bunch achieve the best ranking Scotland has achieved at a World Cups games.
Kev: I hope to play my small part in Scotland achieving the best results they can during the world cup. During the process, I hope to assist each and every person on the team to improve as a player. I am confident that working with this great group of people will also improve me as a coach. Finally I want to ensure Scotland bring a super exciting dynamic game to the world cup that’s, fun to play, exciting to watch and intimidating to opponents.
You worked together for the first time when Team Scotland played the Brawl Saints. How did it go?
Ed: OMG it was like a weight was lifted hahaha, no seriously it was great, Kev bring such amazing experience from his years with LRG and also the time he spent officiating. It so refreshing to work with someone who comes from a completely different angle – Kev as an official/coach, me as a player/coach, which compliments each other I think. We both have a similar calm temperament on the bench which is so important to keep the team focused, I think we will work well together (Christ I hope so as I believe I have a lot to learn from him).
Kev: Yeh it was a crazy quick turn around from being voted into the role I think it was less than a week until the Brawl Saints game. So for me this was really a great opportunity to meet the team and gain an understanding of how they play. The good news is the team were great, super eager, analytical and improving throughout the game. The result wasn’t what we would have hoped for but a tough game against a well-drilled opposition is a great way to identify where to focus our training over the next few months. Oh and then there’s Ed what can I say about Ed…. Cool and calm under pressure, he knows the game inside out and has the respect of the players. Exactly what you want from bench staff.
How are you preparing for the World Cup?
Ed: Spending as much time as I can with the team at training sessions, making sure I understand the workings of each player so that I always put the best possible line up on track for each jam. Continue to build the teams trust in me so they know I have the best for the team at heart and deliver on that at each game we play, oh and shedding a stone or three so I look damn sexy should I appear on the live stream…., well a man can wish can’t he!!
Kev: The team are training super hard under the excellent guidance of the Team Scotland coaching committee. Unfortunately this is a very busy time of the season for me personally so I am not able to be around as much as I would like. I’m keeping up to date with progress and eager to up my involvement as we continue towards the world cup.
What are you looking forward to most in the World Cup?
Ed: Everything, every game, just seeing how all the hard work that this current squad are putting in pays off for them as a team and as individuals, expect tears as I cry like a proud parent when we beat USA in the final………., oh and the after party.
Kev: Being part of Team Scotland at the world cup.
I have never been involved in national team roller derby before, but I have been a fan at both previous world cups. I remember hearing Flower of Scotland being belted out in a massive concrete warehouse in Toronto and thinking that’s where I should be. There is something about representing your country that is special and now I have the chance to be involved. It gives me goosebumps just saying it.
Any words of advice for other Bench/Line-up Managers
Ed: LUM, know your team, their strengths, their weaknesses, remember the Team comes first at all times, grow a pair of eyes in the back of your head, you’ll need them. Remain calm at all times, tensions can raise on the bench from time to time and the team need you to remain calm and make decisions for them at times. Communicate at all times with your skaters and bench and most of all have fun and enjoy.
Kev: Do it its great. Take whatever opportunities you can, spend as much time with the team as possible get to know what makes individuals tick and how the team interact. Finally remember you are there as support staff, a facilitator to allow the team to do what they do to the beat of their ability.