How to make a slide board and booties – for cheap!

Using slide boards as dryland training for ice and roller sports is not a new concept. According to an article by Lisa Mercer on livestrong.com, slide board training can improve your functional fitness, give you an aerobic workout and help strengthen the knee area – all applicable to roller derby!

When I saw this blog by Kevin Jagger, with instructions on how to build a slide board, I was quickly inspired to build a version of my own to assist in my roller derby training. Sharing the post within my league training committee, my teammate Knotty Knockher was also recently inspired by the same DIY post. Off we went to the local building supply store to scope out materials.

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My finished slide board and booties made with reusable shopping bag.

I was less interested in a rigid board for the base and more interested in keeping the unit light in weight. You may prefer a more rigid base to lean up against a wall for storage. Visit the panel and shelving section of your building supply store and look for materials which suit your needs best!

When choosing your base, be sure to test the surfaces for their slippery factor! We ran sleeved hands over each surface to give them a preliminary check. We found a slick 1/8in thick 8ft x 4 ft hardboard panel which we split the cost. After Knotty spotted damage on the panel, we received a further discount! Finding a large panel to split with a teammate will keep costs low.

The rest of the materials, the bumpers and hardware, Knotty and I had around the house. After getting our 8ft x 4ft panel cut into 8ft x 2ft sections by the lumber associate, we parted ways to work on our projects.

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Materials include a base which is slippery, wood for the ends, screws long enough to secure the ends, tape measure and tools.

Below are my instructions for the slide board, as well as the slide booties, using basic materials. Be sure to check out videos at the end of this post which show you how to use your new slide board! Have you made your own version of a slide board? I would love to hear about it in comments!

Slide board materials list:

• (1) 1/8in, 8ft x 2ft hardboard
(Cost: $4.85 split from an 8ft x 4ft panel)
(1) 8ft, 2in x 3in lumber
(Cost: less than $4)

Tools needed:

• Tape measure and pencil
• Drill
• Screws of appropriate length
• Saw

Slide board instructions (see photos for details):

  1. Cut 2 – 2ft pieces off the 2×3 lumber
  2. Flip the slippery side down of the base panel toward the floor
  3. Place the first 2×3 bumper under the base and line it up so it’s flush with the base end
    TIP: place the unused part of your 2×3 under the board to help stabilize the position
  4. Drill screws to secure
  5. Determine distance of second board bumper
    (My panel was cut to 6ft in length because it was a discounted damaged panel, so my slide board is 6ft long. You can leave your board at 8ft and start your bumper where you are most comfortable. You can always extend your board out if you sand the previous holes in)
  6. Drill screws to secure

DONE! This took me about 15 minutes to complete after I assembled all materials.

How to make booties (see photos for details):

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I found a small bag so I cut down the side panels to make two booties. If you only have a larger bag, you may use the side panels as the booties.

Materials:

• Reusable shopping bag
• Scissors
• 2 shoelaces
• Poking device (I used a pencil)

Dig out all your fabric shopping bags. Put them on your feet, step on your board and figure out which one will work best for sliding. I chose a smaller lunch-style bag which had a plastic-like surface. It fit my feet perfectly.

Cut the bag in half down the side panels. If you have to use a larger bag, you can use the side panels of the bag for the bottom of your foot and cut around.

Put on the shoes you plan on sliding in. I chose old airwalks because I was worried my gym shoes would be too grippy through the bootie.

Put the cut bags over your feet and fold it around your shoes to create a secure fit. Then poke holes and thread a shoelace to create the bootie. I double-folded around the toe area for extra reinforcement.

Tie your laces so you are comfy and secure!

Sliding on the slide board tips and first impressions

Overall I like the effect of the booties and board, especially after applying a light coating of Pledge. The slide board isn’t very heavy, but the thin base could snap if I pick it up without supporting the ends. I have the bumpers well secured, but I’m worried if I get a lot of momentum, I may pull the screws through the thin base with heavy force. I will update here if that happens! But for under $10, I’ll take what I have!

Other tips include:

  • Position the board against a wall to limit shifting during use.
  • Place weights on either side of the board to also limit shifting.
  • Socks or leg warmers also work for booties.
  • Using pledge on the board makes a HUGE difference! (See comparison videos below.)

Without pledge

With pledge

Slide board training!

Kevin Jagger – how to build a slideboard

Slide board technique

21 slide board exercises

I would love to hear about your slide board experience! Has using one made you a stronger skater? What’s your favourite exercise using the slide board?

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Take a knee

Two weekends ago I played in a most amazing roller derby tournament, Flat Track Fever. I skated in Calgary’s Olympic Oval, which was amazing and also got to watch some amazing skill in women’s, men’s, co-ed and junior bouts.

The Wednesday prior to the tourney, I got tangled and took and bad spill at practice. I went down on my butt with legs forward and my knees bent out, essentially making a W with my lower body when I fell. I found out later that the impact of the inside of my knees hitting the floor in that way, I sprained my LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) on my left leg, which is the ligament on the outside of the knee.

I sprained the Lateral Collateral Ligament

Thinking I could push through and fear of letting my team down, I went to the tournament and played in 2 games. I had fun but was always aware of the throbbing in my knee.

Fast forward to the week following; more throbbing, swelling and feeling that my knee was filling with fluid prompted me to visit a physiotherapist who diagnosed me with a ‘Grade 2’ sprain and now I’m off skates and have regular visits to therapists to try and fix me.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my initial injury and I’m still limping, I still have to ice it and simple tasks like getting in and out of a car make me groan like I’m 70. I’m terribly frustrated. I can’t imagine what skaters who have worse injuries than myself, like full tears or broken bones, have to go through.

Injury prevention is on my mind.

I found this great article – 6 Ways to Ruin Your Knees – where they talk to derby girl Iron Maiven who tore her ACL.

But thinking a little further beyond published articles about cross-training, stretching, resting, etc., I started to recall lower-body injuries that happened within my league or that I witnessed. A common theme started to surface.

Most of them happened when the skater fell on her butt.

In fresh meat, you’re taught the importance of keeping your balance forward and taking a knee(s) when you fall. You often learn that lesson quickly after the first sting of a tailbone bash. Also coaches are quick to remind new skaters to fall correctly if they witness a flailing fall to the posterior.

But after the fresh meat phase, basic reminders like ‘fall to your knees’ often don’t get spoken to the veteran skaters. Warmups involving single or double knee falls are often looked at as trite distractions until it’s time for drills and scrimmaging.

Dare I say veteran skaters become complacent to the importance of knee falls? I know I did.

Track action happens so fast that a fall to the butt is sometimes unavoidable. Hell, I’ve spontaneously fallen to my ass while at a stand still.

However it begs the question, after fresh meat training, are we doing enough to continue to make sure knee falls are instinctual?

If I ever get back on skates (and I realize I’m being dramatic but I’m super cranky that I’m not feeling any improvement in my knee today so bear with me) I plan on filling my free-skate time with shifting weight to my heels and lurching forward to avoid a potential ass-fall.

Bionic awesomeness!

I’d love to hear what you think… are you complacent with how you fall during a game? Do you think about it? When you fall improperly, do you take steps to improve so it doesn’t happen again or do you chalk it up to a one-time event under specific circumstances?

PS: Since writing this post I’ve had another visit with my physiotherapist. He took pity on me and fitted me with this sexy new leg brace which makes walking much more comfortable even though it looks massively hindering. I really want to make 6 Million Dollar Man sound affects when I walk now.

Na-na-na-na-naaahh