Bout Planning – Top Tips from the South West

The SW:UK 2014 Roller Derby season is well under way and the bout planners are in action mode!

It takes a lot of time and planning to pull everything together for a full day of Derby fun so S.W.A.T skater and Bout Co-ordinator Queena Hearts, caught up with a few of the other teams in the South West to compile a list of their top tips for organising an exciting day for everyone.

This is probably the most important tip and it was something we all agreed on! Just remember, at the end of the day all you REALLY need is rope, tape, skaters and officials.

I swear by my diary and so does Clawley, who skates with North Devon Team The Devon Clotted Screamers. This doesn’t just apply to bout planning but to the skaters and training team too. Set yourself deadlines, and if you delegate a job make sure that person also has a deadline!

Derby girls can never have enough “big ass to do lists” (Madame Warfare) to keep you organised; nobody’s brain can hold all the information for a bout so make useful reminders. Clawley said:

“It helps to focus you on what needs to be done and means you don’t miss obvious things that can be overlooked.”


There’s so much to do for a bout, Madame Warfare from Cornwall Roller Derby suggests:

“Keeping ahead of as many deadlines as possible as it’s important not to procrastinate.”

Everyone I spoke to said the same as Bristol Roller Derby skater Tequila Jammer:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you won’t lose respect!”

This also applies to asking for advice, there are other people that have organised bouts for your team and in your area, they will have learnt from experience so ask them for tips! 
Your teammates may also have suggestions, they would probably love to be involved and it will bring the whole team closer together. You may not be comfortable asking for help but I agreed with ClaireBear from GrinnBarum when she said:

“Never refuse help, it relieves stress”

As much as I want to be, I am not Wonder Woman. I know I can’t do everything, so it’s important to share the jobs out; for my own and everyone else’s sanity.  Tequila Jammer says she has a great bunch of people she can rely on…

“Your people are your best asset and it makes it all much easier.”

Our coaches tell us to communicate more on the track and we should be doing the same off the track! This was one of ClaireBear’s tips:

“Ensure everyone who is involved within the bout is in the loop of the organising” 

And make sure you don’t forget to update them regularly!

Clawley recommends:

“Talk to the person with the money – they will let you know if the event is doable”

Madame Warfare also suggests:

“Keep on top of ticket sales if not using an automatic ticket system; if you go too long without doing it then it gets confusing.”

Don’t forget income is equally important as spendings.

If you know people who can do something better than you, then call in the favours, perhaps in exchange for a ticket to your event or give them a shout out on your Facebook or Twitter pages. The great thing about roller derby is that your teammates come from all walks of life and will most likely have connections somewhere for what you need!

Unexpected things can happen so it’s important to have back up plans. Madame Warfare said:

“Have back up content for bout programs if advertisers pull out or don’t get artwork to you in time, such as word searches, skater profiles etc.”

Be prepared to change the plan on the day or fill time if a serious injury occurs.

Planning a bout isn’t easy but…

“It would be a lot more difficult if we didn’t have all the great volunteers being so damned good and seamless at what they do” states Tequila Jammer, 
”so make sure to show your gratitude to your helpers.”

12. Our final tip
comes from ClaireBear because she summed it up so much better than I could:

“Stay focused. Be bossy, not overly but firm. Delegate. Smile.”


And now it’s time to listen to my own advice, I have a Final to plan!


Many thanks to all the SW:UK Roller Derby bout planners for their contributions;

Tequila Jammer – Bristol Roller Derby

Madame Warfare – Cornwall Roller Derby

Clawley – Devon Clotted Screamers

ClaireBear - Grin ’N’ Barum.

Love n shoves, Queeny.

For more information about the upcoming bouts in the South West UK Season head over to our facebook page and click ‘like’:


Grin n BarumCornwall Roller Derby Devon Clotted Screamers

Bristol Roller DerbySWAT


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