Shocker Khan - Change: What is it good for? Absolutely Everything!

FOLLOW: Commentary
Since opening 2N1 Skate Shoppe and starting my blog, Shocker Khan's G Spot (the G stands for Gear, pervert), I've swapped one piece of equipment for something new and shiny that just came onto the market on a regular basis.  At first, it was a bit unnerving to having to adapt to new gear, but once I started traveling to lead Roller Derby boot camps, I found myself having to get used to multiple new skating surface on a weekly basis.  After sticking with this torture regimen for a few months, I realized I was adapting quicker to each change than the one before and was able to focus on the gear I was testing instead of just trying to keep my feet under me.  For years I had always brought 3-5 sets of wheels with me when I traveled in order to be prepared for any track surface, now it's rare for me to bring more than one (unless the sets are for skaters to check out from 2N1's Wheel Library).

Being able to adapt to a new situation is useful when it comes to different wheel harnesses or skating surfaces, but it applies to just about any changes you encounter.  Employers appreciate workers who can quickly make rational decisions when faced with new challenges, group members idolize leaders who logically consider and react to new issues, and teammates value fellow team members who are able to overcome never-before-seen obstacles on the playing field.  Adapting to change may seem completely logical in theory; however, many tend to have an instinctual reaction against change, even when it would most likely improve the current situation. 

When the new WFTDA rules changes were announced, the groans could immediately be heard far and wide.  From the pages of FaceBook to skating around the track, skaters complained that the new rules would cause more problems than they would solve or wouldn't be properly enforced by officials.  The majority of gripes I encountered were illogical and voiced by those who had not yet even skated in a bout, or even scrimmage, governed by the recent changes.  After skating in 3 bouts with the new WFTDA rules, I must say I absolutely LOVE them.  The scores have remained lower and closer than they surely would have been under the old ruleset due to halving time spent in the box as well as the changes to cut-track and direction-of-play penalties. In fact, I have yet to find any negative repercussions from the new rules and attribute this to WFTDA's properly researching and testing them prior to implementation.  Those griping about them likely either misinterpreted or had a knee-jerk reaction instead of actually trying to understand the changes or waiting until they tried them out on the track before passing judgement.

Changes from the WFTDA trickle down to leagues directly and indirectly and the speed at which leagues adapt to them can indicate how well they will adapt to other issues as they arise.  Leagues that treat proposed changes like heresy and those that propose them as heretics only hurt themselves in the long run.  Just like the athlete who stops pushing themselves to perform new and more difficult feats, organizations stagnate when they suppress proposed changes brought forth by their members.  Now, I'm not saying all new ideas should be implemented or even seriously considered, but if there is a logical explanation and/or research behind the proposal, only the most controlling leaders fearful of losing power would dismiss it outright.

I recently encountered a group that was so vehemently opposed to change, they wouldn't consider making changes to their policies when all parties involved agreed the current policies were obsolete and potentially dangerous.  After realizing the group was set in their ways and comfortable with their complacency, I quickly extracted myself.  I have no problem with mediocrity, as long as it doesn't take over anything with which I'm involved.  Those who are comfortable resting on their laurels need to do so out of the way of those striving to improve themselves.

It's human nature to notice change.  This ability helps us detect things in our environment that could be dangerous or cause us to act in some way, so many times our first instinct is to react negatively towards any change, even if it would result in a positive outcome.  Once you get used to analyzing, researching, and discussing the reasoning behind proposed changes, it starts to become second nature.  You stop reacting to new ideas as if they were root canals and actually start welcoming or even yourself proposing changes.

Trying out new wheels, being challenged with advanced and/or new skills at practice, or proposing changes to league policies should be embraced because better skaters, teams, and leagues are born through these actions.  Next time you are faced with a new opportunity, try suppressing your first instinct and instead really consider the possible ramifications, positive and negative, before making a decision.  The outcome may surprise you.

Until we skate again,

***Edited to add: I've heard from many who wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of this article and want the message to be spread far and wide.  If you agree, share this article with your friends through social media or post on your message boards then add a comment below.  This will enter you into a drawing for some goodies from 2N1 Skate Shoppe!***

About The Author

DOB: 6/2/1978

I'm an Alaskan chick who discovered Roller Derby (and started skating) 5 years ago and never looked back! For 4 seasons, I skated for the Rage City Rollergirls who are based in Anchorage, and last season I skated with the Boom Town Derby Dames of the Mat-Su Valley. Currently I'm a free agent, skating with leagues around the state and will consider any invitations from leagues to bout with them.

I travel around the world to lead boot camps and gear workshops for beginner-intermediate level leagues and, in addition to writing blog posts for Roller Derby Nation, I write the popular gear blog "Shocker Khan's G Spot." 

Three years ago, my partner and I opened 2N1 Skate Shoppe, the first and only Roller Derby Pro shoppe in the state of Alaska, which has become famous in the Roller Derby community for excellent product selection as well as quick and helpful customer service.  2N1 is also where you will find the super popular "Wheel Library" where, for $20, skaters can check out a set of wheels for 2 weeks in order to try before they buy.

To set up a boot camp or gear workshop (the later can be done over Skype), request a custom DerbyPunk item, or get answers/advice about gear, send an e-mail to and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Until we skate again!


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I actually just bouted with the new rules and I love them. Especially the 30 seconds in the box! Haha.


Hoochie Allure

Agree with you Shocker, as humans he inherently dislike change... Even if it is a better solution. Some just can't wrap their minds around anything new. If there is a better way to do something I want to hear why or see how. We are all subject to the human condition and are imperfect so therefore we can ALWAYS improve in whatever we do. Whether it's a physical activity, job efficiency, or how we communicate with others, we can always strive to improve for the betterment of ourselves, society, team or others.


great article, as always, Shocker! shared!


Towanda Breeze

I just started skating and I know these sentiments well. But with making constant changes can come constant's hard work but worth it for a more developed skater, team, and league


Sarbanes Foxie

As in derby, as in life, be water. Accept the change and reform! Great article.


Fruit Punch

We are experiencing this in our league as well. We are trying to improve our training and grow as a league, but we're having issues with those same skaters who dig their heels (er, toestops?) in and refuse the changes. Easier when those changes come from way over our heads (ex. WFTDA ruleset changes), but the little things like training strategy and attendance/committee requirements are tripping some people up. I think that maintaining a positive outlook and being willing to at least listen to and consider changes is key in keeping the peace in a league, and growing as a skater and a teammate.


Titan Young

I try really hard not to resist change and have found that you are right. Change (when well thought out and implemented) can be a major improvement! Love your articles Shocker!


Angry Aries

Great article! Skated in two bouts with the new rules! No problems here!
Personally love the 30 sec penalties except when I'm NSO
in the box! Shared with our league...thanks!! Derby❤️


Taylor Made

I have pros and cons on the new rules, but love the 30 penalties, speeds up the game. But having to relearn a new rule set possibly 1 to twice a year is a hassle.  PS, I love your wheel library, makes finding wheels easier than spending a bunch on something you hate and stuck with them. Just had to say that lol.


Fresh Meat Yet

This is interesting. I'm a fresh meat, but between teeth I complained I have to do 27/5 when it used to be 25/5. This article however has giving me a new insight and something I need to put in practise. Change is good. It helps us be better than we were yesterday. Thanks for witting, Shocker.


Katy Scarey

Change is integral to bettering ourselves and our teams! We just have to become more accepting of change and learn to embrace it. <3 I think 30 second penalties are an interesting rule change, and I think I like it!


I know it will take time for the new rules to settle out.. but I've heard nothing but good about them so far. Not a skater myself, but my stepdaughter is, and her younger sisters have shown some interest as well. One is in the between age, just waiting another year til she's 21 and the younger one spent some time in junior derby. And my husband has been following and I know would love to ref if his schedule wasn't always so crazy.. So of course we're sharing this and wanting in :) We do love the skate shoppe and know that, if we win, the whole lot of them will be competing to see who actually gets things :)


Ms. Judgment

Change is hard.  We get set in our ways and our thinking and it's difficult to change.  But those that adapt to change the quickest have the biggest advantage.  Think of it as getting a head start...


Interesting read, thank you


Macon A. Ruckus

I tell my daughter, whenever in a new place, new foods, or any new experience, you never know if you are ever going to get the chance to do this again..... so try it.  You may regret it if the chance has passed you by with no chance of return.  Sometimes things are only once in a lifetime, others we have several attempts to try something new.  Old and routine is comfortable and safe.  We know what to expect, even if we curse the repetitive nature and say we are bored.  We might be bored, but don't attempt to make a change.  We always have the ability to complain and that will never change.


Rumble Bee Marie

I agree change is hard. But, without it, great opportunities are missed. (I shared on my league's private FB page)


Rancid Randi

Great read!  I transferred leagues last year, and went from WFTDA to USARS.  My initial reaction was very sour, but I grew into it and ended up loving the different rule set.  Now I try to remind myself of how nice that change was when faced with other areas of change in derby.


Fantastic article Shocker Khan! Shared!


Nique Havoc

I recently transitioned from MADE to WFTDA rules. I have to admit I was very intimidated by the amount of rules (compared to MADEs 5 pages of rules), but that wasn't going to stop me from trying something new. In my mind derby is derby. I always try my best to have an open mind and so far I'm liking WFTDA rules.


bella hooker

Great read! Change can be terrifying, but a necessary evil to combat becoming stagnant. This article is great for derby and life. Thanks for putting so much thought into it. And thanks for the blog, I really enjoy it :)



change is inevitable. nice article. thanks.


Well written.


great article.  Thank you


Eiffel Power

Great blog post!  It takes more self-discipline and perseverance to adapt and adjust to changes, be it floor type OR rule set.  Thanks for the encouragement!  


Change is always painful. Once we accept the inevitability of it then we become a positive part of that change. Great article!