Falling is learning

Black and white photo of a skater lying on the floor
Photo by Roller Derby on Film

One of our favourite mantras at SSRD is the short and sweet ‘falling is learning’ (Also known as: Fall down seven times, get up eight – Japanese proverb) (Also also known as: I get knocked down, but I get up again, you ain’t never gonna keep me down – Chumbawamba ;))

A common fear people have when they start playing roller derby is that they will fall. Sometimes this fear might even stop people from giving it a try in the first place. And this fear is born from the idea that falling is somehow bad, or shameful. That falling is something to be avoided.


We play a sport where we wear wheels on our feet, skate fast, and hit each other. Hard. It’s pretty safe to say that you WILL fall over. Not only that: you SHOULD fall over. IT’S AWESOME. It’s proof to yourself that your brain and body are trying their hardest to translate some brand new strange concept into action. It doesn’t matter how long someone has been playing roller derby: if you watch them try new things, they will fall. And if you watch them closely, you’ll see them pick themselves up, grinning, and try that new thing again. And again. And again. Until they’ve nailed it. All of that falling is totally worth it, and totally necessary, to learning the New Thing.

Because falling is learning! If you’re not falling, you’re not learning.

Plus – we wear lots and lots of padding. You know why? Because we do lots and lots of falling. And when you fall wearing lots and lots of padding, it feels fine. It even feels fun! Learning to do 360 knee slides in huge knee pads? SO FUN.

Double plus! When you fall you can get excellent bruises. Who doesn’t want to show off all their multicoloured roller derby souvenirs?

All of this means that whether you’re a brand new skater or a five year veteran, you should never feel any embarrassment about falling – the only bad way to fall is to refuse to get back up again.*

So what are you waiting for? Get your skates on (and all your pads), and get falling!

*or if you fall really hard on your butt and can’t walk for a week. That’s a bad fall. Don’t do that fall. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *