What is Roller Derby?
Derby City Roller Girls play flat track roller derby according to the latest rules and clarifications from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The latest full ruleset is downloadable at the WFTDA website.
The objectives of roller derby are relatively simple. Each team fields a single point scoring skater (“Jammer”) whose object is to lap as many opposing skaters as they can. The remaining skaters who aren’t scoring points work both on offense and defense at the same time – to block the opposing Jammer and to clear a path for their own Jammer. Well-played roller derby requires agility, strength, speed, control, peripheral vision, communication, and teamwork.
Setup & Scoring
- Each team fields five players at a time.
- Out of those five players, four are BLOCKERS and one is the JAMMER (point scorer).
- The four blockers from each team line up together and form a PACK, while the two jammers line up behind the pack, behind what is called the “jammer line.”
- The skater wearing the star on her helmet is the jammer. The skater wearing the stripe on her helmet is called the PIVOT. The pivot is the pack leader and defensive play caller, similar to football’s middle linebacker position.
- On the whistle (1 short blast), the pack begins moving and the jammers take off.
- On the first lap, the jammers earn no points, but the first jammer to legally pass each blocker on the opposing team and clear the pack is called LEAD JAMMER. You can tell if a skater is the Lead Jammer by looking at her designated jammer ref. He will point to the jammer and hold up an “L”. The Lead Jammer reserves the right to strategically end the jam before the two minutes are completed by repeatedly gesturing with her hands on her hips. If both jammers commit fouls on their first lap, there is no Lead Jammer in that jam and it will run for the full 2 minutes.
- Jammers lose Lead Jammer status if they are sent to the penalty box during the jam.
- After a jammer completes her initial lap, she scores 1 point for each opposing skater she passes.
- Jammers automatically score points against opposing skaters serving in the penalty box.
- Jammer referees hold up fingers at the conclusion of each lap for points just earned.
- Each two minute play is called a JAM.
- Between each jam, there are 30 seconds for teams to line up for the next jam.
- There are two halves in a game. Each half is 30 minutes long and has an unlimited number of jams.
- Teams may freely substitute players between jams, except for players stuck in the penalty box.
- Blocking with forearms, hands, elbows, or a helmet
- Tripping, kicking, or blocking with feet or legs
- Blocking while 20 feet ahead of or behind the pack (”out of play”)
- Intentionally destroying the pack, such as by taking a knee or leaving the track in a way which rendering the remaining players ineligible to block
- Blocking a skater in her back or head
- Blocking while out of bounds, or blocking a skater who is out of bounds
- Skating out of bounds to get around other skaters (”cutting the track”)
- Illegal procedures: false starts, too many skaters on the track
- Referees determine the game impact of each illegal action.
- A penalty costs thirty seconds of jam time in the box, served immediately.
- Refs point skaters to the box with one finger to indicate a major.
- A jammer in the box is released immediately if the other jammer also lands in the box.