Roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in America. Chances are you've heard of it, but you may not know much about it. Although Roller Derby has been around for years, today's version of the sport may be much different than what you remember. First of all, we play on a flat track. Although there are some banked track derby teams, most skaters play flat track derby. The roller derby of the past was usually staged and something closer to WWE than to the sport we play today. No more clothes-lining your opponent or throwing people over the rails; we have specific rules we have to follow. We have specified target zones and hitting zones. We train hard and play harder.
There are 5 players on each team:
1 Jammer. The Jammer is the Point Scorer. The Jammer wears ahelmet cover with the Star on it.
1 Pivot. The Pivot is the blocker who stays to the front of the pack and regulates pack speed. The pivot also has the unique ability exchange places with the jammer. The pivot can be identified by the stripe on her helmet.
3 Blockers. A blocker is a skater whose job is to stop or block the other team’s jammer from passing and also help their own team’s jammer to score. There are four blockers per team on the track, including the pivot.
The pivot & the blockers make up the pack – their job is to stop the opposing team’s jammer from breaking though the pack & scoring, all the while helping their own jammer advance.
Derby Games are called Bouts.
Bouts are played on an oval track with two competing teams. The pivots & blockers from both teams skate together on the track to form a single pack.
The jammers must skate and muscle their way through the pack and completely exit it to gain the ability to score points. Once the jammer makes their way out of the pack, they then race around the track in order to lap the pack. At this point, each time either jammer passes a member of the other team, they score one point for their team. The first jammer that legally passes through the pack first wins the status of lead jammer.
A jam ends when the two minute time period is over or the lead jammer calls off the jam.
WFTDA has an extensive set of rules and can be found on WFTDA.com. Rules are enforced by Referees (skating officials) and NSOs (non-skating officials).
Referees are lovingly called Zebras because of their stripes. NSO's, we call Flamingos because they wear pink.
In a roller derby bout, you'll see seven referees. Two inside pack referees, each jammer has a jam referee, and three outside pack referees. A referee will call a penalty, but also use hand signals.