How To Play Roller Derby
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Roller derby is a full contact sport & an exciting game to watch. The basic rules are fairly simple, once you pick up the lingo!
The object of the game is to score the most points by lapping opposing team members on the track. A roller derby game is called a Bout. Each Bout consists of multiple Jams. A Jam is a 2 minute period in which teams attempt to score points.
There are 5 players on each team:
1 Jammer – the point scorer
3 Blockers – playing defense
1 Pivot - plays defense, but is the leadership position in the pack, calling the shots.
In order to tell the skaters apart, the jammers wear a helmet cover with a star and the pivot wears a striped helmet cover.
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 is 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. Once the last pack member skates 30 feet from the starting line, a whistle is blown & the jammers begin to skate.
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 fights her way out of the pack, she then races around the track in order to lap the pack. At this point, each time the jammer passes a member of the other team, she scores one point for her 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.
BLOCKS & PENALTIES
Modern day roller derby isn’t a no mercy knockdown drag out event – there are official rules & limitations that are enforced. For example, skaters receive penalties for all of the following: blocking with any part of the arm below the elbow, tripping, charging from behind, making a block above the shoulders, or blocking when a player who is out of bounds (i.e. off the track). This is a very abbreviated list of fouls.
This guide covers the basics of roller derby game play – for a complete list of standardized rules & regulations for flat track roller derby, feel free to visit: Women’s Flat Track Derby Association – Standard Rules
Still confused? Feel free to watch this awesome video (by the hammer city roller girls) that explains roller derby game play: