BASICS OF THE GAME

The sport of Roller Derby consists of two teams of four defensive players and one jammer – the point scorer. The game begins with the pivots and the blockers (defensive players) skating in front in a tight formation (the pack).

Track

The jammers race to pass through the pack once, at which time no points are scored – but a “lead jammer” position can be established. They continue to race around the track a second time and attempt to pass the pack again. The jammers score one point for each opponent they lap as long as they pass that player in bounds and without penalties.

The jammers may continue to race and score points for two minutes or until the lead jammer “calls off the jam” (by putting her hands on her hips). Generally, a jammer scores four points each time she makes it through the pack within bounds and five points if she laps the other jammer! Like any sport, Roller Derby has many fine print detailed rules, penalties and strategies! And obviously, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins!


PENALTIES & RULES

  • No tripping
  • No back blocking (pushing from behind)
  • No deliberate falling in front of another skater
  • When using arms for blocking, the arm must be bent, not extended full length
  • No use of elbows as a weapon to the chest or face
  • No blocking 20 feet ahead of or behind the pack
  • No grabbing or pulling a skater from the ground
  • It is illegal to GRAB, HOLD or PULL an opposing player – so hands off!

If a skater is in the penalty box and the jammer from the other team passes through the pack, she will still get a point for the missing skater who is in the penalty box. So the penalty is truly only against the team who is losing a player for that period of time and not against the other team who is trying to score points.

A jammer can be put into the penalty box which creates a scoring opportunity for the opposing team. If both jammers end up in the penalty box, the first jammer in the box is allowed back on to the track as soon as the second jammer reaches the box.


PLAYER POSITIONS

JAMMER
HelmetJammer-120 The jammer is considered a “sprint” skater and is designated by wearing a star on her helmet. The jammers must break through the pack once and lap it before scoring. Both jammers can score on their second time through the pack, at which time they get one point for each opponent passed legally in bounds.

Lead Jammer
The lead jammer is the first jammer to break through the pack passing all the opposing blockers and pivot in bounds and without penalties. As lead jammer she may, at a strategic time, call off the jam to prevent her opponent from scoring more points (by putting her hands on her hips)

PIVOT
HelmetPivot-120 Pivots are blockers that can receive a ‘star pass’ from the jammer. That is, the jammer can transfer her jammer status to the pivot by taking off her helmet cover and giving it to the pivot to put on. This then makes them the active jammer and they can continue to score points.
BLOCKER
Other than the pivot, each team has three blockers on the track. Blockers play vital offensive and defensive roles, helping their jammer get through the pack while simultaneously working together to block the opposing team’s jammer.

If you want to see all this explained in motion, then watch this great video from WFTDA: