Roller Derby – The Basics

Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby is an exciting, full contact sport played on quad roller skates. It is played with two teams skating counter-clockwise on an oval track. Each team has 15 skaters, 5 of which may be on the track at any one time. One player is designated as the jammer. The jammer will have stars on her helmet, and she is the only player that can score points for her team.

The other players are called blockers. It is the blockers job to stop the other team’s jammer from scoring points, while also clearing a path for their own jammer. The blockers are able to use their hips, shoulders and torsos to prevent the jammer from passing.

The jammer’s objective is to lap as many opposing blockers as she can before the jam ends. After her initial pass she can start scoring points. The jammer will score one point for every blocker she legally passes, and one point if she laps the opposing jammer.

Games are called bouts, and each bout is broken down into jams. A whistle signifies the start of each jam, when the players may start to engage each other. The first jammer to emerge from the pack is named lead jammer. Jams last for a maximum of 2 minutes, but the lead jammer may strategically call it off at any time.

Referees will issue penalties to players for violations, such as cutting the track or hitting another player in a non-legal manner. A skater who receives a penalty is required to serve 30 seconds in the penalty box before she may return to play.

This short video from the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA) explains the very basics of Roller Derby. For a full list of the official rules of Roller Derby click here.

THE BASICS OF FLAT TRACK ROLLER DERBY - WFTDA