Whether you’re a veteran derby enthusiast or a first-timer, there’s all sorts of interesting stuff for you to check out:
- Enjoying a Roller Derby Game – Want to get the most out of watching derby live? Here’s what you need to know.
- Derby 101 – Learn a little more about the basics of the game.
- Derby 201 – Got the basics but wondering about strategy or rules? Read our Q&A.
- Scores and Recaps – See what you missed or fondly recount a first date.
What is Roller Derby?
Modern day flat track roller derby is an exciting sport played on quad skates, where two teams vie for the most points, and whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins! Simple enough, right?
Each game is broken up into small increments called “jams”, which can last up to two minutes each. During each jam, each team sends five players onto the track: 4 blockers and 1 jammer. Jammers line up behind the blockers (collectively known as the “pack”) and can be identified by the stars on their helmets. Jammers score points by passing opposing players beginning with their second pass through the pack. Blockers play offense and defense at the same time by using their bodies to hip check, shoulder check, and otherwise block the other team’s jammer, while also making blocks against opposing players to clear paths through the pack for their own jammer.
The first jammer who makes it cleanly through the pack on their first lap around the track will be awarded lead jammer status, which is signaled by the referees. Being lead jammer allows a team to “call off” (end) a jam before the two-minute mark. Knowing the best time to call off a jam is an important skill for jammers as it allows their team to strategically control the scoring.
Roller derby athletes must display incredible endurance, agility, speed, and awareness on the track—made all the more amazing since a good majority of roller derby players today learned to skate from scratch. Roller derby skating officials must display all the same skills as players, as well as acute focus, lightning-fast accuracy, and thorough research and constant discussion of the rules of the game. In addition, roller derby non-skating officials (NSOs) provide the infrastructure for the game to happen—and perhaps have the most important jobs of all!
Keep Your Elbows To Yourself!
Unlike what you may have seen on the televised, banked track roller derby games of the 1970s, none of the action on the modern day flat track is scripted.
Elbowing, tripping, headbutting, wrestling, fighting, and things of that nature will earn you a swift trip to the penalty box, or even have you expelled. Too many penalties and you’ll foul out of the game. Safety first!
Learn more about Enjoying a Roller Derby Game.