A roller derby game is a 60 minute contest made up of a series of rounds called jams. In each jam, the two teams square off against one another to score points. There are 5 skaters for each team per jam. There are 4 skaters known as Blockers, one of whom wears a striped helmet cover and is called the Pivot. Like a quarterback, this position is often the play-caller and controls the pack. This skater may also serve as the backup Jammer. There is one point-scoring skater known as a Jammer. A helmet cover with a star identifies this position. The Blockers from both teams skate together in a formation known as the Pack. The Blockers’ job is to stop, obstruct or force the opposing Jammer out of play to prevent her from scoring, while at the same time assisting their own Jammer.
Play begins when an official whistles once to begin the jam. Once the whistle has blown, the Jammers must fight their way through the Pack and exit it completely to qualify to score. The Blockers from the opposing team will try to prevent them from doing so.
Once out of the Pack, the Jammers then race to lap the Pack. Each time a Jammer laps a member of the opposing team and passes her in-bounds, the team receives one point. Both teams’ Jammers may be eligible to score simultaneously. A Jam is over when one of the following occurs:
- The Jam time limit elapses (1 minute in banked, 2 minutes in flat)
- The Lead Jammer places both hands on her hips repeatedly, calling off the Jam
How Are Points Earned?
A Jammer earns one point for each skater on the opposing team that they lap and pass while skating in bounds. The team earns an additional point for each member of the opposing team who is serving a penalty, as soon as they earn their first point on each lap of the pack. A Jammer can only score on each opposing Blocker once per scoring pass.
A Jammer can also earn a point for opposing skaters who skate out of play while the skater is scoring. For example, the Jammer is entitled to immediately receive a point from every opposing Blocker who is leading the Pack by more than 20 feet when the jam ends.
Organizations and Rule Sets
San Diego Derby United was the first “hybrid” league, playing on both banked and flat tracks, each with their own set of rules.
- Roller Derby Coalition of Leagues- San Diego Derby United banked track teams plays by the RDCL roller derby rule set. You can find the most recent publication here: RDCL Rules
- Women’s Flat Track Derby Association- San Diego Junior Derby United (JRDA), the Aftershocks (MRDA) program, and SoCal Derby (WFTDA) all play by the flat track by the WFTDA rule set. You can find the most recent publish here: WFTDA Rules
Feature Photo: Tristan King