Here’s the basic way roller derby works, as adapted from Tuscon Roller Derby’s explanation. Check out the video at the bottom of the page for a synopsis. If you want the official rules, download the full WFTDA ruleset.
- Two teams of fourteen players each compete in a bout; each team can field no more than five skaters on the track at one time (the pack).
- Each pack is made up of one pivot, three blockers, and one jammer.
- The pivot is designated by a striped helmet cover, while the jammer is designated by a helmet cover with a large star on both sides. Blockers do not wear helmet covers.
Pivot – Skates in the very front of the pack, controls pack speed and serves as a last line of defense against the opposing jammer. Can become jammer IF jammer passes the helmet cover to her.
Blocker – One of three blockers on her team, works together with other blockers and her pivot to help her jammer through the pack while stopping the opposing jammer. This includes moving opposing blockers out of the way, assisting her jammer, and blocking the opposing jammer.
Jammer – Point scoring player. Starts on or behind the Jammer line. She has to skate through the entire pack one time and lap the pack before she can begin to score points.
A jammer receives one point for each skater on the opposite team that she passes legally during each pass through the pack — may only score once on each opposing skater per pass through the pack. Can strategically pass her helmet cover to her pivot if she gets stuck in the pack..
A bout consists of two 30-minute periods. Each period is composed of an unlimited number of jams which can last up to 2 minutes. After each jam, the teams have 30 seconds to line up for the next jam. If a skater is not on the track when the whistle is blown, her team must skate short.
- One long whistle blast signals the beginning of a jam and for the pack and jammer to start skating.
- Four whistle blasts signal the end of the jam, which can happen because the two minutes elapsed or because the lead jammer called off the jam.
The lead jammer is the first jammer to get through the pack without passing any opposing blocker while out of bounds or committing a penalty on any opposing blocker while passing them. The lead jammer can call off the jam anytime she wants after lead jammer status has been earned.