The Rules of Roller Derby
Roller derby is a confrontation between two teams of five players on the track: four blockers and one jammer per team. The four blockers for each team, so eight in total, will form what we call ‘the pack’. The jammers’ goal will be to go through this pack, scoring one point per opponent they pass. The blockers’ goal will be twofold: prevent the opposing jammer from passing and, secondly, help their own jammer getting through the pack. The team with the most points at the end of the game goes home with the honors!
A game of roller derby consists of two periods of thirty minutes. These periods are subdivided in jams that may last up to two minutes. The teams have thirty seconds of rest between jams to substitute players and get back in formation.
The first whistle blow from the officials will signal the players to get in motion. On their first pass of the pack, the jammers will not score any points, but will instead be contending for the ‘lead jammer’ status. This status will be granted to the first jammer to go through the pack without committing any fouls. If both jammers should fail to do so, there will be no lead jammer. This special status of lead jammer gives its jammer the opportunity to call off the jam at any point by simply putting her hands on her hips. Once the title of lead jammer (or lack thereof) as been established, the jammers’ only goal will be to score points, which they gain at a rhythm of one per opponent they pass.
Skaters can be given major penalties for certain infractions. A major penalty results in the skater being removed from the game for a full minute of play, leaving their team to compete shorthanded. If the jammer should be sent to the penalty box, her team will not be scoring any points for the next minute!
Hand Signals & Penalties
Major Penalties A major penalty has an important impact on safety or game play, and is signaled with an index sweep and single whistle blow. The punished skater must go to the penalty box immediately. A major penalty is most often given for illegal blocks that force a skater down, out-of-bounds, or out of the play area. It will also be given for other reasons, including: passing players while out-of-bounds, misconduct, or for an illegal procedure that gives a team or player a substantial advantage.