You may not hit someone in the back, use your hands and forearms to push someone, prevent players from passing you by grabbing onto your teammates, or run into people while going the wrong way on the track.
Players must stay on the track, they can skate forward or backward in either direction while inbounds but cannot intentionally leave the track.
Players may knock other players off the track. A player that was hit out must re-enter behind the player that hit them out or they will receive a cutting the track penalty.
In addition, a player that was hit out must re-enter behind ALL other players that were ahead of them when they were hit out. If a player that was ahead of them backs up, they must back up too!
Roller derby only works if there is a pack. Blockers must stay close to the pack and the pack as a whole must remain relatively tight. If the pack gets too spread out, the refs will call no pack and the pack must get closer together. If a blocker is too far from the pack, the refs will call out of play and they must return to the pack. (see beyond the basics – pack)
When a jammer receives a penalty, the other team is said to be on a Power Jam. None of the rules change during a power jam but it creates an important opportunity to score points.
Beyond the Basics (for the Superfan!)
- A jammer earns points for “passing” players who are in the penalty box or otherwise off the track when they pass any opponent who is on the track.
- If a player does not exit the track fast enough after receiving a penalty, they will be given a second penalty, insubordination, and have to serve an additional 30 seconds in the box (2 x 30= 60 seconds).
- If a jammer is in the penalty box and the other jammer receives a penalty as well, the first jammer can leave as soon as the second jammer sits down in the box.
- If a player receives 7 penalties during a game they will foul out and be asked to leave.
- Most illegal actions only count as penalties if they offer an advantage to the player. For example, illegal blocks are only considered penalties when the receiving player loses their relative position by falling, being knocked out of play, or falling behind an opposing player. In this way, players may sometimes be seen to do something illegal but not be penalized for it if they gained no relative advantage.
- The pack constantly moves, expands, contracts and changes. Pack definition is sometimes difficult to understand but it is crucial to playing the game: The pack is the largest group of non-jammer players from BOTH teams who are less than 10 feet from one anothers’ hips. This means the pack can be a tight clump or a long string of players, as long as those players are less than 10 feet from one another.
- If there is no definable pack, for example if all of Team A is more than 10 feet from Team B, the refs will call no pack. Both teams are then responsible to reform the pack immediately. Failing to do so will result in a failure to reform penalty. If any one player is to blame for creating the no pack situation, they will receive a destroying the pack penalty.
- Blockers must stay within 20 feet of the pack, otherwise they are considered out of play and will receive a warning to return to the pack. Failure to do so will earn them a failure to return penalty. If they block another player while out of play, they will receive a blocking out of play penalty.
- If a Lead Jammer passes the star to their pivot, lead jammer status is lost and the jam will run the full 2 minutes
- If a Lead Jammer falls down or is hit out of bounds, they can still call off the jam. If they are given a penalty, however, they cannot call off the jam and lose their Lead Jammer status.
- Games are played in two 30 minute halves.
- Each team has three 1-minute timeouts they can use between jams to regroup, rest, and strategize.
- Between jams, if no timeout is called, there are 30 seconds before the next jam begins. Note that the period clock continues to run during this time.
- During power jams, many teams employ a strategy called Passive Offense. This strategy involves bringing the pack speed to a halt and letting the jammer push the opposing blockers far enough forward that they must let the jammer go or risk getting an out-of-play or failure-to-reform penalty.
Lead Jammer: Designates which jammer is lead jammer.
Not Lead Jammer: Designates a jammer is on their scoring pass but is not lead jammer.
Penalty: After showing the signal for the specific penalty that was given, the referee will make this movement indicating that the player must go to the penalty box.
Cutting the Track: When a player enters in front of another player who hit them out.
Back Block: Blocking to an opponent’s back.
Forearms: Blocking an opponent with the hands or forearms.
Multiplayer Link: Blocking an opponent by holding on to or linking with a teammate using the arms or hands.
High Block: Blocking an opponent to their head.
Blocking with the Head: Blocking an opponent using the head.
Low Block: Blocking an opponent below their mid-thigh.
Elbows: Blocking an opponent with the elbows.
Direction of Game Play: Blocking an opponent while stopped or skating in the wrong (clockwise) direction.
No Pack: Warning that their is no definable pack, both teams must attempt to reform the pack.
Out of Play: Warning that a player is more than 20 feet from the pack, a penalty we’ll be given if the player fails to return to play (the referee will lower their hand) or if the player blocks an opponent or helps a teammate while out of play.
Skating out of Bounds: Intentionally skating out of the track boundaries.
Insubordination: Disrespecting the referees or not leaving the track fast enough after receiving a penalty.
Illegal Procedure: Breaking a rule that does not necessarily impact a specific player (starting in the wrong place, leaving the penalty box early, removing safety equipment, etc.)
Foul Out: The skater has received too many penalties and must leave the game.