What is roller derby?
The rapid growth of the sport is in large part due to the ease of setting up a flat track–it can be done on any flat surface that is suitable for skating, such as skating rinks, basketball courts, parking lots, and even airplane hangars. This greatly reduces the capital needed to start up a roller derby league, and allows small groups of people to get a fledgling league off the ground. The DIY spirit that drives the sport allows roller derby leagues to create their own unique identities and adapt their structures to reflect their local communities.
How are points scored?
What are the players' positions?
A team’s full lineup for a jam will consist of one Pivot, three Blockers and one Jammer. Each team may field up to five players for each jam.
- Pivot – The pivot blocker wears a helmet cover with a stripe on it. She generally starts at the first starting line and serves as the leader of her teammates playing in that jam. As most teams play the pivot position at the front of the pack, she is also often the last line of defense to stop the opposing jammer from escaping the pack.
- Blocker – The other three blockers do not wear helmet covers. All blockers may all play offense and defense at any given time and frequently switch between offensive and defensive tasks. The rules do not differentiate the remaining three blocking positions from one another. However most roller derby teams choose to assign names and focus areas to the blocking positions for strategic purposes.
- Jammer – The jammer wears a helmet cover with a star on it. She lines up at the second starting line and begins play at the second start whistle. The jammer’s goal is to pass opposing blockers and emerge from the pack as quickly as possible. If she is the first of the two jammers to escape the pack without committing any penalties, she gains the strategic advantage of being able to stop the jam at any time by placing her hands on her hips. Once a jammer laps the pack, she begins scoring one point for every opposing blocker she passes legally. She can continue to lap the pack for additional scoring passes for the duration of the jam.
Why don't Jammers score on the first pass?
Roller Derby 101 (video by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association)