Learn all about derby!
What?! The rules have changed?!
The official rules of roller derby, as governed by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, have received a major upgrade. There are no longer minor penalties, and each jam now starts with a single whistle that releases both blockers and jammers.
For the rules geeks among the fans, you can read the rules set in its entirety here:
For the official press release about the new rules, read here:
Roller Derby Glossary
Back Block: A penalty called on a skater who makes contact with the back of an opposing skater, causing her to fall, lose position, or skate out of bounds.
Blocker: Each team ‘fields’ four blockers, who make up half of the pack. They do not score points, but instead focus on helping their own jammer through the pack or keeping the opposing jammer from passing. One blocker from each team can wear a striped helmet cover, which designates them as the pivot (see below).
Booty Block: A positional block. One skater controls an opponent by skating in front of her and slowing, keeping the opposing skater in contact with her back.
Bout: The game, competition, match, contest, etc. Two 30-minute halves made up of many jams (see below). Rule 2.2.2: The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Code Blue Assassins: Bleeding Heartland’s B-level travel team
Disorderlies: Bleeding Heartland’s skaters-in-training, starting from the ground (or wheels) up
Engagement Zone: Within 20 feet the foremost pack skater to 20 feet behind the rearmost pack skater. In this zone, a blocker can hit or block the jammers or other blockers.
False Start: A penalty given to a skater who is out of position (a jammer is in front of the jam line, or a blocker is behind the jam line or in front of the pivot line) when the jam begins.
Flatliners: Bleeding Heartland’s A-level charter travel team. The Flatliners are a WFTDA ranked team, and made up of the highest skilled BHRD skaters.
Grand Slam: When the jammer gains a full 5 points on a scoring pass, 4 for each of the opposing blockers and 1 for the opposing jammer. This is the most points a jammer can score on a single pass.
Jam: The ’rounds’ of the bout. Each jam can last up to 2 minutes. They can be called off earlier by the lead jammer (see below).
Jammer: The skater from each team who scores points, designated by a helmet cover with a star. Jammers line up on the jam line behind the blockers at the start of each line. Jammers begin to score once they lap opposing skaters, with points counted by passing a skater’s hips.
Lead Jammer: The first jammer to legally get through the pack in her initial pass. Some jams have no lead jammer if both commit penalties during the initial pass or if neither are able to get out of the pack.
NSO: A non-skating official. Organized, unbiased, wonderful volunteers who track the penalties, scores, jam times, and penalty times of the bout
Pack: The largest group of blockers from both teams within 10 feet of each other. Penalties will be given for no-pack situations, and until a pack is reformed the blockers are unable to engage.
Penalty Box: Where the refs send the skaters if they commit a penalty. The ref will whistle, say and sign the penalty, say the skater’s number and color, then motion her off. Skaters stay in the penalty box for 30 seconds, unless the ref signals additional time.
Pivot: Up to one blocker from each team who wears a striped helmet cover. The pivot follows all of the same rules as other blockers, except 1) she can engage in a star pass (see below) and 2) if she lines up directly on the pivot line, other blockers must line up behind her.
Power Jam: If the jammer is sent to the box, the opposing team is said to have a power jam while their jammer skates unopposed
Star Pass: A pivot can become a jammer mid-jam if the jammer removes her star helmet panty and hands it (not thrown or dropped) to the pivot, who then puts it on over her striped helmet panty. The pivot-turned-jammer can now score points, but cannot gain lead jammer, while the jammer-turned-blocker can no longer score points.
Team Zebra: Bleeding Heartland’s beloved referees! We love our dazzle of zebras, and would be nowhere (except in the box) without them.
Track Cut: A penalty given to a skater who goes out of bounds and reenters in front of an opposing in-play skater or multiple in-play teammates.
Whip: An arm whip is an assist performed by a skater giving her teammate her own momentum by offering her arm and flinging her forward. A hip whip is a similar transfer of momentum, but by a skater grabbing her teammate’s hips and pulling herself forward.