The Sport of Roller Derby
The Sport of Roller Derby
Another sport tracing its roots back to Chicago, roller derby is a gritty, fast-paced contact sport. The sport is mostly popular in North America, however there are roughly 1,250 leagues worldwide with half of them located outside of the U.S. Roller derby is a sport that is commonly played by both men and women, and is currently under consideration for the 2020 Summer Olympic games.
How to play Roller Derby
The object of roller derby is fairly straightforward -- allow your offensive teammate (the jammer) to score as many points within a 30 minute timeframe. Points are acquired every time your jammer laps a member of the other team. Because roller derby is a contact sport, this objective isn’t as simple as it sounds.
There is protective equipment used in a roller derby match. All players must wear quad skates rather than inline skates to prevent tripping, mouthguards, helmets, knee and elbow pads, and padded groin or chest protectors are optional.
Rules of Roller Derby
- Each team consists of 14 members, however only five are on the court at one time. There are essentially three positions in roller derby: The offensive teammate is the jammer, your four defensive teammates are blockers, with one of them known as the pivot -- or defensive captain who calls plays.
- Each game is split into two 15 minute periods.
- Matches are played on an oval track measuring about 88 feet in length. Because the game is skated counter-clockwise, certain sections of the track are wider than others to accomodate for the jammer’s speed.
- The game starts when both teams reach a necessary speed and are about 30 feet away from each other. A whistle will blow, signaling the jammers can begin breaking from their pack. This is called a jam, and lasts up to two minutes.
- A jammer will have to break through the defensive pack to successfully score a point. They’ll have to do this while being blocked by the opposing team.
- For each member of the opposing team a jammer passes, a point will be added.
- Blockers can use physical force to prevent a jammer from scoring, however they cannot trip a jammer, strike above the shoulder, strike from behind, or when a player is out of bounds.
- If a match is tied at the end of 30 minutes, an additional jam will be tacked on until a clear winner emerges.
The jammer is actually not the only one who can score in a roller derby match. If they become fatigued, injured, or otherwise unable to continue, they can “pass the star” off to their pivot. This is one of many scoring tactics used in a roller derby match.
Written by: Devin Pickell