Roller Derby is the sophisticated all-female full-contact physical sport, in which roller-skating is accompanying with body collisions and peculiar fighting. Actually, the game has features of American football (without ball). It's a part of the youth rock-punk subculture.
From a distance, a roller derby game looks like skating race with hockey blocks and American football techniques (without a ball). Body blocking is one of the main roller derby techniques. Although grappling, punching and kicking are strictly prohibited, body collisions represent tough combative actions. Not by chance the terms in roller derby are "bout" and "jam". Despite involving in a fight is illegal in roller derby, impromptu fights are not rarities because the sport is very emotional, combative and ... feminine. Actually, it's a puzzle, why such a tough contact game turned out to be an all-female sport.
Two teams of five female rollers participate in so-called "jams" (the smallest unit of the match) lasting up to two minutes. Each team has one "jammer", one "pivot", and three "blockers". As a matter of fact, the entire team work for supporting it's jammer who is the only one having the scoring position.
The pivots and blockers form what we call a "pack". The pack starts out 20 feet ahead of the jammers and start sprinting at the first whistle blast. The jammers start sprinting a few seconds later, at the second whistle blast.
The jammers have to break through the pack and skate another lap before they start scoring points. On a jammer's second and future trips through, she gets a point for every opponent she passes. The blockers and pivots try to stop the opposing jammer from getting through, while assisting their own jammer.
RULES AND TERMS
A game of three periods played between two teams. The team with the highest point total at the end of three periods wins the game.
Composed of up to 12 women with a maximum of five members on the track at a time, consisting of: One pivot (striped helmet cover), three blockers (no helmet cover), and one jammer (solid helmet cover with removable star).
A 20-minute duration beginning with both teams in formation, at a dead start, at the starting line.
A maximum of 10 skaters, five from each team, consisting of two pivots at the front, followed directly by six blockers, followed by two jammers starting at a distance of 10 feet behind the back of the pack. Pivots must never be more than 20 feet ahead of the blockers and blockers must never fall more than 20 feet behind the pack. Due to penalties, it is possible for the formation to consist of less than 10 skaters.
Consists of the pivots and blockers from both teams, a maximum of 8 skaters, skating around the track in formation at a steady pace.
A single long whistle blow signals the beginning of a 20-minute period. The clock does not stop between jams. At the end of each jam, both teams have 30 seconds to get into formation for the next jam. Four whistle blasts signal the end of the period.
A unit of play consisting of a maximum of two minutes. Before a jam begins, the pack and jammers must be in formation. A single long whistle blow signals the beginning of a jam. The jam ends with a signal from a referee or lead jammer, at the end of its maximum time of two minutes, or at the end of a period. Three whistle blasts signal the end of the jam. There are an unlimited number of jams allowed in each period.
Each team is allowed one pivot on the track. The pivot, designated by a striped helmet cover, begins at the front of the pack. Pivots determine the pace of the pack and may never be more than 20 feet ahead of the pack. A pivot may take over the position of her team's jammer at anytime after the lead jammer, or lack thereof, is established. The jammer passes her position by removing the star from her helmet cover and handing it off to the pivot. When the jammer hands off to the pivot, the jammer takes the pivot position for the remainder of the jam. A pivot may never call off a jam, regardless of whether or not her team's jammer held the lead jam position before handing off.
A maximum of three blockers from each team is allowed on the track. Blockers start directly behind the pivots and ahead of the jammers. Blockers wear no helmet covers. Blockers determine the position of the pack and must not fall more than 20 feet behind the rear of the pack, or a penalty will be assessed. Blockers play a defensive role.
Each team is allowed one jammer on the track. The jammer starts 10 feet behind the pack, and is designated by a solid helmet cover with a removable star attached to the right side. Jammers are the point scoring players. The pack must be 20 feet ahead of the jammers before the referee signals the jammers to begin skating with two whistle blasts. Jammers race to break through the pack and establish lead jam position. Jammers continue to race around the track and score points for passing opposing players -- in bounds -- on each subsequent trip through the pack. A jammer may pass her position to her team's pivot at any time after the lead jammer, or lack thereof, is established. The jammer passes her position by removing the star from her helmet cover and handing it off to the pivot. The pivot then attaches the star to her helmet, and sprints to race against the opposing jammer.
The lead jammer is the first jammer to break through the pack (leader is determined by her chest), passing all of the opposing team's blockers and pivot while remaining in bounds on the initial trip through the pack. In order to become lead jammer no part of the jammer’s skates may be on the ground out of bounds when she passes an opponent.
In order to become lead jammer, the jammer may not have committed any penalty while passing opposing players during the initial trip through the pack.
If a jammer is forced/knocked out of bounds, she may reenter the track at the same position she left the track to attempt to pass as yet un-passed opposing players in an attempt to pass them inbounds. If the first jammer to break through the pack has passed any opposing blocker or pivot out of bounds (inside or outside) she may not be lead jammer. In this case, if the second jammer to pass through the pack has passed all of the opposing team's blockers and pivot inbounds she becomes the lead jammer. When the lead jam position is established, a referee immediately announces it. The referee points to the lead jammer for the duration of the jam. The lead jammer may call off (end) the jam at any time after her position is established. She signals this by placing both hands on her hips until the referee signals the end of the jam. Other players, until called off by the referee, assume the jam on. If the lead jammer passes her position to the pivot, neither the jammer nor the pivot retains the privilege to call off the jam.
COURSE OF PLAY
The pack and jammers must be in formation before a jam may begin. Both teams have 30 seconds to get into formation. The formation consists of two pivots in the front of the pack, four blockers in the middle, two blockers in the rear, and the two jammers in the back.
One long whistle blow signals the beginning of the jam. At this time the pack begins to move from a dead start. If a team has less than five players on the track when the initial whistle is blown to start the jam, the team must play short for the entire jam. Any player who attempts to enter the track after the initial whistle has blown will be pulled out of the jam.
Once the pack is at least 20 feet ahead of the jammers, a double whistle blow signals the jammers to sprint from a dead start.
Jammers from both teams race to break through the pack and establish a lead jam position. When the lead jam position is established a referee immediately announces it and points to the lead jammer for the duration of the jam.
Jammers then have a maximum of two minutes (minus time already elapsed during the initial trip through the pack) to catch the rear of the pack and attempt to pass the opposing team's skaters to score points. The jammer receives one point for every blocker and pivot of the opposing team that she passes inbounds. No point is scored if any part of a jammer's skates is on the ground out of bounds when she passes an opponent. If a blocker/pivot commits a penalty against a jammer, the jammer will receive the point that she is attempting to score. If a jammer commits a penalty against a blocker/pivot when attempting to pass, she will not be awarded the point for passing that player.
A jammer is able to score more than four points on a trip through the pack if she passes an opponent, who is aggressively re-engaging her, more than one time in the same trip through the pack. A jammer may pass through the pack as many times as she is able during the duration of a jam.
END OF JAM
Three whistle blasts signal the end of a jam for any of the following reasons:
- The expiration of the 2-minute time limit;
- Conclusion of the period (this can occur mid-jam);
- Lead jammer signals to call off the jam;
- Call of a referee due to a major penalty, fight, injury, or emergency;
- A skater encounters extreme technical difficulty, i.e., toe stop or wheel dislocates.
DETAILS OF PLAY
1. A player of any position may block an opponent of any position with any part of her body below the shoulders to any part of the front or side of an opponent’s body between and including the shoulders and the hips with the following exceptions:
- Use of hands (grabbing, holding, pulling, or use of an extended forearm, e.g. elbow not bent)
- Illegal use of feet (blocking with feet, intentional tripping)
- Blocking from behind
- Blocks directed above the shoulders or below the hips
- Elbows used in any swinging arm motion
2. In setting up a "wall" (double or triple block), skaters may not grasp hands or lock arms.
3. A player forced/knocked out of bounds must reenter the track before she may be blocked by an opponent:
- She may not intentionally block an opponent while she is out of bounds
- She may not perform a "flying tackle" on her way back onto the track, meaning the block must begin in bounds, a skater can not block an opponent by flying in from out of bounds to deliver an inbounds hit.
4. Blockers and pivots may not engage in any active play (blocking or assisting) beyond 20 feet of the pack. If a blocker or pivot is behind or ahead of the pack by 20 feet, they are considered a "dead" player.
Players will be awarded a penalty for the following offenses:
- failing to use helmet covers to properly ID player positions
- engaging in a fight with another player at any time during the bout**
- engaging in play when 20 feet ahead of or behind the pack
Players will be awarded a penalty and pulled for the remainder of the jam for the following offenses-
Any form of illegal blocking such as:
1. Use of hands (grabbing, holding, pulling, or use of an extended forearm, e.g. elbow not bent)
2. Illegal use of feet (blocking with feet, intentional tripping))
3. Blocking from behind
4. Blocks directed above the shoulders or below the hips
5. Elbows used in any swinging arm motion:
6. entering play after the start of the jam
Players will be awarded a penalty and pulled for the remainder of the period for the following offenses:
a. gross physical misconduct (as determined by the referee)
b. physical or verbal misconduct toward a referee
When pulling a player from play mid-jam, the referee will verbally tell the player to go to the penalty box. The referee may blow a short whistle blast to get the player’s attention. If the player does not hear the referee or does not remove herself from play during the jam, she must sit out for the entire next jam. If a player refuses to go to the penalty box more than one time during the bout, the referee may remove that player for an entire period.
When a player is in the penalty box for a jam, that team must play short. A team may not substitute for a player in the penalty box. In the case of a player pulled out for the entire period, that team will be required to skate short for one jam, after which time a substitute for the suspended player may be put in the game.
When a team has a player in the penalty box, the opposing team's jammer is still awarded the full four points for passing the entire pack if all of the remaining opponents are passed legally.
**If a fight breaks out, the cause or initiation of the fight (e.g. a block from behind or pulling another player down) may be a cause for expulsion of the player committing the offense from the remainder of the jam, if it is a form of illegal blocking. Anyone else engaging in the fight may receive a penalty on the stat sheet.
The player on each team who has the most overall penalties recorded at the end of the second period will be required to spin the penalty wheel.
- Helmets, elbow pads, kneepads and wrist guards must be worn at all times on the skating floor.
- Helmet covers must be utilized to properly ID player positions, or a penalty will be assessed.
- Mouth guards and other protective gear are optional.
- A skater may not, at any time, cut the track to better her position. Any skater who does so will be awarded a penalty.
- If a jammer laps the opposing team's jammer, she will be awarded an extra point.
- A skater with skate trouble cannot be passed for a point. A referee will call off the jam.
- All skating must be in a counterclockwise direction.
- Team player change may only occur between jams.
- Each team shall have one Captain. She alone will have the privilege of discussing with the referee(s) any questions relating to the rules. If the team Captain is not present, a single alternate will retain the privileges of the Captain. Players who wish to dispute or question rules, penalties, or score, must bring their concerns to their Captain who will then address the ref.
Each team receives one 60-second time out per period. Time outs may only be called during reformation time between jams. Only a team Captain or referee may call a time out.
There can be no tied games. If at the end of the third period the score is tied, the game will go into overtime. The teams will have one minute to organize. The teams will skate another complete jam of two minutes unless the lead jammer or a referee calls it off.