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How Roller Derby Works

History

Invented in 1935 by Leo A. Seltzer, roller derby has seen its ups and downs with the sport’s decline in the early ‘70s and its revival in 2001. There are more than 450 leagues internationally, and each has its own rules and regulations. The following are the basic rules for the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls.

The Lineup

Each team has up to five members on the track at one time. There are three types of players, and they initially line up the the following order: one pivot in front, three blockers in the center and one jammer in the rear.

artwork by Whiskey7


Jamming Begins

There are two 30-minute periods. Within each period, there are unlimited scoring sessions called jams that lasts a maximum of two minutes. The first jam begins after the teams line up. A whistle signal from the referee allows the skaters to begin. There are 30 seconds between each jam to allow the skaters to line back up.

Into the Fray

Roller derby is a full contact sport as jammers try to pass through the gauntlet of blockers. Blocking is legal and encouraged, but players cannot grab, pull or trip one another. Breaking the rules will lead to time in the penalty box. Although safety equipment is worn, players often sustain injuries such as bruises and broken bones.

Who Wins

The team with the most points after the final period is over wins. Overtime will occur to break ties.

Track

Unlike the traditional sloped rink, the course is on a flat surface. One lap is approximately 130 feet.

Scoring

Points are scored for each opposing player a jammer legally passes.

Required Gear – All of the following equipment is mandatory.
Helmet • Mouthguard • Elbow pads • Wrist guards • Knee pads • Quad rollerskates

Penalties

Elbowing, tripping, punching and fighting are illegal and will get you sent to the penalty box or ejected, but it happens!

If you want to learn more about Roller Derby and it’s Rules you can check out the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association website.