Roller Derby teams consist of four defensive players and one jammer who is the point scorer. The game begins when the ref blows one long whistle and the pivots and blockers start skating in front in a tight group (the pack). The ref then blows two short whistles and the jammers take off!
The jammers try to get through the pack once, points are not scored this lap but “lead jammer” status can be established. They continue to skate around the track a second time and try to get through the pack again. Jammers score one point for each opposing blocker they pass as long as they pass that player in bounds and without receiving any penalties.
The jammers continue trying to score points for two minutes or until the lead jammer decides to call off the jam. She signals this by putting her hands on her hips. Most of the time the jammer scores four points each times she makes it through the pack within bounds and an additional one point if she laps the opposing jammer. Like any sport Roller Derby has TONS of detailed rules, penalties and strategies… you can read the entire rulebook here.
So, what’s against the rules? Well, a skater will get penalties for:
Tripping, Back blocking (pushing from behind), Deliberately falling in front of another skater, Using elbows for blocking or hitting, Blocking or hitting 20 feet away from the pack (out of play), Grabbing, holding or pulling an opposing skater.
Penalties are enforced by the refs that skate in the middle of the track. These rules are for the safety of skaters and create a more dynamic game, skaters have to use their strategic plays to get their jammer through the pack!
If you still want more, check out the Bay Bomber’s history of Roller Derby here.