Derby 101

If you want a quick introduction to the sport of roller derby, check out this video about the basics of flat track roller derby. Enjoy!



Scores points for their team and wears a star on their helmet.

Lead Jammer:

The first jammer that legally makes it through the pack on the initial pass earns the ability to call off a jam. Lead jammer is signaled by the ref’s arm pointing at the jammer.


Keeps the opposing team’s jammer from scoring points while clearing a path for their own team’s jammer to score.


A blocker who can switch positions with the jammer to score points. They wear a stripe on their helmet.


The formation of the most blockers and pivots from both teams.


A two-minute countdown where both jammers try to score as many points as possible. (Typically, the lead jammer will call off a jam before the two minutes are up. See “Why call off a Jam” below.)


A twenty or thirty minute session of unlimited jams.



Today’s roller derby is essentially a race between jammers of opposing teams through a pack of blockers. There’s no finish line in this race however; jammers are attempting to score as many points in a set period of time as possible.


Each team sends out 5 skaters: one jammer, one pivot, and three blockers. Blockers (including pivots) make up the pack. When the whistle blows the jammer must navigate through or around the pack.


Scoring begins on the jammer’s second pass through the pack. One point is scored for each blocker of the opposing team that the jammer legally passes (passing is determined by the skaters’ hips). No more points for passing jammers.


Blockers try to stop the opposing jammer from passing them, while defending their own jammer, whom they can assist by pushing or pulling (whipping) in an attempt to advance them through the pack. To impede the progress of the opposing team’s jammer, players may block using body parts above the hips, excluding hands, forearms, elbows, and head. A jammer can be blocked by any member of the opposing team, including the other jammer.


Both jammers have the option of passing their positions to their respective team’s pivot by passing their helmet covers. The jammer then becomes the pivot and the pivot becomes the jammer for the remainder of the jam. If the original jammer was lead jammer, the position of lead jammer is not passed on.


It is illegal to:

  • Block/push an opponent from behind
  • Block with your feet or trip an opponent.
  • GRAB, HOLD, or PULL an opposing player



You may be wondering…

Why isn’t that Blocker BLOCKING?

20 FOOT RULE — Skaters that are more than 20 feet from the front or rear of the pack cannot block or assist a jammer, and must yield to the jammer if they are in the way.

What is the Jammer WAITING for?

If the jammer drops behind the blocker they passed out of bounds or illegally, they may re-pass the blocker in-bounds and get that point.

Why is that skater in the PENALTY BOX?

Any penalty sends that player to the penalty box for 30 seconds. During that time, their team will skate without a skater in that position. Penalties may be assessed during or after the jam, and carry over from the first into the second half of the bout.

Why do penalties SUCK?

The jammer earns a point each lap for every opposing blocker passed including those in the penalty box. Points for penalized players are earned once the jammer has initially cleared the pack.

*If a jam ends before the penalty is over, it continues into the next jam.

Why CALL OFF a Jam?

Calling off the jam is a strategic move to prevent the other team from having the opportunity to score.

Still have questions? Attend a game to see us in action!

If you want to read more about the rules and regulations of Roller Derby – Check out the WFTDA Rule Set