Roller Derby 101
First things first. This isn’t the Roller Derby you remember from the the 70′s. You won’t be seeing fake kicks to the face or random fights breaking out on the track. Gone is the “banked” track like you might remember (or as seen in the movie, Whip It). Derby’s resurgence has brought it to the Flat Track with real rules, no acting and unmatched action. But don’t worry – We kept the hitting.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
GateKeeper’s roller derby takes place on a flat oval track, on which players travel counterclockwise. The two teams each send five players onto the track — one jammer (scorer), three blockers (defense/offense), and one pivot (lead blocker). Helmet covers are used to display the players’ positions: a cover with two stars is used for jammers, a striped cover is used for pivots and no cover is used for blockers. The eight pivots and blockers together are called the pack. The two jammers start behind the pack on the jammer line.
The referee signals the start of a jam by blowing a whistle once. When the last person in the pack has passed the line, the referee blows the whistle again, signaling the jammers to take off.
A jam is a 2-minute period during which the jammers attempt to score points. After passing the pack the first time, jammers earn one point each time they pass an opposing pivot/blocker. Pivot/blockers attempt to assist their jammer through and out of the pack while simultaneously stopping the opposing jammer from exiting the pack. If a pivot/blocker falls or otherwise becomes separated from the pack, he is out of play (i.e., cannot block or assist the jammers) until he rejoins the pack.
The first jammer to legally pass all pivots and blockers once the jam begins wins the status of lead jammer for the remainder of the jam. The lead jammer can decide to end the jam at any time before the 2 minutes are up. He does this by placing his hands on his hips repeatedly, which signals the referee to officially call off the jam.
At the end of each jam, there is a 30 second break, during which time teams may replace players or switch positions. Players then return to the starting lines and continue to play until the end of the period. Each game consists of two 30-minute periods.
WHAT HITS ARE LEGAL?
Players may block using body parts above the mid-thigh, excluding forearms, hands, and head. Elbows may not be used in blocking, and cannot be swung at otherplayers or used to hook an opponent’s or teammate’s arm. If a player forces an opposing player out of bounds, the player must re-enter behind the player who blocked them.
Penalties are given to skaters who skate or block illegally, engage in misconduct, and for illegal procedures. Penalties can be minor or major. Four minor penalties accumulated by same player or a major penalty leads to the player being sent to a penalty box, usually for 1 minute. Skaters who incur seven visits to the penalty box or engage in egregious acts of misconduct are expelled from the game.
Watch this video for an illustrated breakdown of the basics of roller derby:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is Roller Derby family friendly?
Absolutely. We love when kids ask us for autographs!
Is this fake like wrestling?
Absolutely Not. I know we answered this above, but we get asked pretty often.
Is there reserved seating?
Tickets are general admission, but if you have a special request for group seating we may be able to accommodate you.
Are you affiliated with the Arch Rival Roller Girls?
We consider ourselves brother/sister leagues. In fact, you’ll see some of your favorite Arch Rival Roller Girls playing in the bout openers.