Official Rules (RDCL)
CLICK HERE to view official rules
Nice & Easy (Not official)
Below is a quickie and simplified guide to get you started:
Jam vs. Bout
No, we aren’t talking about the kind you spread on toast! In roller derby, the entire game is called the Bout, whereas a Jam is a play in the bout that can last up to 60 sec. The game is broken up into four 15 minute quarters.
Everyone Together Now
All blockers and pivots from both teams need to skate in a pack. Everyone needs to skate within 5 feet of the pack, or they are considered “out of play” which is a penalty.
The Leader of the Pack
As the “leader of the pack”, the Pivot is the player with the racing stripe down the middle of her helmet. Sadly, the stripe doesn’t make her faster, but it does make her in charge of her team’s pack when they are on the track.
Don’t Write Hip Checks You Can’t Cash
The Blockers are the group of girls crammed between the two lines, or the blocker box, on the track. Blockers, being the great multi-taskers that they are, are trying to get their jammer through while trying to stop the other team’s jammer from getting through the pack at the same time.
The Star Spangled Jammer
The jammer is that lovely lady with the stars on each side of her helmet. Those stars mean that she scores the points! The jammers start behind the starting line of the pack. Once the second whistle blows, the jammers get to go! In the first lap, no points can be scored. After the jammer has passed the pack once, she scores a point for every player on the opposing team that she passes until the jam is over.
Lead Jammer is the jammer ahead of the other jammer after she has made her first pass through the pack. The lead jammer has the ability to call off the jam before the 60 seconds has passed by placing her hands on her hips. If you aren’t sure who lead jammer is, look for the ref skating next to her. Lead jammer gets the Saturday Night-Fever Ref with one hand in the air and one hand point straight at her.
Yer Outta Here!
Breaking the rules= penalties. There are 2 types of penalties: Minors and Majors. One major sends the player to the penalty box as well as four minors. If a player receives a major, she is sent to the penalty box the next jam. Every time a play is sent to the penalty box she earns a penalty point. Six penalty points and the player is ejected from the game. When the opposing team’s jammer is in the penalty box, it is called a Power Jam.
Penalties include (but are not limited to): using elbows, arms or hands on an opposing skater; blocking to the back, shoving, tripping, and cutting the track through the infield. Any fighting means immediate expulsion from the game.
Haunted by Penalties
Any player in the penalty box or who is removed from the jam is considered a “Ghost Point” and a jammer the opposing jammer scores a point for that player with the first point earned on a scoring pass.
Let’s Jam, The Last Jam
The last 60 seconds of the bout, the rules change. The head ref declares the “Last Jam” when there is 60 seconds or less left on the clock. All penalties are called right then and there. If a blocker commits a major penalty, then she becomes a ghost point. If the jammer commits a major penalty, she cannot call off the jam or score points.
Banked Refs Position Description
Head Referee- My Way or The Highway
The head referee is the Be-All-End-All in the track amongst the refs. Not only is the Head Ref the peacemaker between Captains, Co-Captains, and Managers when disputes arise, but they also hand down the penalties.
Game Executioner-Your Time is Their Time
This fine referee keeps track of the jam time, game time and “waves the flag” to start and end each jam. They also have the honor of signaling time outs for both refs and teams.
Jammer Referee-When You Skate, I Skate, We Skate
Each jammer is special enough to get her own referee. It is the Jammer Ref’s responsibility to count points score and penalties on their jammer.
Pack & Outside Pack Referees- All Together Now
These refs call penalties and watch over the all of the blockers in the pack. Two skate in the infield (the center of the track), and two are on the outside watching the skaters as they pass each turn.
Penalty Tracker & Penalty Tracker Assist- The Hall Monitors
These refs keep track of who has been good and who has been bad for each and every jam.
Penalty Box Referee- The Time Out Corner
This ref keeps track of the players in the penalty box, confirms the right number of players is on the track and gives the okay to begin the next jam.
Eye in the Sky
Literally, this is the ref that is the “eye in the sky” that keeps track of jammer points from above the track. When each jam is over, through a series of hand signals, smoke signals, and pantomime the Jammer Refs and the Eye in the Sky confirm the score to make sure the score is accurate.
Scorekeeper- Two for Me, One for You
Behind the scenes, this ref ensures that the scoreboard shows the correct score on the scoreboard after the results are announced.
White Board – Not Just Derby Pictionary
The ref on foot walking around with the white board. This ref communicates all penalties to the announcers so that you can know what the heck is going on the track. They are also responsible for noting the score from jam to jam.