Derby Basics

Besides having the willingness to work hard and have fun, you’ll need the following items to get started:

Quad Skates (figure or speed, but no roller blades)
Helmet (multi-sport, hockey, or skateboarding)
Wrist Guards
Elbow Pads
Knee Pads
Mouth Guard

We have practice gear for anyone curious about trying derby so don’t be shy about showing up and giving it a go!

Here is a short overview of the actual game:

There are three positions—Jammer, Blocker, and Pivot.

The Jammer starts behind the pack and scores points. The Jammer wears a helmet cover with a star.

The Pivot is positioned at the front of the pack on the inside of the track and controls the speed of the pack. The Pivot is also a Blocker.

A Blocker’s job is to get her Jammer through the pack while blocking the opposing Jammer. Blockers must be able to play offense and defense, often at the same time. There are 5 skaters on the track (per team): a Pivot, 3 Blockers, and a Jammer.

The pack consists of Blockers and Pivots.

To score points a Jammer must make it through the pack, skate around the track (lap the pack) and on the second time through the pack, will score one point for each opposing skater the Jammer passes.

The Lead Jammer is the first Jammer through the pack. The Lead Jammer has the power to call off a jam. The signal is hitting hips with hands. This is a strategy to keep the other team from scoring.

A bout is a roller derby game. The team with the most points at the end wins. A scrimmage is an unofficial roller derby game. A bout is made up of periods. There are typically two 30 minute periods in a bout. Each period consists of two minute (or less) jams with a 30 second break between jams. An unlimited amount of jams can be in a period.

One long whistle starts the jam.

Two rapid whistles indicates the Lead Jammer.

Four rapid whistles signal the end of a jam.

Legal touching area is from shoulder to thigh on the side and the front. You can touch your team members anywhere. Illegal touching is anywhere else and on the back.

You are out of play if your skate goes over the outside or inside track lines. If this happens, you must enter behind the player who pushed you out of bounds. You cannot block until you are back in play.

Blockers are out of play if they are 20 feet away from the pack and then cannot block the opposing Jammer.

In a nutshell – The Jammer, with the help of her Pivot and the Blockers, legally navigate through the pack to determine who is lead and points are scored the next time the Jammer goes through the pack by passing the other skaters of the other team.

Easy breezy – or is it? Come find out! We practice twice a week at Sk8away in Topeka.

Let’s play ROLLER DERBY!