About Roller Derby

The Basics

Roller Derby is a fast-paced battle between two teams, played over two 30-minute periods broken up into two minute jams. Teams are made up of blockers and jammers, each team has four blockers and one jammer on the track at a time. The blockers skate together in a group called a pack. The jammers are responsible for scoring points by lapping the pack, they score a point for each opposing player that they pass. While the jammers are attempting to do this, the blockers attempt to stop the other team’s jammer from getting through the pack while also assisting their own jammer through the pack.


There are three main types of skaters on the track:

  1. Jammers are designated by a star worn on their helmet and they start behind the other skaters in the pack. 
  2. Blockers, four from each team, make up the pack. 
  3. Pivots are designated by the stripe worn on their helmets, they control the speed of their team members and they serve as the last line of defense against the jammer from the opposing team.

When the first whistle is blown the pack begins to skate. Jammers begin to skate when the second whistle is blown and then try to make their way through the pack. Blockers try to keep the opposing jammer from getting through while simultaneously trying to help their own jammer. On the first pass through the pack, the Jammers race each other to pass everyone in the pack without committing a foul or going out of bounds. The Jammer who succeeds is called the Lead Jammer.  The Lead Jammer has the advantage of calling off the jam at any time by placing her hands on her hips.  Jammers score points by passing members of the opposing team on their second time through the pack and every pass thereafter.  A jam lasts a maximum of two minutes, or until the Lead Jammer calls it off.


Derby rules are strictly enforced and penalties include cutting the track, blocking with hands, forearms, or elbows; blocking in the back; tripping; and blocking or skating out of bounds. Skaters may only block each other when they are in bounds and within 20 feet of the pack or else they may be assessed out of play penalties. Penalties get a skater 30 seconds in the penalty box.