About Roller Derby
Roller Derby is is an international sport and with over 600 women's leagues, in more than 20 countries as well as a growing number of male, co-ed, and junior leagues. It is an all female full contact sport that originated in America but has been fast growing in the UK and europe over the past 5 years.
The game called a “Bout” is set on an oval track roughly the size of a large sports hall. The game is broken down in to 2 minute sections called “Jams”. The game is played by two teams of 14 girls, but only 5 girls from each team are on the track at any one time, the players are rotated each Jam.
Points are scored as the designated scoring player (the "jammer") of each team laps members of the opposing team, (the "blockers,") meaning they score 4 points per pass if each blocker is passed legally (without fouling).
A Jam starts by the Jammers racing each other through the pack, this is called an “initial pass” the Jammers do not score any points on the initial pass. The first Jammer to break through the pack legally will be given “Lead Jammer” status, this means that they have control of the game and can call off the jam at any moment (by placing their hands on and off their hips). At the end of each Jam the teams have 30 seconds to get the next line-up of girls onto the track before the whistle is blown. The next Jam will then commence and the Jammers will battle it out again to get Lead Jammer status and earn as many pints as they can.
Roller Derby teams are made up of skaters from all types of backgrounds ranging from nurses, managers and teachers to shop workers, artists and athletic types. There is a place for everyone! Most players skate under an alias, also called a derby name, many of which are creative examples of word play on their own names or sayings.
New players are often encouraged to check their name against an international roster to ensure novelty and uniqueness of the alias before officially using it. Some players claim their names represent alter egos which they adopt whilst skating. Referees may also choose to use derby names as well.
The term roller derby dates back to the 1920’s, when it was used to describe roller skating races, some of which lasted days and were endurance competitions.
In the 1930s the roller derby competitions got more competitive and teams focused less on endurance and more on physical contact and teamwork, this became very popular to watch and listen too on the radio. Roller Derby soon became an icon of popular culture as matches were held in numerous cities throughout the U.S. and started to be broadcast on the television. At this time Roller Derby was played on a banked track and there were few rules other than the more the players fight the more excited the crowd were. This style of Bank Track Roller Derby still continues today in America. The game mostly played today across the world is set on a flat track and is played by rules set by organizational bodies such as the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)