How to play Roller Derby

Roller Derby Rules Image


So you wanna know the rules and want to know how to play Roller Derby? You came to the right place. If you think rules were made to be broken – think again, you don’t obey these rules and the only thing broken will be you!

OK, so lets keep it simple.

  1. There are only two teams at a time allowed on the track. More than two is not allowed and less than two is just pointless.
  2. Each team on the track is made up of 5 players. These are:
    1. One Pivot
    2. Three Blockers
    3. One Jammer

How do we tell these apart? Well, The Pivot wears a helmet cover with a stripe on it. The Jammer has a helmet cover with a large star on each side. The Blockers have no helmet covers on.

roller derby track






Now we can tell them apart you are probably thinking ‘what do they do?’

The Pivot

This cheeky young lady skates at the front of the pack and controls the speed of the pack while also being a line of defence against the other teams Jammer.

The Blockers

Don’t mess with the blockers, they have the awesome job of stopping the opposing teams Jammer getting through the pack and getting those highly desired points. One of the blockers will work alongside the Pivot to help their teams Jammer through the pack while keeping the other Jammer from getting past. They can also move the other teams blockers out of the way – A position not for the faint of heart.

The Jammer

This is the person who gets the points. This poor person starts 20 feet behind the rest of the pack at a standing start. To begin getting points she needs to lap the pack once and then the scoring can begin. She will then get a point for each person of the opposite team that she passes legally.

What’s it all About?

Each game or ‘bout’ as it’s know consists of 60 minutes. This can be played in three 20 minute periods or two 30 minutes periods. Either way it’s hard work. Each period is an unlimited number of jams each one lasting a maximum of two minutes.

After each jam the teams have up to 30 seconds to get lined up for the next jam. If one of the team is not on the track then the team must skate on anyway.


One long whistle is the signal that the jam has started and you had better get skating

Two short whistles lets the Jammers know that they can get going.

Four whistle blasts signal the end of the jam due to time having elapsed or the lead jammer calling off the jam.

Who is the lead Jammer?

The lead jammer is the first jammer to get through the pack without passing any opposing blocker while out of bounds or committing a penalty on any opposing blocker while passing them.

The lead jammer has the power to call off the jam anytime she wants after lead jammer status has been earned. Referees will signify lead jammer status with one short whistle blast and by pointing to the jammer.

What you are not allowed to do:

  • Grabbing or use of your hands
  • Blocking with your forearms
  • Tripping, kicking, or blocking with your feet/legs
  • Pushing, shoving, punching or holding
  • Swinging or jabbing your elbows
  • Blocking with your head
  • Blocking a jammer while twenty feet ahead or behind the pack
  • Hitting others from behind

You can find the official WFTDA rules at the WFTDA site here: WFTDA Rules

Get the latest updates and Subscribe to the newsletter >>
Published by Martin from Roller Derby UK. Follow Martin on Google Plus >>.


The Bad Sheep Boutique – By Rockabilly Ray (Rachael Webster)

We all love something new and interesting to hit the world of roller derby. And for any of you derby chicks that love a...

Roller Girl Features in Comic

We recently caught up with Artist Jessica Abel about her latest work which features a Roller Derby Skater. We chatted about her work, inspiration and...

Happy New Year 2015

Welcome to the start of a new year.

Thank you for your on going support and commitment in making Roller Derby so amazing.


What’s heavier, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?

So much has happened since my last blog that it’s stopped me blogging and instead of doing it, I just think about it and...

Well Done PCRG and Cornwall Roller Derby

A BIG congratulations goes out to Plymouth City Roller Girls who raised a massive £2,000 in memory for their team mate Becky Jukes.

The money was...