Roller Derby Explained...

Roller Derby Explained...

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:08 pm

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short matchups ("jams") in which both teams designate a scoring player (the "jammer") who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the opposing jammer —in effect playing both offense and defense simultaneously. Roller derby is played by more than 1,000 amateur leagues on every inhabited continent.

While the sport has its origins in the banked-track roller skating marathons of the 1930s, Leo Seltzer and Damon Runyon are credited with the basic evolution of the sport to its initial competitive form. Professional roller derby quickly became popular; in 1940 more than 5 million spectators watched bouts in 50 US cities. In the ensuing decades, however, it predominantly became a form of sports entertainment where the theatrical elements overshadowed the athleticism.

Fortunately, this gratuitous showmanship largely ended with the sport's contemporary grassroots revival in the first decade of the 21st century. Although some sports entertainment qualities such as player pseudonyms and colorful uniforms were retained, scripted bouts with predetermined winners were abandoned.
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Game play

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:09 pm

Contemporary roller derby has a basic set of rules, with variations reflecting the interests of a governing body's member leagues. The summary below is based on a comprehensive rule set developed by the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), which is used by the vast majority of leagues.
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Basics of Play

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:09 pm

Roller derby is played by two teams of five members simultaneously skating counterclockwise on a circuit track. Each team designates a scoring player (the "jammer"); the other four members are "blockers." One blocker is designated as a "pivot"—a blocker allowed to become a jammer in the course of play. The jammer wears a helmet cover bearing two stars; the pivot wears a striped cover; the remaining members' helmets are uncovered.

The bout is played in two periods of 30 minutes. Point scoring occurs during "jams": plays that last up to two minutes.During a jam, points are scored when a jammer in scoring position laps members of an opposing team. Each team's blockers use body contact, changing positions, and other tactics to assist its jammer to score while hindering the opposing team's jammer. Certain types of blocks and other play are violations; referees call penalties and require violators to spend time in a penalty box
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Jams

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:11 pm

Play begins by blockers lining up on the track's starting line (the "pivot line"). The jammers start from a second starting line 30 feet behind. With a starting whistle, the blockers begin to skate; when the last blocker crosses the pivot line, a second whistle signals the jammers to start.

The skating blockers form a "pack": while blockers must maintain the pack by remaining within ten feet of the next-nearest blocker, they may move freely and skate anywhere on the track. The first jammer to legally pass all opposing blockers wins the status of lead jammer for the remainder of the jam. Subsequent to her first pass through the pack, the jammer scores a point every time she laps an opposing team member.

The lead jammer can stop the jam at any time by signaling to the referees by placing her hands on her hips. If the jam is not stopped early, it ends after 2 minutes. Teams then have 30 seconds to form up for the next jam. Team members typically rotate between jams from the 14 players on the team's roster. Designations may change between jams: a pivot in one jam might be the jammer in a later jam
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Scoring

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:13 pm

The jammer scores by passing opposition team members. Each jammer must first complete a pass of all the opposing team's blockers. After this initial pass through the pack, the jammer scores a point each time she passes an opposing team member, including the other team's jammer. For example the jammer for team A may pass 5 blockers during a jam, the jammer for team B passes 3. When the jam ends—either because the 2-minute limit is reached, or because the lead jammer has "called the jam" beforehand—the score would be 5 points for team A, 3 for team B.
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Blocking

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:13 pm

Roller derby skaters attempt to knock opponents out of bounds or impede their movements by blocking.[22] Legal blocks follow certain rules. Contact by hands, elbows, head and feet are prohibited, as is contact above the shoulders or below mid-thigh. Contact may not be from the rear, only from a player's front or sides.
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Penalties

Postby webmaster » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:14 pm

Referees determine rule violations. Each type of violation carries major or minor penalties, or no penalty at all. A player receiving a major penalty, or four minor penalties, is removed from play to sit in a penalty box for one minute. If a jam ends beforehand, the player remains in the penalty box during the subsequent jam until the minute penalty is completed. A player with seven major penalties is ejected from the game.
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