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What is Roller Derby? A Great Roller Skating Sport

Hey Skaters, are you curious about roller derby? Well, you’re in the right place in today’s article I will be writing about What is Roller Derby?

 I will try to make this short and sweet because a lot of roller derby articles are long so stick around.

The History of Roller Derby

Roller derby started to gain in popularity in the U.S. around the 1880s. 

These aggressive endurance races became a real televised sport around the mid-1930s. 

On November 29th, 1948 roller derby debuted on New York television.

The late 1950s and 1960s broadcasted roller derby across the U.S. After that Jerry Setzer formed the National Roller Derby League. 

In 1989 the RollerGames became a big part of derby culture which helped reach a larger audience. 

And in 1999 TNN or Spike TV brought us RollerJam, which brought an even bigger audience because more skating styles were included like inline skates, rollerblades and traditional quad roller derby skates

Types of Roller Derby Skaters

Let’s talk about the types of derby skaters before I start describing the basics of roller derby.

First, let’s start with the jammer, they wear a star on their roller skating helmets and they help to score points for their team. They have to attempt to pass the other team as many times as possible by lapping the pack. 

Blockers help to stop the other teams’ jammer from passing them and their team. They also help to assist their jammer by this by allowing them to pass the other team. 

The pivot is the blocker that also wears a stripe on their roller skate helmet. They are the only blocker that can be allowed to accept a star pass from their jammer which makes them the new jammer and they can now score points. 

The Basics of Roller Derby

Roller Derby Basic RulesPin
Roller Derby Penalty MeaningsPin
Roller Derby BasicsPin

Above are some infographics that help to describe the basics of derby, if you’re a more visual person. 

Roller derby can be played on a banked track or a flat track nowadays it is played on a lot on flat tracks which are safer than a banked. 

With derby, there are two teas typically even when practicing with fifteen players each. Derby is played in two time periods that are 30 minutes each. 

Each of these two time periods has what are called jams, a jam is an opportunity for both teams to score points these jams are over in two minutes or when the lead jammer calls off the jam. 

Skaters can block opponents with their shoulders, rear, or hip. It is not allowed for skaters to trip, punch, elbow, or to talk back to the officials. 

When these unauthorized actions are committed by skaters they are penalized with 30 seconds, which can hurt the rest of the team which is why it’s important for skaters to know all of the rules. 

Now let me talk about how the game begins, first, there is a jam start each team has four blockers and one jammer. The blockers start between the jammer line and the pivot line, 30 feet away. 

Jammers start behind the jammer line and the game starts with a whistle. 

The first pass, the first jammer passes all the skaters on the team they become the lead jammer. Lead jammers are signaled by officials blowing two short whistles and then pointing at the lead jammer. 

The second pass is when jammers earn one point for each opposing player they pass. The other teams’ blockers will have to try to stop the jammer to help their own jammer through their pack. 

Types of Tracks

Banked TrackPin
Bank Track
Flat TrackPin
Flat Track

More Information

Down below I will link some websites that talk exclusively about roller derby:

Want to Learn More About Skating?

Want more reviews on roller skates? Check out my Best Roller Skates page for a list of all of the quad roller skates I recommend. I also have pages for roller skates for men, roller skates for women and roller skates for kids where I recommend the best skates on the market today. Or, check out my roller skates for beginners if you are completely new to roller skating.

Or, if rollerblades or inline skates are more your style, then check out my rollerblades for men, rollerblades for women or rollerblades for kids pages. Or, if you are completely new, check out my rollerblades for beginners page.

Wrap Up

How did you like my article on What is Roller Derby? If you learned something new please leave a comment down below. I will also be writing more articles on roller derby in the future so stay on the lookout for that.

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Lily Stone

Lily is an avid roller skater who has been skating since the age of 6. She spent several years as a member of the Playland Speed Skate Team in Austin, TX competing in quad speed skating events as a teenager. When Lily is not skating, she enjoys her job as a cosmetologist, cleaning everything and hanging out with her family and friends.

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