Rules Corner: Blocking Zones

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) develops and publishes the rules of Flat Track Roller Derby in Fran├žaise, Espa├▒ol, and Deutche. Please visit the entire 2019 Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby.

This month we will discuss impact with an illegal blocking zone, which are outlined in the WFTDA rules section 4.1.2.

The illegal blocking zones on a skater include: 1. head (top of head down to the collarbone), 2. Forearm (from the point of the elbow to the fingertips), 3. Legs (from below mid-thigh to the wheels of the skate.

If a skater makes contact with another skater using a forearm or parts of the legs, the referee will need to assess if the contact was sufficient impact to warrant a penalty. Sufficient impact is defined as contact that puts an opponent skater significantly off balance, or significantly alters their trajectory or speed. Because safety is important in roller derby, if the referee sees forceful contact initiated with the head or neck, intentional use of the head or neck to positionally block, the referee will issue a penalty regardless of impact. Same with a skater forcefully jabbing with elbows or strikes with the knees.

If the contact was sufficient to warrant a penalty, the referee will blow one whistle tweet and speak in a loud clear voice stating: 1. team color, 2. skater number, 3. what the penalty is. Examples of penalties and the ref hand signals:

Head Block (H)

Forearm (F)

Leg Block (E)

Next month we will review cutting the track, multiplayer block, and illegal contact.