Category: Rules Corner

Rules Corner: Scoring

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) develops and publishes the rules of Flat Track Roller Derby in Française, Español, and Deutche. Please visit the entire 2020 Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby.

This month’s topic is all about scoring, which is outlined in the WFTDA rules  section 3 “Scoring.” Ok, you’re at a game and people are skating in circles and hitting each other. What’s going on? How does anyone score? You’re not the first to be confused by this. So, let’s talk about scoring. It goes without saying that scoring is one of the most important aspects of the game, as the team with the most points wins. While the concept is simple—one point for each opposing blocker—there are several nuances to scoring, a few of which are covered below.

THE BASICS

The Jammer (skater with a star panty on the helmet) is the skater that scores. In order to score, the Jammer must skate through the Pack (largest group of in-bound blockers, skating or standing in proximity). Once a Jammer has skated through the Pack (whether or not they earn lead), they are eligible to score. A Jammer scores one point every time they pass an opposing Blocker on a scoring pass. A Jammer is considered to have passed another Skater when the Jammer’s center of mass, as demarcated by their hips, moves from behind the other Skater’s center of mass to ahead of it.

A Jammer may only “earn” a pass on the opposing Blocker while the Jammer is wearing the Star on their helmet with the stars showing. The Jammer must be upright and in-bounds during the pass. A Jammer also earns a pass if an opposing Blocker skates behind the in-bounds Jammer, thereby giving up their position.

If a Jammer does not earn a pass on a Blocker, they may yield position to that opponent and re-pass them, earning the pass, as long as they have not yet exited the Engagement Zone. A Jammer may only earn one point on each opposing Blocker per scoring pass, regardless of how many times they pass the Blocker before exiting the Engagement Zone.

WHAT IF NOT ALL FOUR BLOCKERS ARE ON THE TRACK?

Teams are allowed to field up to four Blockers. However, all four Blockers are not always on the track while the Jammer is earning passes. The most common reason is that the Blocker is sent to, serving time in, or returning from the Penalty Box. A team may also be short one or more Blockers if the Team fails to field the maximum number of skaters, or if a Blocker has to leave the track due to injury or to fix equipment.

If there are less than four Blockers on the track, the opposing Jammer still has the opportunity to earn all four points; otherwise, the Jammer would be at a disadvantage through no faults of their own. As soon as a Jammer earns a pass on an opposing Blocker, they earn a pass on any opponents who are “not on the track” (NOTT).

For example, if there is one opposing Blocker in the Penalty Box and one opposing Blocker off the track fixing a safety equipment issue, the Jammer will earn three points upon passing the first opposing Blocker on the track—one point for the in-bounds Blockers, one NOTT point for the Blocker in the Penalty Box, and one NOTT point for the out-of-bounds Blocker.

WHAT IF THE JAMMER ISN’T GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO PASS AN OPPONENT?

If a Jammer completes a trip through the Pack without the opportunity to earn a pass on an opponent, the Jammer is said to have earned a pass on that opponent. This include:

·         Opponents who are ahead of the Engagement Zone when the Jammer complete their trip through the Pack by exiting the front of the Engagement Zone;

·         Opponents who are ahead of the Engagement Zone at the end of the Jam when the Jammer is on a scoring trip and ahead of the rearmost Pack Blocker;

·         Any NOTT point they cannot earn because they complete their trip through the Pack without the opportunity to earn a pass on any opposing Blocker (which would earn them the NOTT point);

·         Opponents who are out of play behind the Pack, if the Jammer re-enters the track from the Penalty Box in front of that Blocker.

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE JAMMER GOES TO THE BOX BEFORE COMPLETING A LAP?

A penalized Jammer cannot earn passes on any further opponents until they complete their penalty. Upon release from the Penalty Box, the Jammer returns to the same trip through the Pack.

For example, four Blockers are on the track, Red 1, Red 2, Red 3, and Red 4. White Jammer passes Red 2 and Red 4, then is sent to the Penalty Box. After serving the penalty, White Jammer re-enters the track and is eligible to earn points on Red 1 and Red 3. The points are awarded after the Jammer exits the Engagement Zone or at the end of the Jam.

If the Jam ends before White Jammer is released, White Jammer is awarded two points from passing Red 2 and Red 4 before going to the Box.

WHY DOESN’T A JAMMER GET A POINT FOR LAPPING THE OTHER JAMMER?

Perhaps you remember a time when a Jammer could earn five points during a Jam (called a “Grand Slam”): one for each of the four Blockers and one Jammer Lap Point. Scoring lap points was complicated, inconsistent, and difficult to track. As such, at the end of 2018, WFTDA removed the lap point. Now, the maximum points in a Jam is four, one for each Blocker.

By Ruth Slayed-Her Ginsberg

Rules Corner: Blocking Zones

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) develops and publishes the rules of Flat Track Roller Derby in Française, Español, 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.

Rules Corner: Contact Penalties

This month we will discuss contact penalties, which are outlined in the WFTDA rules section 4.1. The illegal target zones include a skaters back of the body, head, and below mid-thigh of the legs.

If a skater makes contact with another skaters illegal target zone, a 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:

Back Block (B)

High Block (A)

Low Block (L)

There are times when a skater hits an illegal target zone of another skater and does not receive a penalty. According to Rule 4.1.1, “A skater suddenly presenting an illegal target zone to an opponent, giving that opponent no reasonable opportunity to avoid illegal contact, is considered to be initiating with that target zone.” Situation on the track: Red Team blocker skates into an opposing blocker (Black Team). Black Team blocker is moving on the track in the legal direction. Red Team blocker is skating backwards, but flips around at the last second. The Black Team blocker is unable to stop in time, and slams into the Red Team blockers back. This would normally be a back block, but since the Red Team Blocker presented the illegal target zone just before impact, the back block penalty would not be given.

Images of referee hand signals are available online through WFTDA Officiating Cues, Codes, and Signals (Updated December 2018).