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Join in the fun, play roller derby! No prior skating or roller derby experience required. We will teach you everything you need to know! Email info@alohacityrollers.com for more information.

Aloha City Rollers roller derby league on Oahu, Hawaii
How the Game of Roller Derby is Played

Basically it's two teams on a oval flat track. Each team has 5 players on the track, 4 blockers and 1 jammer each. The blockers start ahead of the jammers. A whistle is sounded and the blockers and the jammers start.

The jammers have to make their way through the pack of blockers and go around the track again. On their second pass through the pack the jammers score a point for every blockers hips on the opposing team they pass. While this is all going on the blockers are hip checking, shoulder checking, and booty blocking opposing team members to help their jammer get through and prevent the opposing jammer from getting through.

A bout or scrimmage is made up of lots of mini games called jams. Each jam lasts up to 2 minutes. At the end of the bout or scrimmage whichever team has the most points wins.

Aloha City Rollers roller derby league on Oahu, Hawaii

Basic overview of those involved in roller derby
It takes the efforts of a lot of people to make a roller derby game happen...

Role of the Pivot: is a blocker who wears a striped helmet cover who typically gives strategy instructions to the other blockers on their team. Other blockers who are not a pivot must start behind their hips if the Pivot(s) is/are touching the blocker starter line at the start of a jam. Should control pack speed and strategy. A Pivot is able to take over the jammer position if the jammer passes them their star helmet cover. Once the star helmet cover is on their helmet the pivot then becomes the jammer and is eligible to score points. A pivot may acquire penalties on behalf of her team.


Role of Blockers: Blockers play simultaneous offense and defense to assist their jammer to get through “the pack” while trying to prevent the other teams jammer from getting through the pack. Blockers may touch and interact with players from their own team. There are specific legal target zones and legal blocking zones in which players from opposing teams may initiate shoulder checks or hip checks. Blockers also manipulate one another by booty blocking, stall blocking and leaning. Blocker 1, usually the biggest and slowest holding the line. Blocker 2, usually a hard hitter controls toward the outside. Blocker 3 is usually fast, hard hitting, and often hangs around the back to assist the jammer and as the first line of defense.

Aloha City Rollers roller derby league on Oahu, Hawaii

Role of the Jammer: Score points. The jammer is the skater with the star helmet cover (a.k.a. jammer panty) on her helmet. While that star is on her helmet she must try to get through “the pack” legally and as quickly as possible while being pursued by blockers and the jammer from the opposing team. The jammer who makes it through the pack on the first pass legally and in bounds first is declared the lead jammer and while lead jammer they can call off the jam before the 2 minutes ends. If the lead jammer is sent to the penalty box in the jam she looses lead jammer status and the jam goes the entire 2 minutes. Both jammers start scoring points on the second and following laps where 1 point is awarded for legally passing the hips of an opposing blocker. A jammer may choose to pass the position of jammer during a jam by passing her star helmet cover to the pivot. Once the pivot has the star cover on her helmet she is then the jammer and is able to begin scoring points. As soon as the helmet cover is removed from a jammers helmet they are not eligible to score points. If the cover falls off the jammer’s helmet or if the helmet cover is being passed from the jammer to the pivot and it falls on the ground then only the jammer or the pivot may pick up and put on the star cover. If anyone else picks up the fallen star cover it is a major penalty.

Role of Team Captain and Alternates: Both Captains and Alternates can call time outs, request official reviews, bring concerns to head referee between jams. They must denote themselves with a “c” or an “a” on their arm. Captain may acquire penalties on behalf of her team. The team Captain must be a roster skater.

Line Up Coach: Calls out each jam line up and ensures all players are fielded. Keeps eye on penalty box to ensure not too many skaters are fielded. Tracks estimated penalty times for players in the box. Keeps team focused, positive, and motivated.

Bench Coach: Assists Line Up Coach in ensuring everyone is fielded. Watches what works and what doesn’t work and makes strategy suggestions. Keeps team focused, positive, and motivated.

Referees are there to ensure the game is played safely and fairly. Once a referee sees a penalty in progress and sees the outcome and aftermath of the action they determine the severity of the penalty, either Minor impact, or Major impact. Major calls begin with a whistle blast, the ref will then call out the team color, skater number, and penalty loud enough for the skater and the penalty tracker or penalty wrangler to hear and also make the hand signal for the penalty. Minor penalties are not preceded with a whistle. Referees will only call a penalty that they personally see happen. They can not make a call based on only the aftermath or what a skater claims has happened. They must witness the penalty themselves to make a call.

Role of Pack Referees: To watch the pack for penalties, define the pack, and assist other referees.

Aloha City Rollers roller derby league on Oahu, Hawaii

Role of Jammer Referees: watch a jammer from a specific team. Declare lead jammer status if warranted, be knowledgeable of how many penalties their jammer has at the start of each jam, keep track of jammers additional penalties, keep track points scored in each pass, and jam total, to call penalties on the jammer and anyone who interacts with jammer.

Role of Head Ref: HR is a pack ref. Oversees all officiating. Gives referee assignments to the ref squad. Goes over rules and procedures with team captains and alternates at the Captain’s meeting. Hosts the referee meeting pre-game. Oversees equipment check just before game starts. Watches everything going on during a jam. Teams communicate only with the Head Ref. When teams request reviews or time out to discuss something with the officials the Head Referee acts on behalf of all officials, and is constantly communicating with refs and nsos. The Head Referee makes the official decision and tries to ensure the utmost fairness. If the other referees have questions about a call or a rule they consult the Head Referee. The Head Referee’s decision is final.

Non Skating Officials (NSO) along with the Referees ensure games are fair and impartial.
Head NSO:
Trains other NSOs as needed. Is the go to person if any of the NSOs have questions or need to correct an error. The Head NSO communicates on behalf of the NSOs to the Head Referee. The Head NSO may also perform another NSO task at the same time as being Head NSO.

Penalty Tracker: There is one tracker per team. They keep track of each skater from that teams penalties on a tracking form. They receive penalty information from referees, penalty wranglers and other NSOs. They communicate the penalties for their team to the Big Board Penalty Tracker. They notify a referee when a skater has 4 minors and needs to serve time in the penalty box. They also notify the head referee when a skater is on their 7th trip to the penalty box so the skater can be ejected.

Score Keeper: There is one score keeper per team. Each score keeper works with one team’s jammer ref to acquire the number of points each pass. The Score Keeper records which jammer starts each jam, if there is a star pass, and points. The score keeper reports the running score total after each jam to the score board operator and/or skating score girl.

Penalty Wrangler: Relays penalty information from referees to the Penalty Trackers, catches overflow penalties.

Big Board Penalty Tracker: On a large dry erase board the tracker keeps a general track of penalties acquired by all skaters. The board is facing the team benches so they can view player penalties. The tracker gets the information for the board from the Penalty Trackers for each team.

Penalty Box Timer: This team of officials uses a stop watch to time the skaters penalty time. Typically there is 1 timer for each teams blocker seats and 1 timer for each teams jammers. The timer is informed by the referees if more than a minute penalty is to be served. When the skaters butt hits the seat the timer starts. The timer is stopped if the jam ends before their time is up and then is started at the start of the next jam. When the timer gets to 10 seconds the skater is told to stand then when time is up the skater is told “done”.

Jam Timer: Uses two stop watches, or kitchen timers; one to time each jam and one to time the 30 seconds between jams. When there is a time out called by a team the Jam Timer times the 1 minute time out and calls out “10 Seconds” when there is 10 seconds left of the time out. Once the 10 seconds is up the 30 seconds between jams is started. The Jam Timer announces “5 seconds” then blows a single short blast whistle and bring hand down in front to declare the start of the jam. When the last blocker in play hips pass the blocker start line then the Jam Timer blows two short blast whistles and brings hand from down to out to the right side to declare the jammers start. If the jam timer reaches 2 minutes then the Jam Timer calls off the jam by blowing 4 short whistle blasts.

Period Timer: Uses one stop watch which is started at the start of the first jam. If there is a time out called by a team, an official time out, or if the game comes to a stop due to an injury or unsafe condition then the period timer is stopped and is started again at the start of the next jam. The period timer lets the Announcer and the Head Referee know how much time is left through out each period. When the time gets to 25 minutes in the 30 minute period the Period Timer needs to let the Head Referee know there is 5 minutes left. Then when time is up the Period Timer needs to report it to the Head Referee.

Scoreboard Operator or Score Person: Reports the score to the Announcer, teams, and fans using a scoreboard.

Aloha City Rollers roller derby league on Oahu, Hawaii
Common Terms:

Helmet Covers= two helmet covers are in play for each team every jam. They are helmet covers worn by the jammer and the pivot. The jammers helmet cover has a star on it. The pivots helmet cover has a stripe on it. The jammer can only score points while wearing the helmet cover. If it falls off she does not score points while it is not being worn. The jammer can pass the helmet cover to the pivot as a strategic move and once the pivot puts it on they become the jammer. If the jammer had lead jammer status the pivot who became jammer would lose the lead jammer status once the star was passed.

Passing the Star= is when the jammer passes their helmet cover to the pivot. Once the stared helmet cover is on the helmet of the pivot they become the jammer and are eligible to start scoring points.

Aloha City Rollers roller derby league on Oahu, Hawaii

Points= A jammer starts scoring points on the 2nd pass through the pack. They score 1 point for every opposing players hips they pass.

Grand Slam= If an opposing jammer is either stuck in the pack or in the penalty box when the jammer from the other team gets through the pack they score a grand slam, which is 5 points. A point for the 4 blockers and 1 for the jammer.

Poodle or Poodling= is when a player starts a jam where they deliberately get a minor penalty. Most commonly by starting a jam somewhere in front of the blocker starter line. This is done by a skater who has 3 minor penalties and wants to clear it and serve their time in the box so they get their 4th minor and goes to the penalty box.

Power Play= is when the jammer from one team is in the penalty box. The opposing team has the power play.

Common Referee Penalty Hand Signals:

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Back Blocking
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Cutting the Track
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Forearms & Hands
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Elbow
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Low Block
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High Block
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Expulsion
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Gross Misconduct
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Official Time Out
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Out of Play
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Lead Jammer
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Not Lead Jammer
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Major Penalty