What is Roller Derby? A Fun Sport on Roller Skates

What is Roller Derby? A Fun Sport on Roller Skates

If you're looking for an exciting and physically demanding sport, look no further than Roller Derby. Played on quad skates on an oval flat track, Roller Derby is a game that combines speed, strategy, and athleticism. In this article, we'll delve into the details of Roller Derby, including the rules, gameplay, and strategies.

The Basics of Roller Derby

Each game of Roller Derby consists of two 30-minute halves, with each half broken down into 2-minute jams. During each jam, both teams field 1 jammer and 4 blockers. The jammer is easily recognizable with a star on their helmet, and their objective is to score as many points as possible by passing the opposing team's blockers.

On the other hand, the blockers line up in front of the jammer, forming a pack of 4 players. The blockers' goal is to block the opposing jammer from getting through and scoring points. One of the four blockers is designated as the pivot player, who leads the pack of blockers and has the opportunity to become a jammer.

The lead jammer is the first jammer to pass through the pack of blockers without committing any penalties. They are identified by the referee and can end the jam at any time by making a specific hand motion. After becoming the lead jammer, the jammer earns points by passing opposing blockers on the track.

Rules of Roller Derby

As with any sport, Roller Derby has its own set of rules that players must follow. While Roller Derby is a full-contact sport, there are certain areas of the body where contact is not allowed. No blocking is allowed above the shoulders, which means that no hitting to the head or helmet is permitted. Furthermore, punching is strictly prohibited.

Players can hit opponents in the front of the body from the chest down to the knees, but no contact is allowed below the knees. From the back, skaters can hit opponents from the sides, but no hitting is allowed to the center of the back. Players who commit any of these fouls will be penalized.

The End of a Jam

A jam ends when the 2-minute time limit expires, or when the lead jammer calls it off by making a specific hand motion. When the jam ends, the referee will blow the whistle four times, signaling the end of the jam period. A new jam will then begin with a new lineup of players.


Roller Derby is a physically demanding sport that requires speed, strategy, and athleticism. By fielding a jammer and a pack of blockers, the goal is to outscore the opposing team. However, the game is not without its rules and regulations, with contact only allowed in certain areas of the body. If you're looking for an adrenaline-filled and thrilling sport, Roller Derby might be the perfect fit for you.

History of Roller Derby

In 1935 Leo Seltzer, a film publicists, owned some theaters and promoted the walkathons. He wanted something new and knew that woman would help sell tickets to these events now known as roller derby. Leo took advantage of people being big on roller skating at the time, took an idea from bike races that were popular at the time and combined it with roller skating. This then became the trans-continental roller derby, it was originally a month long endurance skate that consisted of 25 2 persons teams, skating around wooden oval track for 57,000 laps. This was equivalent to 3,000 miles! These competitions could last up to 42 days. 

Eventually the roller derby game became a mobile sport, with a portable track and tickets being sold as cheap as 10 cents at supermarkets. Leo once read an article where the most exciting moments were when the skaters had collisions and this is where this sport took a turn and became a contact sport. The athletes were then encouraged to elbow and push each other make make dramatic scenes. The length of the races went down and the number of teams also did. This brings us closer to the sport we might recognize now as roller derby. In 1948 roller derby made it to the tv, thus making the athletes into stars. The National Roller Derby League was founded in 1949. 

Olympic Roller Derby

Roller Derby is a known international sport and mostly play by the amateurs. Thought it’s come to change over the years and adapt new rules and regulations, Roller Derby was under the careful consideration as a roller sport for the 2020 Summer Olympics. 

Roller Derby Equipment

Learn the technic of falling on roller skates and don't forget protection. The following protective equipment is required for derby skating

  1. Helmet
  2. Mouth Guard
  3. Wrist Guards
  4. Elbow Pads
  5. Knee Pads
  6. Quad Skates

Check our next article to learn more about roller hockey.

Professional freestyle slalom skater since 2006. Inline skates instructor. In the top 20 world best slalom skaters in the world at WSSA rank 2012-2018. Co-founder of InMove skates club and store in 2011. Event organizer of slalom and freeride competitons under WorldSlalomSeries. Creating helpful inline skates tutorials for beginners on YouTube channel InMoveSkates.

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