What is Roller Derby?

Roller derby is a fast-paced, full-contact sport played by two teams on quad roller skates, skating around an oval track.

Teams of five skaters play in each two minute ‘jam’ – each team consists of a ‘jammer’ and four ‘blockers’. The jammers are the point scorers and race against each other through the pack and around the track. The blockers do all they can to help their jammer through and stop the other team’s jammer. Each game (or ‘bout’) lasts an hour.

It’s a whole load of smashy-bashy fun, with a generous side portion of tactics – and we love it!

In a bit more detail, here’s a jazzy account of the game in the words of our very own Greek Frightenin’:

“A whistle blows, the skaters are on the rampage, and the battle begins…! The first of the two jammers that makes it past all the players from the opposing team becomes ‘lead jammer’ and can call off that jam at any time. Once the jammers have passed through the pack, they race around the track as fast as they can to catch the pack up again from behind. This is when the point scoring begins…

As the jammers fight their way through the pack once more, they score a point for each opposing team-member they pass. Then it’s the blockers’ time to shine – their job is to help their own jammer through the pack, creating spaces, knocking opposing skaters out of the way and pushing or pulling the jammer to give her more speed! They are also there to stop the opposing jammer getting through, by closing up spaces and knocking players about to get in the way and slow her down.

Some might say the jammer is the star of the team and a lot of girls who play derby might see jammer status as the ultimate goal, but the blockers are just as important, as without their help the jammer would be hard-pressed to score any points. The beautifully belligerent blockers are also there to make damn sure the opposing team don’t score any points! So it really is a team sport, and having a close relationship with your fellow skaters makes all the difference.”

Our beloved sport has grown rapidly over the last 10 years and is now played by more than 1000 amateur leagues around the world, on every populated continent!

Historically, roller derby was a ‘gals’ only deal but more and more UK leagues are cropping up that include mens teams and co-ed teams too (mixed men and women.) For a more detailed history of roller derby, its origins, and how it compares to the modern game, please take a look at our blog…