Wednesday, December 28, 2011

‎2.6.5 After a timeout the period clock does not resume until the next jam starts.

During a timeout, either team or official, the period clock is stopped (2.6.2 and 2.6.4). The clock does not begin until the next jam starts. That means on the jam start whistle of the jam following a timeout the period and jam clocks will both start at the same time. As a reminder, after a timeout no more than 30 seconds should elapse before the next jam starts (

Monday, December 19, 2011

‎2.6.3 Teams may take timeouts only between jams.

Not really much to say about today's rule. As it says team may only take a timeout between jams. Meaning if a team attempts to call a timeout during a jam, it will be ignored.

Friday, December 16, 2011

‎3.4.2 In order to gain Lead Jammer status on her initial pass through the pack, a Jammer must pass the foremost in-play Blocker legally and in bounds, having already passed all other Blockers legally and in bounds.

Another Lead Jammer rule today. I find this to be one of the more redundant rules in the WFTDA rule book. After all, 3.4.1 says pretty much the exact same thing as 3.4.2. About the only difference between the two rules is that 3.4.1 is worded more how a Jammer becomes Lead, while 3.4.2 is worded more what a Jammer must do to become Lead. Regardless, they both have the same requirement, which is to be the first Jammer to pass the foremost in-play Blocker (any Blocker, as it doesn't differentiate between teammate and opponent) legally and in bounds (the Jammer need be in bounds, not the Blocker), having passed all other Blockers legally and in bounds.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

‎ A Jammer must be ahead of the foremost in-play Blocker, as demarked by the hips, in order to become Lead Jammer.

Today's rule seems pretty straight forward, and really it is. However, while utilizing this rule several others have to be considered as well. This rule seems to make it clear that once a Jammer has passed the foremost in-play Blockers hips, legally and in bounds, she will become Lead Jammer. After all, Blockers who are out of play ahead of the pack need not be passed ( But what about out of bounds Blockers ahead of the foremost in-play Blocker? They aren't specifically covered in the rules. To figure out how those Blockers matter one need only revisit 3.4.1.

3.4.1 Lead Jammer is a strategic position established on the Jammers’ initial pass through the pack during each jam. The Lead Jammer is the first Jammer to pass the foremost in-play Blocker legally and in bounds, having already passed ALL OTHER BLOCKERS legally and in bounds.

The capitalized emphasis above is my own. That is the part of the rules that covers Blockers who are out of bounds ahead of the foremost in-play Blocker. Just because the Jammer has passed the foremost in-play Blocker (FIPB for short) doesn't mean that 3.4.1 is ignored. At the time that the Jammer passes the FIPB, her Jammer referee must know whether or not the Blocker who is out of bounds ahead of the FIPB has been passed legally and in bounds. As stated a couple of times in the past, a pass is a pass. So if a Blocker gets passed legally and in bounds by a Jammer, and then the Jammer passes them a second time but illegally, the first legal pass still counts and she is still eligible to be Lead. So, if a Blocker ahead of the FIPB has been passed already, the as soon as the Jammer passes the FIPB, she becomes Lead (assuming she's still eligible). If that Blocker had not been passed, then even though the Jammer has passed the FIPB, she is not declared Lead Jammer until she passes the out of bounds Blocker, thus satisfying 3.4.1's all Blockers requirement.

What makes a scenario like this interesting is that it is possible for the out of bounds Blocker to return in bounds and become the FIPB herself, which is why Jammers should not be declared Lead too early. As well, it is entirely possible for the other Jammer to also pass the FIPB and have already passed the out of bounds Blocker, making her the Lead Jammer, even though she was behind the first Jammer. Again, even though the first Jammer was the first to pass the FIPB, the second Jammer was the first to pass the FIPB, having passed all other Blockers, as 3.4.1 requires.

I apologize if this explanation has totally confused you. These are the types of scenarios that are best explained visually, such as with toy figurines on a paper track, or however you like to play derby in small scale. If you still have questions about these scenarios please do not hesitate to ask. I will do my best to unconfuse you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 A Jammer must be in bounds to become Lead Jammer—no part of her body or equipment may be touching out of bounds. She does not have to stay in bounds to remain Lead Jammer.

Today's rule explains where a Jammer must be to be declared Lead Jammer, not where she must remain to be eligible to be Lead. That might have confused you. The reason I put it that way is because there are many people, skaters and refs, who believe that a skater can not become Lead Jammer if she has gone out of bounds. That is not true. Going out of bounds MAY make a Jammer ineligible for Lead, but that is ONLY if she does so before she reaches the engagement zone on her initial pass. That is covered under a separate rule: To remain eligible for Lead Jammer, a Jammer must remain in bounds until she is within twenty (20) feet of the pack, a.k.a. the Engagement Zone, the area in which she may be legally engaged by a Blocker. No part of her skate(s) may touch the ground outside the track boundary before she initially enters the Engagement Zone. Until she initially reaches the Engagement Zone, a Jammer may be blocked out of bounds by the opposing Jammer, rendering her ineligible to become Lead Jammer.

The rule referenced above clearly states that a Jammer is ineligible if she goes out of bounds before reaching the engagement zone on her initial pass. That rule says nothing about having to remain in bounds after she has reached the engagement zone.

So what today's rule covers is that even though a Jammer may go out of bounds and still be eligible for Lead, she will not be declared Lead until she is in bounds and has satisfied the requirements of 3.4.1. No Jammer who is out of bounds may be declared Lead. And very importantly, again, a Jammer who has gone out of bounds only after she has reached the engagement zone, is still eligible to be Lead Jammer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

‎ Lead Jammer status will be signaled immediately after it is earned. See Section for “Not Lead Jammer.”

This rule explains when a Jammer referee is to declare their Jammer as Lead. As stated, Lead Jammer status is signaled immediately after it is earned. If you are unsure how Lead Jammer status is earned please see 3.4.1 in the Rule of the Day archive.

Now, what this rule says is that Lead Jammer status is declared. A declaration of Lead Jammer only means that the Jammer who has been declared is Lead Jammer. It does not mean that that Jammer has completed her initial pass. That happens only after she has skated 20 feet from the pack. So it is important for those involved with Jammers, particularly Jammer referees and scorekeepers, to keep in mind that it is very possible for a Jammer to be declared Lead Jammer and yet still not finish her initial pass. The WFTDA StatsBook has a column on the score tracking sheets to track whether a Jammer was Lead and also if she never completed her initial pass. It is possible for both of those to be filled out. Again, being declared Lead Jammer does not mean that Jammer has completed her initial pass, only that she has become Lead Jammer.

As for not Lead Jammer, mentions that a Jammer is not to be signaled as not Lead Jammer only when she has skated 20 feet from the pack and has finished her initial pass. To those who question whether a referee must wait for their Jammer to skater 20 feet from the pack before signaling not Lead even when the other Jammer has been declared Lead already, my answer is: to follow the rules, they must wait.

Friday, December 9, 2011

‎ Jam Timer: A game will have one jam timer. The jam timer is responsible for starting jams and for timing thirty (30) seconds between jams. The jam timer is also responsible for ending jams that run the full two (2) minutes.

NSO week! To round out the end of NSO week, today we look at the jam timer. There is only one jam timer. Their job is to start each jam, time the 30 seconds between each jam, and blow the jam ending whistle when jams reach two minutes. Now, there are a couple interesting points here.

For starters, the jam timer times the 30 seconds between jams, commonly referred to as the lineup clock. This is interesting because the lineup clock is not mentioned in Section 2.8 Clocks. 2.4.3 says there are 30 seconds between jams, and today's rule mentions that the jam timer times that 30 seconds, but no rule requires this lineup time to be visible. That is why it is acceptable for a bout to have a 2 minute jam clock visible but not the lineup clock.

The second interesting point is that today's rule puts only the responsibility of starting the jam on the jam timer, not starting the Jammers. 4.4.2 mentions that "the referee whistles the Jammers to begin". So technically, and completely literally, a referee (it doesn't say which) is supposed to start the Jammers. However, since the referees need to concentrate on watching the skaters, it has become a fully accepted practice for the jam timer to blow the Jammer start whistle.

Jam timer verbal cues and hand signals have been standardized in the WFTDA Officiating Standard Practices and Officiating Verbal Cues documents. In fact, all the NSO positions that exist in the rules, that have been covered all week, have standards associated with them. While these standards are only require for WFTDA tournaments, it is recommended that every official follow them, as widespread standards make the game better to play and officiate for everyone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

‎ Penalty Timing Officials: A game will have at least two officials to oversee the penalty box. The penalty timing officials time penalties and assist referees in ensuring a team skates short when they ought.

NSO week! Today's rule mandates at least two penalty timing officials. This is to make sure penalties get timed properly and accurately. Nowadays there exists at least a couple of penalty timer smartphone apps that allow a single person to keep time for up to 6 people by themself. This still doesn't remove the fact that the rules require two officials in the penalty box. Even if one official is timing and the other isn't, a second penalty timing official is a helpful person. Two PTOs help make sure that Jammers are released appropriately when both are penalized while still concentrating on any Blockers' penalty times. There is a penalty box manager form included in the WFTDA StatsBook that a second PTO can fill out. Regardless of how a league chooses to keep penalty time, a second PTO is not only not a bad thing, it's also a requirement.

Now, this rule mentions that penalty timing officials assist referees in making sure than penalized teams skate short. This is done so in a variety of way. For starters, they time the skaters' penalties to make sure they sit the appropriate amount of time. That is the primary function of a penalty timing official. PTOs also let referees know when skaters have left the box early without being released, so that the skater may be given an Illegal Procedure major and returned to the box. Sometimes penalty timing officials will use a whiteboard to record the numbers of skaters who have been waved off from the penalty box and eventually need to return. This is helpful to referees as they don't need to remember anything regarding the penalty queue except to look at the penalty box whiteboard. I am not necessarily promoting referees ignore the penalty queue, just that a penalty box whiteboard is becoming a widespread practice and that is one its effects.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 Penalty Trackers: A game will have at least one penalty tracker. The penalty tracker records the penalties reported by referees and keeps track of the official penalty tally.

NSO week! Today's NSO is the penalty tracker. Although it is commonplace to use two penalty trackers, the rules allow for one penalty tracker to be used. This is most likely because penalty tracking can be done with the aid of the jam timer, a penalty wrangler, etc. Regardless, a single penalty tracker may be used. The penalty tracker's sheet is the official tally of penalties. This means that if the inside whiteboard is showing a number of penalties for a skater that is different than the penalty sheet, the penalty sheet will be taken as the correct number. The same goes with the penalty box manager sheet. If the penalty box has recorded a skater sitting seven turns in the box, but the penalty sheet has only recorded six, the skater has six turns and is not fouled out.

Monday, December 5, 2011

‎ Scorekeepers: A game will have at least two scorekeepers. The scorekeepers record the points reported by the Jammer referees and keeps the official score.

In honor of my stint as an NSO at the World Cup this past weekend I have decided to make this NSO week.

For starters we have the scorekeepers. There must be two of them, one for each team. The reason to have two is to make sure the score is accurately recorded from each jam ref. While a single scorekeeper is possible, two scorekeepers promises better accuracy, which is important where the score is concerned.

The scorekeepers keep the official score. This means that if for some reason the scoreboard is showing something different than on the scorekeeper's score sheet, the score on the score sheet will be the actual score. It is important for scorekeepers and jam refs to work together as a team to make sure the score is reported and recorded accurately. It is typical, and all but standard, for jam refs to remain reporting to the same scorekeeper throughout a game. This means a scorekeeper will record the score for one team the first and the other team in the second half, as jam refs also typically switch teams at halftime. Keeping jam refs and scorekeepers together helps the jam ref as they know to look for the same scorekeeper the entire game for confirmation when they signals points every scoring pass.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

‎3.5.7 A star pass may be blocked by the opposing team by any means of legal blocking.

During a star pass the only people eligible to touch the Jammer helmet cover are the Jammer and Pivot. The Blockers on their team may not hand it off between them, and the opposing team skaters may not touch it either. They may only use legal blocking to block a star pass. Legal blocking in this case would be any legal contact from a legal blocking zone to a legal target zone. You know, regular blocking. If a Jammer is about to hand her helmet cover to her Pivot and an opponent legally hip checks her, sending the helmet cover flying, that is perfectly legal. If the opponent grabs the helmet cover and skates away, well, she's certainly going to receive an Illegal Procedure major.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

‎ Jammers may transfer the star upon returning to play from the penalty box.

As mentioned yesterday, once a Jammer has returned to the track from the penalty box and is in play she may pass the star to the Pivot. She may not pass the star while she in the penalty box (3.5.1) or in route to the box (

Monday, November 28, 2011

‎ Jammers may not transfer the star while in route to or while in the penalty box.

Once a Jammer has been signaled to the penalty box (considered "in the box" per she is in route to the box. At that point if the Jammer passes the star it is considered an illegal star pass, which may not be complete, per The question the becomes what exactly happens to the inactive Jammer and the Pivot in possession of the Jammer helmet cover? That is easily answered with a WFTDA Q&A.

The Q&A explains that the now inactive Jammer (inactive because they removed their helmet cover and gave it to the Pivot) goes to penalty box as an inactive Jammer, and the Pivot may not put the Jammer helmet cover on her head. If she does, a referee will tell her to remove it. If he does not do so then she will receive an Insubordination major penalty. Once the Jammer's penalty is over and she has returned to the track she may retrieve the helmet cover from the Pivot and replace it on her helmet becoming active again. If the Jammer was sent to the box after having made a legal pass to the Pivot but before the Pivot placed the helmet cover on her helmet, then the Pivot also has the choice to place the helmet cover on her helmet once the Jammer has returned to the track. If the jam ends with the inactive Jammer still in the penalty box, one of her teammates may bring her the Jammer helmet cover and she will be active in the next jam.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

3.5.3 The initiator of the star pass is always responsible for the legality of the star pass.

Much like a block, the skater who does the act of passing the star is the initiator. This means, if a Jammer takes off her helmet cover and passes it illegally to the Pivot, either by throwing it or by handing it to the Pivot while the Pivot is out of play, the Jammer is the initiator and will receive an Illegal Procedure major for violation of the star pass procedure, per 6.13.20. Now, if the Pivot were to remove the Jammer's helmet cover from the Jammer's helmet, the Pivot would be considered the initiator of the illegal star pass and be the one to receive the major penalty.

Now, there's a situation where I interpret the rules a certain way, but I fully admit there's the possibility of me being wrong. Not because I'm interpreting the words wrong, but simply because the rules may not have meant to be interpreted this way. Regardless, unless corrected, this is the interpretation I go by. The situation is if the Pivot picks up the Jammer helmet from the ground.

There's two ways this can happen, the Jammer drops the Jammer helmet cover from their hand or the Jammer helmet cover ends up on the ground by other means. If the Jammer drops the Jammer helmet cover on the track and the Pivot picks it up while out of the engagement zone, that is an illegal star pass (3.5.1), and the Jammer is the initiator and will go to the box. If the Jammer helmet cover falls off of the Jammer's helmet onto the track and the Pivot picks it up outside of the engagement zone, the Pivot is the initiator and will go to the box. The Pivot being the initiator would also apply if the Jammer's helmet cover is removed by any other means except her taking it off herself. I find the first scenario unfortunate because the Pivot can cause the Jammer to go to the box without the Jammer performing and wrongdoing, and that is why I believe there is a possible different intended interpretation to this rule. However, the rules as written do support my interpretation. I am certainly open to being corrected on this, as issuing that penalty would be a nightmare, since the referees would have to know who did what, when and where. I would prefer that the rules require the Pivot to be penalized if they pick up the helmet cover illegally in all circumstances, but that isn't currently how it is.

Friday, November 25, 2011

‎ Exclusively use a skater’s team color and charter number for calling penalties on that skater.

The last subrule of the "Referees will" section, today's rule is one I've referenced during discussions about skater numbers. This is the rule that requires referees to refer to skaters by their number and not their name. This is because names are optional whereas numbers are required (3.7.3 and 3.7.4). So as mentioned before when a referee is signaling a penalty on a skater they must use her team color (the base color of her team's uniform) and her skater number. Going back to previous discussions, and to assuage any misunderstanding on this subject, if a skater has chosen a skater number that includes letter (allowed by the rules per then both the numerical and alphabetic characters must be used when calling that skater's number. That means that if a skater named "Hamburger Patty" chose the skater number "B33F" a referee must call her by the full number. The preferred method, albeit not standard, is to call each character out. So she would be called as "bee-three-three-eff". Calling her "beef" would be ignoring the 3's in the number. An acceptable call would be "bee-thirty three-eff" as that would calling the skater's number.

As well, to clear up other possible confusion, where this rule references charter number and section 3.7.4 discusses skater or player number, all of these are the same thing. A charter is a 20 skater roster submitted by WFTDA member leagues every quarter for sanctioned games. Thus, for WFTDA sanctioned games a skater's number must also match her team's charter. For non-WFTDA sanctioned games the number that a skater displays on the back of her jersey is her skater number, which is what also must appear on her arms/sleeves, on all tracking sheets, and is the number that today's rule requires referees to use.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

‎ Whistle, hand signal and vocally call out all major penalties.

The first responsibility under " Referees will:". This is what referees must do when calling a major penalty. There will be a whistle, a hand signal, and a verbal cue. the whistle will be a single long whistle blast, per section 2.9 Whistles. The hand signal will follow those in the WFTDA Referee Hand Signals document. The verbal cue will follow the WFTDA Officiating Verbal Cues document, and will be split in two parts. The first part is the order or the verbal cue, while the second is the type of penalty.

For a major penalty, following a single long whistle blast, a referee will announce the penalized skater's team color, then her skater number, the type of penalty she is being penalized for, followed by the word "major". All major penalties will be signaled with the word "major". Referees may not assume that a skater understood it was a major because of the whistle blast.

The type of penalty must also be included. The phrases to be used for the type of penalty are listed in the Officiating Verbal Cues document. Most penalty types are called out as they are listed in the rules, such as "Cutting the track" or "Multiple player block". Direction of Gameplay, Out Of Play and Illegal Procedure penalties all have multiple penalties listed in the document and are to be called specifically. "Failure to reform" penalties are not to be called as "Out of play". The reason referees are to use these specific verbal cues is to provide skaters with adequate information as to why they received a penalty. After all, referees are there for the skaters, and skaters need to know why they received a penalty.

So, to sum up, when a referee calls a major penalty it will sound like:

TWEEEET "Pink 360 destroying the pack major"

It will be accompanied by the Out of Play penalty hand signal followed by the major penalty hand signal.

Again, today's rule falls under the "Referees will" heading. This procedure is what must be followed. There is no excuse for sloppiness either. Referees should be practicing proper hand signals as well as clear and loud verbal cues, and clear and loud whistles. For those who wonder if they are performing the penalty call procedure signal correctly watch a bout with high level certified referees and compare their actions to yours.

Monday, November 21, 2011 Referees will:

This week will focus on some referee responsibilities. Now, as you can see, today's says "referees will". It does. It say "referees may" or "referees can choose to" or "if referees feel like it". The use of "will" means the following subrules are what referees will always do. No matter what. If you are an official and working with a referee who does do what this week's rules say that they will, a kind reminder that they "will" is a good idea. Now, if you're a skater and the referees are not doing what the rules say they will, and you happen to be penalized for it, again a kind reminder that these rules say "will" and not "may" will go a long way. I do emphasize, however, that reminders ought to be kind. Kindness goes farther.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

‎ A team’s jersey numbers are of high contrast if there is a large degree of visual difference between the color of the number and the base color of the jersey such that the number significantly stands out from the base color of the jersey.

Late rule post tonight! I'm on my way home from a derby tournament (sadly, not Champs) but I wanted to finish off skater number week so we can start a new set of rules tomorrow. So, today's rule is the last in the subset of skater numbers. Where Friday's rule required skater numbers on uniforms to be of high contrast beyond a reasonable doubt, this rule explains what that means. While talk of what contrast is and color values (and the related visual aids posted by Bryn in Friday's comment thread - check them out!) is important, what matter most is that the skater number stand out significantly from the base color of the uniform. Of course, that is definitely where color values come into play. Two colors may be completely different, but if their value is the same, they won't really stand out from each other. A color's value is basically how light or dark is it. Green is green. But green with a higher value is lighter, while green with a lower value is darker. A light green on a dark green will stick out better than a blue on green that have both the same color value. That is why the rules require high contrast, not just different colors.

Friday, November 11, 2011

‎ A team’s jersey numbers must meet the definition of high contrast beyond a reasonable doubt or the Head Referee shall request that the team provide an alternative that meets the definition.

Having finished the rules that govern what a skater's number may be, today's rule explains that a skater's number on her jersey must be of high contrast to the jersey itself. The point of this rule is so the number is easily readable by referees. High contrast does not necessarily mean "opposite" colors. Black and white, considered to be opposites, contrast well, but so may a light and dark version of the same color. The idea is that a referee glancing quickly at a skater's jersey will have no trouble reading the number. As the rule states, and as is true for all rules concerning uniforms and skater numbers, if a color scheme does not provide high contrast beyond a reasonable doubt, then the Head Referee of the game may request an alternative to that color scheme. If alternative jersey are unavailable that team (or individual skaters) won't be allows to play in the game.

For teams that are planning to purchase new uniforms for all players, it is a good idea just to check with a few referees before doing so and get two or three opinions before spending any money.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

‎ Players on the same team may not have identical numbers. For example, two players may not both wear L5, but one may wear L5 and another may wear J5.

Today's rule is sort of a culmination of the last few days' rules. told us how long a number can be (up to 4characters). told us what the characters may (alphanumeric, letters and numbers). told us that a number on a jersey may have small characters preceding and/or following it (but are not considered part of the number). Today's rule explains exactly why a skater number is officially what it is. I know that phrase is a little odd so let me explain.

Over the past few days there have been more than a few people who have explained that it was their understanding that if a skater chose a number with letters in it then the letters were ignored by the officials in a game. A couple examples would be a skater with the number "H3RO" on her jersey would be called as "3", or a skater with "L1F3" on her jersey would be called as "13". The truth behind this understanding is that it is definitively FALSE. I've made that word all capitals so the point gets across. Ignoring a part of a skater's number, provided that number is legal is wrong. Very wrong. Today's rule proves it.

In today's rule two examples of numbers that are considered unique are given, "L5" and "J5". If the letter portions of skater numbers were to be ignored, then both those skater numbers would be "5" and there can't be two of the same number on a team, per today's rule and also 3.7.4. Therefore, "J5" is called "J5" and "L5" is called "L5". Similarly, "H3R0" would be called "H-3-R-0". Why not call it as "hero"? That's been another common question this week, so let me explain that one too.

There is one rule that clearly tells officials how they must refer to skaters: Referees will: Exclusively use a skater’s team color and charter number for calling penalties on that skater.

When a referee calls a penalty on a skater they must use her number. In the case of a skater with the number "H3R0" her number is "H-3-R-0" not "hero". If a ref says "hero" they are ignoring the two numerical digits in the number (or possibly just one if you consider "oh" is an accepted pronunciation for the number zero). Thus if a ref were trying to send this skater to the penalty box by calling "hero" she would not have to go there since her number is not the one being called.

It has also been asked if there is a standard way for an official to pronounce a skater's number. The answer is no. In some cases there is only one way, such as a skater with the number "K1D", which must be called "kay-one-dee" so as to call the actual number as writ. Now, cases where multiple pronunciations exist, all correct ones are acceptable. With the skater number "B00B" (you know someone's got it) an official could say "bee-oh-oh-bee", "bee-zero-zero-bee", "bee-double oh-bee" or "bee-double zero-bee" and be correct. Of course, for consistency sake, more and more refs are moving to a system of calling a number by each character. Thus, "H3R0" gets called as "aytch-three-arr-zero". This way, while in some cases not the easiest or most efficient, is undoubtedly the most accurate way to call a skater by her number.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

‎ A player may have small characters preceding or following her player number on her jersey e.g. 55 mph, where “mph” is considerably smaller than 55. These small characters are not considered part of the skater’s number and they may not inhibit the legibility of the player’s number whatsoever. The maximum size for the small characters is two (2) inches.

Today's rule is a favorite among skaters with "vanity" numbers. Those would be numbers that add to their derby name. An example would be a skater named "Highway to Helen" (if this is a real name, it is pure coincidence as I just made it up) whose number is "55mph". Obviously this not a legal number, thanks to, which was covered on Monday, as it has more than four characters. However, rather than abandon the number altogether, Helen may opt to make her number "55" officially, and on her jersey she can put "mph" after the number, so long as the letters are 2 inches or less in height. Extra letters, numbers, symbols, pictures, or anything else really, may be added to a skater's jersey so long as all of those items are:
- less than 2 inches in height.
- come only before and/or after the number, and not in between.
- are not included when officials refer to the skater number.

Those three above points are not debatable. All extra characters must be 2 inches or less, or else they will be considered part of the skater's number, which may make the number, and this the uniform, illegal. The extra characters may ONLY be placed before and/or after the skater's number. A skater may not use the number "20/20" because the slash is not before or after, but rather in the middle of the number. Finally, officials may not use the extra characters when referring to a skater with them on her jersey. A skater with "$1MIL" on her jersey will still be referred to as "1MIL", provided the "$" is less than 2 inches.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

‎ A player’s number must be alphanumeric with at least one numerical digit. For example: L5 is an acceptable number, but LV is not. Numbers cannot contain symbols.

Today's rule has two parts to it. The easier part to explain is that each skater's number must have at least one numerical digit. If a skater wants to use "HERO" as their number, they would have to use "H3RO", "HER0", or a combination of the two. At least one numerical digit keeps it a number (at least that's what I tell myself). I really don't know why skater numbers must have a numerical digit, but they must.

The other part to this rule is that characters in a skater number must be alphanumeric, with no symbols. For those who like to stretch the bounds of rules, alphanumeric means 0-9, a-z, and A-Z. Wikipedia has a great article on alphanumeric.

This was done because there used to be all kinds of ridiculous numbers in roller derby. I used to peruse Twoevils and laugh. One time I swear I saw the number "&1&2&3&4&5&6". Can you imagine a referee trying to call a penalty on her during a bout? Let alone, how would she fit that on her arm? And that brings up the mention of symbols. If a character is not alphanumeric then it is a symbol. Since alphanumeric includes Latin letters and Arabic digits, letters and numbers from other languages or alphabets are allowed. Yes, lambda is a letter, but it is Greek and therefore not considered alphanumeric. The infinity symbol is just that, a symbol. Same with the at symbol.

So to sum up, skater numbers may be four characters maximum (if that is news to you, see yesterday's rule), made of alphanumeric characters only, and one of them must be a numerical digit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

‎ A player’s number may contain up to four characters.

Last week I covered a bunch of uniform rules. This week I will be covering the rest of the rules that pertain to skater numbers.

Today's rule is very straightforward. A legal skater number is four character long max. It may be less than four, but not more. Wednesday's rule will explain that extra characters may be allowed on a jersey that would make the number look larger than four characters but a skater's number, what is communicated to her and used on all official tracking sheets, may be no more than four characters.

Friday, November 4, 2011

‎ A player’s number must be of a readable font. A number is of readable font if it can be easily read and distinguished from the other players’ numbers by the officials, other players, and fans.

Today's rule is crucial to follow. Granted, I say that as a referee who has had to try and decipher many skater numbers off jerseys, but that's part of the rule. Referees must be able to read every skater's number clearly and quickly. Same goes for all officials, fans, announcers, the opposing team, etc. Thus, the readable font rule was added a couple versions ago. However, this rule also requires numbers to be distinguishable from other skaters. That means that the skater with number 6B should not be confused with number 68. Number A55 must clearly have two numerical digits. It must be recognized that letters and numbers may look alike and so care should be taken to select a font that does not cause a problem.

As with all uniform rules, a skater who has an improper uniform is not disqualified from playing the game, only her uniform is. But if a skater doesn't have a backup uniform that adheres to the rules, she will not be able to play in the game.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

‎ The print of the number should be at least four (4) inches tall, so that it is legible and large enough to be read by officials who are positioned anywhere within the track or on its boundary.

This rule is kind of tricky, but only thanks to language. In all sorts of rules, regulations, laws, codes, standards and other documents of the like, the words "should" and "may" allow the choice of following that particular clause while the words "shall" and "must" denote requirements that absolutely have to be followed. So it would seem that the part of today's rule which says that numbers "should be at least four (4) inches tall" may be optional. However, the only two other places that the rules use the word "should" is in rules that are clearly not optional ( and 4.1.2). Therefore, inconsistent language aside, the requirement for numbers on skaters' uniform to be at least 4 inches tall is just that: a requirement.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

‎3.7.4 Each skater participating in a bout must visibly display a unique (with relation to her own team) number on the back of her uniform.

Today's rule explains that numbers are required. 3.7.3, which was covered back in April, explains that names are optional. Numbers are not optional. This is because officials use a player's number exclusively to communicate penalties and other instructions (per And since numbers are used exclusively, skaters must not share a number with anyone else on their team. Similar numbers, while not particularly pleasant to officials, are legal. For example, a team may have a 12, a 112, and a 0112. Annoying? Yes. Legal? Yes. So long as a skater's number is unique compared to her team then she is fine. Two teams may have the exact same numbers as each other and that is still legal, so long as each team has no number repeats.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

‎ All uniforms shall be in good repair and shall not cause a hazard to other skaters. All patches and numbers must be securely fastened to said uniform. Safety pins are not permitted.

Today's rule is a pretty simple one, yet a very good one to remember. The second part of it is very commonly known and pretty logical as well. Safety pins pose a threat of safety to others as they can open up on contact. Any skaters wearing a jersey with a temporary number (and name) patch on the back should attach it with a few temporary stitches. Tape, Velcro, and other similar methods are unreliable, while pins and staples are unsafe. In regards to the first part of this rule, while uniforms being in good repair is not typically an issue, making sure they don't pose a hazard threat may be. I have personally learned from experience that during safety equipment checks I look for items on a skater's uniform that may be cause a hazard. The most common I come across now are loose or loosely tied bandanas that skaters use as sweat rags. I make sure there are tied securely to a skater or their uniform as I have seen more than a couple fall on the track mid-jam. Belts may be an issue, if they have any attachments on them that could be harmful to others. For the most part I am ok with studded belts, but some border on being spiked, and I won't allow spiked anything in a bout. Other items that can be looked for but aren't as prevalent nowadays are various animal ears, devil horns, small stuffed animals, and other such items affixed to helmets. These should be checked for both integrity of adhesive, and also that they don't pose a safety threat even while attached to the helmet. While some skaters like to accessorize their uniform with various objects, safety is definitely the first priority.

Monday, October 31, 2011

‎3.7.1 Each member of a respective team participating in a bout must wear a uniform which clearly identifies her as a member of her team.

Today's rule is the first in the uniform section. What it specifies is that skaters must be clearly identified as members of their respective teams. Although many more uniform rules follow, none of them say that teammates must be wearing the same jersey, shirt, shorts, etc. The rules only require teammates to be clearly identifiable. This basically means players on each team must wear the same color uniform as their teammates, as that is a clear demarcation of team membership. Again, the "clearly" requirement prevents teams from wearing uniforms that may look too much alike as to prevent any skater's team being clearly identified. It is definitely preferable for teams skating in colored uniforms to all have the same shade of color uniform, however if the distinction between teams is clear then this rule has been satisfied. For example, if one team is wearing black and the other team pink, then a hot pink and a baby pink jersey would clearly both be the pink team's uniforms.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

‎6.12 Skating Out of Bounds Skaters must remain in bounds. No part of the skater’s skate(s) may touch the ground outside the track boundary. Skaters may not pick up momentum for a block until in bounds (see Section 6.8.2).

This is the main description of what Skating Out Of Bounds constitutes. The rules state that skaters must stay in bounds. Roller derby is played in bounds on the track. This section goes on to list exceptions where skaters may go out of bounds, but aside from those exceptions skaters must remain in bounds, as today’s rule clearly says. Some of these exceptions include being blocked out of bounds, going out of bounds as the result of a missed block, going out of bounds to avoid a downed skater, and of course skating to and from the penalty box. What is definitely not allowed is a for a skater to go out of bounds of their own accord. 6.12.5 penalizes a skater who skates out of bounds to avoid a block. 6.12.6 penalizes a skater who skates out of bounds to maintain or increase speed. A penalty issued per 6.12.6 happens most usually when a skater comes around a turn too fast and her momentum ends up taking her out of bounds. This is common with Jammers. This would be a Skating Out Of Bounds minor.

Previously the argument has been made that the phrase “skating out of bounds” referred to the skating a skater did while out of bounds. An official publication from the WFTDA, Exiting The Track (, makes it clear that “skating out of bounds” means skating from in bounds to out bounds. As well, the publication makes it clear that any skater who has both skates touching outside the track boundary must receive a Skating Out Of Bounds minor penalty. This may seem contrary to the phrasing of “to maintain or increase speed” as found in 6.12.6, but the intent of the WFTDA publication is to penalize skaters for going out of bounds of their own accord. Per the publication, it is not illegal for a skater to put herself into a straddling position, which will always be called as no impact/no penalty. However, if a skater puts herself into a straddling position and then afterwards completely exits the track, even to avoid a Cutting the Track penalty, she will receive a Skating Out of Bounds penalty. If the skater was hit into a straddling position, and then completely exits the track to avoid a Cutting penalty, she will not be penalized.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

‎ Below the mid-thigh

Today's rule is the third and final illegal target zone. The penalty section associated with this illegal target zone is 6.3 Low Blocking. Illegal contact to the back of the legs is covered under Low Blocking instead of Blocking to the Back, yesterday's rule. Something you may notice is that section 6.3 covers illegal contact made to this illegal target zone, and while the same area is also an illegal blocking zone, the Low Blocking section does not cover illegal contact made from that illegal blocking zone. However, due to lack of a penalty section that enumerates penalties for blocks initiated to a legal target zone with the illegal blocking zone below the mid-thigh, this same penalty section is used.

Something important to note is that the mid-thigh is above the knee, meaning an opponent's knee is an illegal target zone. So if a skater is sitting on the knee of an opponent to slow her down, she is making illegal contact to this illegal target zone. Skates are also considered part of this illegal target zone.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 On the back of the torso, back of the booty or back of the thigh

Today's rule is the second of the three illegal target zones. The penalty associated with this illegal target zone is 6.1 Blocking to the Back. Because of the name of the penalty section I have discovered more than one person who believes that only the back is an illegal target zone and that it is legal to block a skater in the back of the booty. Where the rules are concerned, "the back" is the entire illegal target zone on the back of the body, below the shoulders and above the mid-thigh. A common misconception regarding this illegal target zone is that any contact between one skater and the back of another is always a Block to the Back. This is untrue. The back, the entirety of it, is a legal blocking zone, therefore a skater may initiate a block with her back into another skater, thereby creating legal skater-to-back contact. If, however, the receiver of this type of block were to counterblock into the initiator's back, then it would become illegal contact, and a penalty may be issued.

Back Blocking (as it is commonly called, and what the verbal cue is) has been covered extensively here. Check out the Rule of the Day archive for all the explanations and discussions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

‎ Anywhere above the shoulders

Today's rule is the first of three illegal target zones. These are areas of the body where contact may not be initiated to. Each illegal target zone has a penalty section associated with it. For today's rule the associated penalty section is 6.2 Blocking to the Head or High Blocking. While the other two illegal target zone penalty sections have many degrees of impact penalties, High Blocks are either majors or expulsions due to the safety risks associated with being blocked above the shoulders.

Monday, October 24, 2011

‎ If the Jammer is not on the track when the jam starting whistle blows, the Jammer will not be permitted to join the jam in progress. No penalty will be issued.

Going to Friday's rule, a Jammer who is not position at the Jammer start whistle, the second whistle, will receive a false start penalty. However, according to today's rule, if a Jammer is not on the track at the jam start whistle, the first whistle, she not be allowed to skate in that jam. If she enters the track after the jam start whistle she will be directed back to her bench by the referees and given no penalty. Although, her team will skate that jam without a Jammer which is penalty enough.

Friday, October 21, 2011

‎ Jammers are considered in position and ready if they are in bounds when the first whistle of the jam (i.e., the whistle to start the pack rolling) is blown. Jammers are subject to false start penalties if they are not on or behind the Jammer line at the Jammer start whistle (see Section 6.13.5 for specific penalty details). ... (cont)

Full text below below: Jammers are considered in position and ready if they are in bounds when the first whistle of the jam (i.e., the whistle to start the pack rolling) is blown. Jammers are subject to false start penalties if they are not on or behind the Jammer line at the Jammer start whistle (see Section 6.13.5 for specific penalty details). Jammers are permitted to put on their helmet covers after the jam has started. However, each Jammer must have her helmet cover in hand before the jam starting whistle. A helmet cover cannot enter a jam in progress.

Continuing with the theme of being in position, today's rule explains where a Jammer must be to be considered in position. A Jammer must be on or behind the Jammer line or she will receive a false start penalty. Behind the Jammer extends all the way around the track until the Pivot line. If a Jammer is on or behind the Pivot line she is considered out of position. However, if she is standing inches in front of the Pivot line she is still considered behind the Jammer line, just very far behind it.

Now the rule is specific that Jammers must be in position at the jam start whistle (the first whistle) but that they don't receive false start penalties until the Jammer start whistle (the second whistle). This means if a Jammer jumps the start and goes ahead of the Jammer line after the first whistle but then turns around and is back behind the Jammer line when the second whistle blows, she doesn't get a penalty for false starting.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

‎2.4.4 If all skaters are not on the track and ready to start the next jam after the allotted time, the jam will start without the missing skater(s) and the team will skate short for that jam. If skaters are not in position on their start whistle they will be subject to false start penalties (see Section 6.13.5 and Section 6.13.16).

There's a couple key points to today's rule, both which have been covered here recently.

For starters, where the rule says "all skaters" it means the maximum allowed number of skaters per team according to Section 3, which is four Blockers and a Jammer. So if a jam starts and a team has three Blockers on the track, they skate that jam with only three Blockers, and the opposing Jammer will score for the fourth missing Blocker per 8.5.2.

The second point is "not in position". Skaters must be in position at their start whistle or they will receive a false start penalty. Per Section 4.2 and it's associated penalties in section 6.13.5, Blockers must be lined up between the Pivot and Jammer lines (with Pivots allowed on the Pivot line) and the Jammers must be on or behind the Jammer line.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

‎2.4.3 There are thirty (30) seconds between jams.

Today's rule is very straightforward, but sometimes forgotten. This rule does not say that there are thirty seconds between jams unless both teams aren't ready, nor does it say there thirty second between jams unless a coach happens to be in the infield talking to a referee. Unless a timeout has been called, once the jam ending whistle of a previous jam has hit the 4th whistle blast, thirty seconds count down (or up) after which the next jam begins. If at that point one or both of the teams has too many or too few skaters in the jam, they will penalized or skate short, depending on which situation occurs. A jam timer's responsibility must be to the clock (which is required to be highly visible to both teams), not the skaters. If a coach happens to be in the infield talking to the was referee and the jam starts, they must return to their bench without interfering with the jam. A jam timer should not delay the start of a jam because a coach, Captain or DA is conversing with the head referee, unless of course instructed by said head referee to call an official timeout in situations like that, which is perfectly appropriate. Of course, at that point it is on the head referee which official timeouts they take.

As well, when returning from timeouts there is a maximum of thirty seconds that may elapse. Teams don't get until they are ready before the next jam starts. They get a MAXIMUM of thirty seconds. I emphasize maximum because after timeouts the thirty second count is not a requirement like it is between jams normally. If the teams are in position then the jam may begin before thirty seconds is over. But this may happen only after timeouts.

If no timeout is called, then there are thirty seconds, no more and no less, between jams.

Monday, October 17, 2011

2.4.2 A jam may last up to two (2) minutes. Jams end on the fourth whistle of the jam-ending signal (see Section 2.9 - Whistles).

The length of jams is very well known by almost anyone in the derby world, and those who don’t know learn very quickly. What is sometimes misunderstood, albeit very uncommonly, is that jams end on the 4th whistle of the jam-ending signal. The jam-ending signal is 4 rapid whistle blasts. Up until the 4th whistle points may be scored and penalties issued.

Friday, October 14, 2011

‎ If the jam starts with too many skaters and the extra skater cannot be pulled, the referee must stop the jam. The team must be penalized according to Section 6.13.6.

When a jam starts with too many skaters (as discussed earlier, more than 4 Blockers and 1 Jammer per team) it is important to get the extra skater removed, as discussed in yesterday’s Rule of the Day. Today’s rule explains that if the extra skater cannot be pulled from the jam, the jam must be stopped by the referees, and a penalty given to the offending team, per 6.13.6. The team responsible for getting the jam called would receive a major Illegal Procedure, issued to the skater who was instructed to return to her bench.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

‎ If the jam starts with too many skaters, the referees must pull the last Blocker who entered the floor; if that skater cannot be identified, the Blocker that is closest to the referees must be pulled off of the floor. The team must be penalized according to Section 6.12.5.

Tuesday's rule was mainly in regards to a jam starting with less than the minimum and maximum allowed number of skaters on the track. Today's rule is about a jam starting with more than the maximum number of allowed skaters on the track

Before I get into that, the rule above was copied directly from the website, which is the same as the PDF. The reference to Section 6.12.5 is obviously a typo, since that rule is a minor Skating Out Of Bounds penalty. The actual rule to reference is 6.13.6.

As mentioned yesterday, the maximum number of skaters from one team allowed on the track in each jam, according to Section 3, is 4 Blockers and 1 Jammer. If a jam starts and either or both of the teams have more than 4 Blockers and/or more than 1 Jammer on the track, only extra Blockers are removed from the jam. This rule is very specific about only removing Blockers. That means, if there are 5 Blockers and a Jammer on the track, the Jammer being the last to enter, the. Jammer stays and a Blocker is removed. This aspect is important when it comes to extra Jammers and Pivots.

Section 3 states that a team may have 1 Jammer and 1 Pivot in each jam. Therefore it is a penalty to have more than one, an Illegal Procedure minor to be exact. If a team starts the jam with more than one Pivot in the jam then the second Pivot to enter the track will be given a penalty for being an extra Pivot when the jam starts, per 6.13.7. However, also according to 6.13.7, she is only sent to her bench if she is an extra skater on the track. Meaning, if there are 4 Blockers from one team on the track and 2 of them are wearing Pivot helmet covers, after receiving her minor the second Pivot will have to remove her helmet cover but will be allowed to stay on the track, as she is not an extra skater. While the rules don't specify exactly how to handle a situation with two Jammers, using the guideline for two Pivots is appropriate. Of course, any extra Jammer lined up behind the Jammer line will receive a false start minor as well. If, after receiving a penalty for being an extra Jammer or Pivot, those skaters don't remove their helmet covers, they may then get a Illegal Procedure major for improper uniform, per 6.13.18.

A reminder, all these actions happen only after the jam start whistle has blown. Referees do not warn nor penalize teams for lining up too many skaters until the jam starts.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 The referees are responsible for determining that both teams have the correct number of skaters in the jam, taking into account skaters in the penalty box. (See Section 2.4.4 for details on starting with too few skaters.)

A subrule of yesterday's Rule of the Day, which explained that officials assess team readiness at the jam start, today's rule explains that referees determine if the teams have the correct number of skaters on the track and also in the penalty box. Now, most might think the correct number of skaters per team is 4 Blockers and a Jammer. As far as the rules are concerned that is incorrect. The actual correct number is a maximum of 4 Blockers and one Jammer, and a minimum of one Blocker on the track. This is outlined in Section 3 - Players, and also rule That is why the last part of today's rule references a team starting with too few skaters. Rule 2.4.4 explains that if a jam starts with less than the maximum number of skaters from one or both teams on the track, then those skaters may not join the jam after the jam start whistle. So if a team has only 3 Blockers and and a 4th skating on the outside of the track to get to the rest of her team, and the jam start whistle blows before she enters the track, that 4th Blocker may not skate in that jam. This is made worse when the Jammer is the one to not make it to the track in time for the jam start. It is also important to note that Jammers are ineligible to enter the jam after the first jam start whistle. They do not get until the Jammer start whistle to enter the track. If a skater enters the track after the jam start whistle she will be directed back to her bench with a hand signal and verbal cue (found in the WFTDA officiating documents) but she will not receive a penalty.

In cases where a team starts a jam with more than the maximum allowed number of Blockers, the extra skater(s) will be sent back to their bench and issued a penalty. That will be covered as tomorrow's Rule of the Day.

As mentioned earlier, the minimum number of skaters required is one Blocker from each team on the track. Blockers in the penalty box do not count towards this minimum as they are not able to form a pack. If a team begins a jam with no Blockers on the track, the jam must be called off immediately, as forming a pack will be impossible. At this point there are few schools of thought as to how to deal with the situation. My personal preferred method would be to issue an Illegal Procedure major to the team who failed to field any Blockers, and it would be given to the Captain, since no Blockers means no active Pivot to default to. To me, this penalty would be justified as their actions as a team had a major impact on the game, much like a team failing to remove an extra Blocker and causing the jam to be called off. If the same team were to fail to field Blockers again in the next jam I would declare a forfeit, per I would, of course, let the team know after the initial major that failure to field a team in the next jam would result in a forfeit. Others have suggested charging a timeout to the offending team on the first offense, but I disagree with this because team timeouts are taken at the request of teams with a hand signal. Referees are not able to take away a team's timeouts by choice. Another option I have heard is the same initial penalty as I outlined above, however without the forfeit for continued offense, but rather a major each time the offense took place. Personally I find that to be contrary to and don't agree with that approach. There are also others, albeit very few, who suggest no recourse at all. Considering the role of impact in the WFTDA rules, it seems logical that an action that is contrary to the rules (having less than one Blocker on the track) that has a major impact on the game (jam is called off) be penalized with a major penalty. Hopefully in a future version of the rules a penalty for this offense will be enumerated.

Monday, October 10, 2011

‎9.2.1 Assessing team readiness for each jam

Today's rule falls under 9.2 Duties in Section 9 - Officials. One of the duties of officials is to assess the team readiness for each jam. This means checking to see that the appropriate number of skaters are in the jam (max 4 Blockers and 1 Jammer per team), checking to see if any skaters are in the box, looking for skaters lined up out of position (false starts), watching to see if there will be a pack at jam start, and other such responsibilities. Generally these activities are conducted by the referees. At the jam start the referees assess penalties for teams that have failed to be ready for the jam, which means assessing Illegal Procedure penalties for too many skaters on the track, illegal engagement before the whistle, improper uniform or safety equipment, and false starts. All these penalties are given at the start of the jam, not before (except illegal engagement which is penalized at the time it happens). As well, as it says in, which I have previously covered, referees do not warn teams line up with too many skaters on the track, nor do they warn when skaters are lined up out of position, or doing anything before the jam starts that will be a penalty once the jam start whistle blows.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

‎6.12.3 Maintaining or increasing speed while skating to and from the penalty box.

Under the No Impact/No Penalty section of Skating Out Of Bounds, this rule allows a skater to go unpenalized when racing to and from the penalty box. Since Skating Out Of Bounds penalties are to be given to skaters who skate purposely out of bounds to gain or maintain speed, it might seem like a skater being sent to the box would be penalized when they skate off the track and race to the box. This would definitely be a penalty that would add insult to injury. Thus, it is no penalty, and skaters may skate to and from the penalty at whatever speed they like.

Friday, October 7, 2011

‎3.6.1 A team’s helmet cover colors must meet the definition of high contrast beyond a reasonable doubt or the Head Referee shall request that the team use helmet covers that meet the definition. The Jammer and/or Pivot’s helmet cover colors are of high contrast if there is a large degree of visual difference between the star/stripe color and the base color of the cover such that the star/stripe color stands out from the base color.

A simple rule that doesn't usually affect anyone but the person on a team in charge of the helmet covers, today's rule requires a high degree of contrast on a team's helmet covers. What this means is that the colors used in the helmet covers stand out against each other. For example, high contrast would be a black stripe on a white helmet cover, or a white star on a black helmet cover. Low contrast would be a light gray stripe on a dark gray helmet cover, or a yellow star on an orange helmet cover. This rule exists to make sure stars and stripes are easily seen by referees, skaters, and fans. Low contrast colors make that difficult, thus high contrast colors are required.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Out of Play - A Blocker that is positioned more than twenty (20) feet outside the pack, out of bounds, or down is out of play. A Jammer that is out of bounds is out of play.

Previously I have covered "in play" but today I am covering the Glossary entry for "Out of Play".

There is one major important factor to this rule. A skater is out of play if they are 20 feet from the pack. This is important because if there is no pack there is nobody out of play. Granted, nobody is in play, which is why during a no pack scenario Blockers may not engage or be engaged. However, during no pack scenarios all cutting rules apply, even though none of the Blockers are in play. That's because they aren't out of play either.

This distinction becomes important also when looking at scoring. states that Jammers earn points for out of play skaters they return from the box in front of. However, in a no pack scenario there are no out of play skaters so this doesn't apply. Similarly, 8.6.7 awards Jammers points at the end of a jam for skaters out of play ahead of the Engagement Zone. If there is no pack, there is no Engagement Zone to be ahead of, thus 8.6.7 only applies when there's a pack.

Again, in a no pack scenario all Blockers are not in play but also not out of play. It is a sort of limbo which gets solved by the reformation of a pack. Even though out of play penalties exist for engagement during no pack scenarios, being out of play is dependent on the existence of a pack.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

‎6.1.4 Intentional, negligent, or reckless illegal contact to the back of an opponent, back of an opponent’s legs, or back of an opponent’s booty.

This rule is a Back Blocking expulsion. Expulsions for Back Blocks are defined in the rules as:

The following egregious acts will be automatic game expulsions, and can be punished as a multi-game suspension (see Section Expulsions will be issued for a conscious, forceful attempt to block an opponent in the back egregiously, whether or not the action was successful."

Now the tricky part when it comes to expulsions is the inclusion of the word "intentional". After, aren't a lot blocks intentional? And some of them are minors, and others are majors. This also ties in to another point sometimes made by some that when making a call referees are not to judge intent. Well the existence of "intentional" makes it impossible to not judge intent. That being said, intent must be clear, not inferred. Unless a referee is absolutely 100% certain of the intent of a skater they must defer to:

9.3.3 If the referee is in a position where intent must be inferred but is not clear, she/he must presume legal intent.

So how does this all tie in to back block expulsions? Intentional back blocks may be called as expulsions, but the impact of the block must merit the expulsion. What that means is that if a skater pushes another skater from behind and the receiver doesn't lose relative position or go down or out of bounds, but the block was clearly intentional (such as you might see before a fight for example), then an expulsion may be warranted. A block such as my example may not be considered fighting, but certainly impactful enough to be considered an expulsion as intentional.

Further today's rule calls for expulsions for reckless and negligent blocks to the back. An example of that would be a Jammer who sees a stopped wall of opponents ahead of her and plows into the back of one at full speed. That could be considered negligent and/or reckless. If a block to the back is worthy of an expulsion, chances are the referees will know it when they see it, as will most anyone else watching the game.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

‎ The mid and upper thigh (including the inner portion)

This is the fourth and final legal target zone. What's important to note here is that the legal target zone ends at the mid thigh, not the knee. I have heard in the past people who refer to low blocks as being below the knees. This inaccurate. Low blocks happen below the mid thigh. Meaning, if a block is made to the knee of an opponent, then it is being made to an illegal target zone.

Friday, September 30, 2011 The hips

Today's rule is the third legal target zone. It is quite simple. The hips is the area extending from the thighs back to the booty. It does not include the booty, although some of what is considered hips may be called the side of the booty by some.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

‎ The chest, front and side of the torso

Today's rule is the second legal target zone. The chest being a legal target zone is what makes Johnny Crashes possible (blocks initiated with the back of the shoulder, known by other names as well). The sides of the torso are where a lot of contact between opponents is made. The front of the torso includes the stomach. Hits to the stomach are legal. That is to say, legal engagement to an opponent's stomach is legal. An elbow to the stomach is not legal because that would be using the point of the elbow, which is not legal.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 The arms and hands

Today's rule is the first of the legal target zones. While the hands and arms below the elbow may not be used while blocking, a skater may legally engage a block into an opponent's hands or the entirety of their arms, from the shoulders down to the fingertips.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

‎5.2.1 Legal Target Zones A skater may be hit in the following locations:

Over the next few days the Rule of the Day will be the legal target zones, which are the parts of an opponent's body into which a block may legally be initiated. All areas outside of the legal target zones are called illegal target zones. Illegal target zones will be covered later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

2.6.2 To take a timeout, the Captain or Designated Alternate will signal the officials and make a T signal with her/his hands, to indicate that she/he is requesting a timeout. Referees will signal for the clock to stop. If the Designated Alternate is a manager, she/he is permitted to call a timeout.

Contrary to what some believe, or do in practice, the head ref is not the only one authorized to call a timeout. Today's rule explains how a timeout is called but not who can call them. If a team is calling a timeout and it is being signaled by the Captain or Designated Alternate, and the team has at least one timeout left, then it is appropriate for any referee to signal the timeout to the period clock operator rather than time pass on the clock while the head referee is notified.

Friday, September 23, 2011

2.1.6 For safety and visibility, the track surface, boundaries, safety zone, and penalty box must be clearly lit.

In most cases this rule is not hard to follow. This rule only becomes an issue where leagues choose to use rope light as the track boundaries and dim the lights for effect. While the glowing track boundaries are pretty awesome, if the lights are dimmed too low it may present a safety hazard to those involved in the bout.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

‎3.3.1 Prior to the start of a jam, Jammers line up at the rear of the pack as specified in Section 4.2.4. The Jammer’s role is to score points for her team per the specifications in Section 8 - Scoring. A Jammer may pass her position to her team’s Pivot according to the specifications in Section 3.5 - Passing the Star.

This rule describes the Jammer. As it says, very simply, the Jammer scores points. Her ability to score points, her position, may be transferred to the Pivot by a Star Pass. The first part of the rule explains where the Jammers line up in relation to the pack, however, they are also bound by the pre-jam positioning rules, and their pre-jam positioning is not dependent on there being a pack. Further (to confuse more) although the Jammers lined up behind the Jammer line are considered behind the pack, Blockers lined up false starting in the same position are considered way ahead of the pack. It sounds odd, but it makes sense in the grand scheme of pre-jam positioning and false start rules.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Ten (10) foot track intervals are strongly encouraged. (See Appendix B - WFTDA Track Design.)

Today's rule is an interesting one. Appendix B explains that 10 foot track intervals are to be marked along the full width of the track. However, if you watched the WFTDA Eastern Region Playoffs this past weekend you would have seen 10 foot track intervals that were lines approximately 2 feet (give or take, hard to measure on a computer screen) long, about the middle of the track. This was done to combat the confusion that 10 foot marks are 10 feet apart. On re straightaways the 10 foot marks are 10 feet apart along the whole width of the track. However, if done correctly, on the arcs the 10 foot lines will be 7'-0.5" (NOT 7'-6") at the inside track boundary. That equates to almost 14'-6" at the outside track boundary. The actual 10 foot distance between marks is about 4'-6" from the inside track boundary. So to prevent inaccurate determinations of distance the full width 10 foot lines were replaced with short hash marks to represent the 10 foot marks at approximately 10 feet. Of course, putting down full width 10 foot marks is not a bad thing, so long as the skaters, and most importantly the refs, understand the inaccuracy of the 10 foot interval lines.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2.4.1 A period is divided into multiple jams, which are races between the two teams to score points. There is no limit to the number of jams allowed in each period.

Down to basics. Today's rule explains what jams are. As the rules put it, jams are races where the Jammers are trying to score points and the Blockers are defending against being scored on. If ever you are confused as to how to explain derby to someone, you say that it is simply a series of short races to score points. This rule states that there is no limit to the number of jams allowed in a period. I've previously thought that mathematically there had to be a limit, considering the 30 second lineup time between jams. However, if Official Timeouts are continually called as soon as the jam begins, in theory there could be dozens, hundreds, or more jams in a period. Of course, that is theoretical, and would require some serious jackassery by the refs, and I doubt such a ref crew exists. However, the rule does state that there no limit to the number of jams that may happen in a period. The period is only limited by the period clock.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

‎2.1.5 There will be a ten (10) foot clearance around the outside of the track for safety. If there is a rail, wall, or barrier between the track and the crowd that completely prevents contact between spectators and contestants, a five (5) foot clearance is permissible. Referees may skate in this area, and/or the infield of the track. The clearance cannot be less than five (5) feet.

Today's rule gives the size of the outside ref lane, as it is commonly called. Normally it is at least 10 feet in width. In a previous rule set this rule was changed to allow for a 5 foot width, however there must be a barrier that completely prevents contact between contestants and spectators. Such a barrier would be hockey boards, a wall, high enough fencing (although the type of fencing could pose a safety issue), or other types. There is no specific regulation for this barrier other than preventing contact between spectators and fans. The idea is that 10 feet allows enough of a safety clearance for skaters to not run over spectators or, for the most part, land on top of them. Halving the safety clearance to 5 feet poses a safety risk to fans sitting trackside, thus a safety barrier is required. The outside ref lane / safety clearance may not be less than 5 feet.

Friday, September 16, 2011

6.5.2 Incidental forearm contact between skaters is acceptable.

Today's rule is a no impact/no penalty rule from Use of Forearms and Hands. Derby is a contact sport, and so even without trying skaters are going to make contact with illegal blocking zones and to illegal target zones. Since impact is what guides contact penalties, just as with all the others, if there is no impact from a skater making contact with an opponent using her forearms, then there is no penalty. This applies to hands as well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

‎6.1.1 Incidental contact to the back of an opponent that does not force the receiving opposing skater to adjust her skating stance or position in any way.

Not all contact to the back is illegal. Today's no impact/no penalty Back Blocking rule explains that contact from a skater to the back of an opponent is not to be penalized if there was no effect on the receiving skater. Thus, no impact = no penalty. It is important to note that this rule, like others of it's kind, reads that it is no penalty if the contact "does not force the receiving opposing skater to adjust her skating stance". If contact to the back happens, and then ends, and the receiver's skating is then changed, it may not necessarily have been because of the contact. It must be determined by a referee that the change in skating stance was caused by the illegal contact, or else no penalty should be called.

Monday, September 12, 2011 Skaters may not execute a block on an opponent who is down, falling, or getting up after a fall. Skaters are considered down if they have fallen, been knocked to the ground or have taken a knee. Skaters on one knee are considered down. After downing herself or falling, a skater is considered down until she is standing, stepping, and/or skating. Stationary standing players are not considered down.

The last of the dangerous blocking techniques is blocking a skater who is falling, down, or getting up. Skaters in these positions are not prepared to be hit and thus are nit able to defend a block. A hit on a downed skater, for example, may be very devastating. According to the rules, Down is defined as:

Down - Skaters are considered down if they have fallen, been knocked to the ground or have taken a knee. Skaters on one knee are considered down. After downing herself or falling, a skater is considered down until she is standing, stepping, and/or skating. Stationary standing players are not considered down.

Therefore, if a skater is in the process of getting up but is not yet standing, she is considered down and may not be hit. A skater on her knee is down.

Hitting a skater who is considered down is at least a Misconduct major (6.15.4) but may be a Gross Misconduct expulsion if the hit on downed player is egregiously unsafe (6.16.20).

Friday, September 9, 2011 Skaters must have at least one skate on the floor when executing a block.

Today's rule is another dangerous blocking technique. As explained in rule 6.15.3, "Jumping and leaping contact is unsafe for the initiator and receiver", thus any contact made with both skates off the ground results in a Misconduct major penalty. It is, however, legal for a skater to be blocked with no skates on the ground.

Thursday, September 8, 2011 Skaters must not skate clockwise in relation to the track when executing a block.

Continuing with the rules regarding dangerous blocking techniques, today’s rule explains that clockwise blocking is considered dangerous. Much like Blocking to the Back, clockwise blocking is explained as dangerous in this section, and then the penalties associated with clockwise blocking are all included in the Direction of Gameplay penalty section 6.9. As explained in section 6.9 blocking a clockwise skating skater is considered legal.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 Skaters may not block to the back (as defined in Section

Today’s rule is a subrule of the rule which explains that dangerous blocking techniques may not be used, which I covered a couple of weeks ago. The first subrule, today’s rule explains that a block to the back is not allowed, and is considered a dangerous blocking technique. A block to the back is defined in rule, which is the part of the Illegal Target Zones section that explains what is considered “the back”.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2.3.3 The period ends when the last jam reaches its natural conclusion (see Section 2.4 - Jams). This may extend past the point when the period clock reaches zero (0:00).

Today's rule was added in version 3.1 of the WFTDA rules. Previously the period ended at the end of the period clock, thus 30 minutes was the longest a period was able to go. Now the period may be extended past the 30 minute mark if a jam is still in progress when the period clock ends. This was a very positive rule change since it allows the game to end naturally when a jam (a play in progress) ends, rather than just when the clock happens to run out. It allows for teams to strategically call a timeout with mere seconds left, and then rally to score a few points and win a game, even past the end of the period clock.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

‎5.1.4 To ensure safety, skaters may not use dangerous blocking techniques.

Today's rule is the start of a section that explains very basically the types of blocking that the rules consider dangerous. In the following days I will cover the subrules of 5.1.4 and explain their associated penalty sections. This rule simply explains that there are dangerous blocking techniques that may not be used, in the interest of skater safety.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

‎2.3.2 There will be at least a five (5) minute break between periods to allow for referee rotation and, if applicable, skater warm-up

Friday’s rule explained that a roller derby game or bout is played in two 30 minute periods, while today’s rule explains that there must be at least 5 minutes in between the two periods. What it means about referee rotation is in regards to the Jammer referees, as it is common practice for the Jammer referees to switch teams at half time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

2.2.3 Two or more games may be combined in a single “double-header” event. Games can either be staggered by periods or played in full, one at a time depending upon the agreement between teams involved.

Like Friday’s rule, today’s rule, while not the most exciting rule, explains how games may be played in multi-bout events. This rule calls it a “double-header” but that would be what a multi-bout event is called if two games are played. It is common for leagues to call a multi-bout event of 3 or more games a “tournament”. While this is ok, in practice, being that these are the WFTDA rules, these events are considered multi-bout events by the rules. The official tournaments are the “Big 5” Regional tournaments and WFTDA Championships.

Another facet of this rule is that it allows periods of games to be staggered, meaning the first period of the first game is played, followed by the first period of the second game, then the second periods of the first and then second games. This is a practice I have never personally experienced, nor heard of happening.

Friday, August 26, 2011

2.2.1 A bout or game is composed of sixty (60) minutes of play divided into two periods of thirty (30) minutes played between two teams.

While not the most exciting rule, today's explains the length of a game and each period. The rules used to allow 3 twenty minute period, but were changed to only allow 2 thirty minute periods. From my own experience, this was a sensible change, as it keeps the game going longer and prevents an extra stoppage of play (2nd intermission).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

6.11.7 Any of the scenarios in Sections–

The final No Impact/No Penalty rule in the Cutting the Track section, today’s rule explains that any of the listed scenarios are to be considered no penalty. All of the scenarios listed are situations when the receiver of a block may return to the track in front of the initiator of the block. All these scenarios were covered here, and are available on the archive page.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

6.11.6 An out of bounds skater that steps one foot inside the track boundary to become a straddling skater and then steps back completely out of bounds, never removing her out of bounds contact with the floor.

One more No Impact/No Penalty rule from the Cutting the Track section, today’s rule explains there is no penalty if a skater who is out of bounds steps back on the track to become a straddling skater (meaning she is touching bout inside and outside the track boundary simultaneously with her skates) and then steps back completely out of bounds, she will not be penalized for Cutting the Track, even if she passed any number of in bounds skaters when she was straddling. She doesn’t get a CTT penalty because if she is straddling, and then completely out of bounds, she is never considered an in bounds skater, which is a requirement for a CTT penalty. Care must be taken to watch the skater’s skates, however, because straddling requires one skate in bounds, and one skate out of bounds. If the out of bounds skate is lifted at any point, and only the in bounds skate is on the floor, then that skater is considered in bounds, and will receive a Cutting penalty.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

6.11.5 A skater straddling the track boundary line who then completely exits the track, regardless of which, or how many, skaters she has passed while straddling.

Continuing with the No Impact/No Penalty rules from the Cutting the Track section, today’s rule explain how to avoid a CTT penalty while straddling. According to this rule, if a straddling skater (a skater touching both inside and outside the track boundary simultaneously) passes any number of in bounds skaters and then ceases all in bounds contact, thus going completely out of bounds, they will not get a Cutting the Track penalty. People have asked how to avoid getting a CTT penalty while straddling, and this is one of the ways to do it.

It must be remembered, however, that unless a skater is blocked to a straddling position, or gets there as a result of a missed block, she will receive a Skating Out Of Bounds penalty as soon as she puts herself in a straddling position. This is because of the official WFTDA Rules Publication. Now, what also must be noted is that a skater gets a SOOB penalty when she puts herself into a straddling position or out of bounds. After that, if she cuts the track, that is a second action. So how the skater got to the straddling position is important, but what she does in regards to Cutting after that is a different action and must be looked at using different rules, such as today’s rule.

Monday, August 22, 2011

‎6.11.4 A skater who has re-entered the track in front of a skater who is “in the box,” having been sent off the track for a penalty.

Another rule from the No Impact/No penalty section of Cutting the Track, today’s rule explains that a skater who is considered “in the box” can’t be cut. What that means is that once a skater has been directed to the penalty, she is considered “in the box” (per and is therefore not an in bounds, in play and upright skater, which are the only skaters around which other skaters may better their position. So, if a skater is out of bounds and returns in front of a skater who has already been directed to the box and is just leaving the track, there will be no penalty.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

6.11.3 A skater who has re-entered the track in front of a downed, out of bounds, or out-of-play skater is not bettering her position. However, such skaters are subject to cutting the track penalties for other in-play skaters and are still subject to skating out of bounds penalties.

Today’s rule explains that only in bounds skaters that are not down or out of play may be cut. That is, returning to the track in front of a down, out of bounds, or out of play skater is not considered Cutting the Track. This rule covers the situation that, in my experience, many skaters when receiving a Cutting the Track penalty. Most often the response I hear is “but she went down” or “she went out of bounds”. I always want to respond with “true she did, but the other 2 or 3 skaters you cut didn’t” (of course, as a ref, I don’t). As well, where the rule says that skaters are still subject to skating out of bounds penalties, if a skater skates out of bounds to avoid a fallen skater, they will not receive a penalty per 6.12.4.

Friday, August 19, 2011

6.11.2 Skaters straddling the track boundary line Skaters are straddling the track boundary line when they are simultaneously touching both inside and outside the track boundary line. Straddling skaters are subject to cutting the track penalties when they are in bounds, upright and skating. The boundary line is considered in bounds. … (cont.)

The rest of the rule reads:

… Airborne skaters are not considered straddling skaters. (See Section 6.8.9 for the in bounds/out of bounds status of airborne skaters.)

Straddling was something in the rules, but not specifically defined until Version 4.0 of the WFTDA rule set. 4.0 added this rule to make it clear that straddling skaters may be guilty of Cutting the Track. Further, this rule makes the distinction between straddling skaters and airborne skaters. Airborne skaters are covered in the Out Of Bounds Blocking section, as they are not considered straddling skaters, per today’s rule. Several other subrules to the Cutting the Track section were also added along with this rule to cover CTT penalties for straddling skaters.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

6.11 Cutting the Track A skater that is in bounds need not yield the right of way to an out of bounds skater. Skaters that are out of bounds must find an entrance back in bounds that does not require in bounds skaters to move. When out of bounds, skaters must re-enter the track without bettering their position in relation to other skaters. … (cont.)

Today’s rule is Cutting the Track. This is the first rule in the CTT section, but it is quite large, so I will post the rule in its entirety:

“A skater that is in bounds need not yield the right of way to an out of bounds skater. Skaters that are out of bounds must find an entrance back in bounds that does not require in bounds skaters to move. When out of bounds, skaters must re-enter the track without bettering their position in relation to other skaters. Out of bounds skaters are subject to skating out of bounds penalties even if they do not cut the track (see Section 6.12 Skating Out of Bounds).

This section addresses penalties for cutting the track. Skaters must be upright and skating to receive cutting the track penalties. (See Section 6.8 Out of Bounds Blocking for downed skaters re-entering and illegally blocking and Section 6.3 Low Blocking).

Downed skaters that have re-entered the track are subject to applicable cutting the track penalties when they return to an in-bounds, upright and skating position. Downed skaters are not to be penalized with cutting the track penalties, but are still subject to low blocking and blocking from out of bounds penalties. Skaters cannot drop back while in play in efforts to undo or avoid cutting the track penalties.”

This is a very extensive rule that explains all the basics behind not just Cutting the Track, but reentering the track in general. Let’s look at each part. For starters, this rule explains that in bounds skaters need not yield the right of way to out of bounds skaters. What this means is that being in bounds is an advantage and being out of bounds is a disadvantage. The rule goes on to explain that skaters out of bounds must find an entrance back in bounds without requiring an in bounds skater to move. That is part of the disadvantage. If an out of bounds skater returns to the track in front of an in bounds skater who was in front of her when she went out of bounds, that would be what is considered bettering her position in relation to other skaters on the track. Bettering her position negates the disadvantage, which is what the out of bounds skater may not do. So the very basics of Cutting the Track is that out of bounds skaters are disadvantaged by their position out of bounds, and must return to the track without negating that disadvantage by bettering her position when she returns.

The rule continues to explain that for a skater to be guilty of CTT she must be in bounds and in an upright and skating position. That means that a skater who goes out of bounds and returns to the track while down does not get a CTT penalty. Up until Version 4.0 of the WFTDA rule this requirement didn’t exist. 4.0 changed the rule, which penalized a skater even if their pinky finger were to cross back on the line after the went out of bounds. This was a great change, as it prevents skaters from getting CTT penalties when they are trying to not go back in bounds, and also makes it easier for us refs as we only have to worry about skaters in an upright and skating position, where Cutting is concerned. It is also important to note the “in bounds” requirement of the rule. If a skater still has any part of her body or equipment touching out of bounds when she returns, then she is not in bounds, and will not receive a CTT penalty. So if a skater returns to the track and betters her position, but is down, and then goes back out bounds while still down, she will not receive a Cutting penalty. If, however, she returns to the track in front of one or more in bounds skaters and better her position, but is still down, and while still in front of those other skaters she gets up and returns to an upright and skating position, she will then receive a Cutting the Track penalty.

What this rule also covers is skaters who return to the track that are down, who don’t receive Cutting penalties. It goes on to say that skaters returning who are down won’t receive a Cutting penalty but are still eligible for Out Of Bounds Blocking or Low Blocking penalties if they make contact with opponents. Therefore, skaters who return to the track while down still need to be responsible for their actions so they don’t get any penalty.

Finally, today’s rule explains that a Cutting the Track penalty can’t be “undone”. This means that once a skater has cut the track and received a penalty for it, leaving the track again and returning behind the skater who was cut doesn’t remove the penalty. Once a cut has been made and a penalty given, it stays.

There are many more subrules in Section 6.11, some that have been covered here, and some that have yet to be covered but will be in the future. For those that have been covered, please see the Roller Derby Rule of the Day archive page at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 The track must clearly demarcate the Pivot and Jammer start lines. These lines must be consistent in color throughout the length and width of the line and must be at least one (1) inch and no greater than three (3) inches in width. Sponsor logos are permitted on the Pivot and Jammer Lines as long as the logo does not interfere with the contrast of the line to the skating surface.

Just like the track boundaries, today’s rules explains that the minimum and maximum widths of the Pivot and Jammer lines are 1 and 3 inches. Similarly, they, too, must be consistent in width for the length of the line. This rule also includes a requirement for the Pivot and Jammer lines to be clearly contrasted to the skating surface, even if they have sponsor logos on them. I have personally never seen a sponsor logo on a Pivot or Jammer line, but I can imagine how they may make the Pivot or Jammer lines difficult to see on the track surface if they aren’t high contrast.

Monday, August 15, 2011 Proximity is defined as not more than ten feet (as measured from the hips) in front of or behind the nearest pack skater.

Today’s rule deal with how to determine which skaters are in the pack. As a reminder, the pack is defined as:

4.1.1 The pack is defined by the largest group of in bounds Blockers, skating in proximity, containing members from both teams.

So the rule that defines the pack uses the word proximity. Today’s rule explains just what proximity is. Until version 4.0 of the WFTDA rules, this rule used to define proximity as within two strides (or ten feet). In version 4.0 it was changed to just ten feet. The rules now clearly define that skaters within ten feet of others, so long as they form the largest group of skaters containing members of both teams.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

‎2.7.1 Benches or seats must be provided to make up the “Penalty Box.” This is the designated area where penalty time will be served. The benches or seats must be capable of accommodating a total of six players (three from each team).

Today’s rule explains how to make up the penalty box. It must be noticed that six seats are required to make up the box. This allows for two Blockers from each team to sit in the box, as well as one Jammer from each team. A seat for each Jammer is required so that one may sit and release the other, and also in the case that both arrive at the same time they may sit in the box together.

Friday, August 12, 2011

‎2.3.1 The period begins when the designated Official blows the first jam whistle. The signal will be one long whistle blast.

This is a pretty simple and straightforward rule that explains when the period, and thus the period clock, begins. In most cases, and certainly any WFTDA regulation and sanctioned games, the designated Official is the Jam Timer. However, in other games, another Official may be designated to start the jam, and even possibly another to start the Jammers. Thus, the rules don’t specify that the Jam Timer must start the period.

The signal of one long whistle blast is due to the fact that a jam starting whistle, according to 2.9 Whistles, is one long whistle blast.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

‎2.1.1 For regulation inter-league games, the track shall be based on the specifications in Appendix B - WFTDA Track Design. The method of marking dimensions (tape, rope, etc), including suggested ten (10) foot marks, are subject to the restrictions of the venue; however, the track must be the standardized dimensions.

For interleague games to be considered regulation, the track must meet the specs in Appendix B, but also follow all the other rules in Section 2.1. Appendix B explains, step by step, how to lay a regulation size track, including inside and outside track boundaries, and suggested 10 foot marks. What Appendix B doesn’t include is the 10 foot safety clearance:

2.1.5 There will be a ten (10) foot clearance around the outside of the track for safety. If there is a rail, wall, or barrier between the track and the crowd that completely prevents contact between spectators and contestants, a five (5) foot clearance is permissible. Referees may skate in this area, and/or the infield of the track. The clearance cannot be less than five (5) feet.

If a venue restricts the size of the 10 foot clearance, without allowing for a smaller clearance per 2.1.5, then as long as the track is the same size play should be just fine. However, a bout will not be considered regulation or sanctioned without a properly sized track with properly sized safety clearance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

8.1 Only skaters wearing the designated Jammer’s star helmet cover with visible stars are eligible to accrue points.

Simple, yet complex. Yes, only a skater wearing the Jammer helmet cover is eligible to accrue points. However, just because a skater is wearing the Jammer helmet cover does not necessarily mean she is the Jammer, not is she legally allowed to be wearing it. If two skaters from one team start a jam with Jammer helmet covers on, they don’t both get to score points. Similarly, if a Jammer has passed her helmet cover to her Pivot, and then gets sent to the box before the Pivot has put on the helmet cover, the Pivot does not get to score points if she puts on the Jammer helmet cover with the Jammer in the penalty box.

This rule was included in version 2.1 of the WFTDA rules before the concept of an active or inactive Jammer was added. This rule made it clear that a Jammer must be wearing her helmet cover or else she would not score points for passing opponents.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

‎3.5.6 Once Jammer status is transferred, it cannot be transferred back to the original Jammer.

While the basis of this rule is explained in a couple other parts of the Star Pass section, today's rule makes it abundantly clear that the Jammer status can't be transferred twice in one jam. This is because the star may only be passed to the Pivot. After a successful star pass the Pivot has become the Jammer and the Jammer has become a non-Pivot Blocker. So there is no longer anyone to pass the star to.