Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Injury—Referees will only call off a jam in the case of a serious injury or an injury that could endanger another skater.

Today's rule is a subrule of: A referee may call off a jam for any of the following reasons:

It is important to note that this rule says "may" call off a jam, not "must" call off. Calling off a jam due to an injury is not a requirement. There are situations where a jam may continue even if a skater from the jam is injured. If the injured skater has been able to return to their team's bench, the jam may continue. If the injured skater is in the outside ref lane but has moved out of the way of any refs or skaters, the jam may continue. If the injured skater is in the infield but has moved out of the way of refs, skaters and officials, the jam may continue. These are not all the situations, but just examples of when the referees may not call of a jam due to an injured skater. Of course, any time a skater is injured and the referees don't call off the jam, they are taking the chance that the skater who is injured is not seriously hurt and needing medical attention. There are times when a skater may receive medical attention from the EMTs without requiring the jam to be called off, but usually that isn't the case if the skater is in the outside ref lane, and especially not if she is in the infield. 

Many may ask why a referee would not want to call off a jam if a skater is injured. It is because of the requirement that skaters who have had a jam called because of injury must sit for three jams. There are times when a skater gets the wind knocked out of her and she needs more than a few seconds to get back up, and calling off a jam because of her may affect her team if she was supposed to skate in any of the next three jams. Of course, safety is the priority for referees and if they determine a skater injured and call off a jam because of her, they are doing so in the interest of the safety of everyone on the track. While it is ok for referees to try not to jump the gun and call off a jam as soon as a skater goes down and doesn't immediately get up, they are duty bound by their position to call off the jam if they believe a skater is injured and the safety of the jam is compromised. 


Sunday, May 29, 2011

No Pass/No Penalty is an official hand signal used by referees to indicate that a skater has moved in front of another skater legally, but without completing a proper pass.

A lot of people are confused by the No Pass/No Penalty hand signal, and when it is used. It is actually pretty simple. There’s really only a couple of ways that a skater can move in front of another skater legally and not have it count as a legal pass. Both of these are done while the skater is out of bounds. The NP/NP hand signal is typically only used when this situation occurs, since the absence of a legal pass by a Jammer also means that they don’t receive a point for the passing of that skater. As discussed on a previous day, a Jammer scores a point when they:

8.3.1 Pass opposing skaters in bounds, legally, without committing penalties.

If a Jammer commits a penalty, then the pass wasn’t made legally. If the pass was in bounds, and without penalties, then it is a legal pass. Thus the only way a NP/NP can happen is if the pass is made out of bounds without committing penalties. That can happen in a few ways:

- A skater, while out of bounds, passes in front of a downed skater and returns to the track.
- A skater, while out of bounds, passes in front of another out of bounds skater, and returns to the track.
- A skater, having been blocked out of bounds, returns to the track in front of the skater who blocked her out, who also went out of bounds after the block.

In all three situations, the skater who passed and returned to the track made a pass while out of bounds, but did not receive a penalty for it. If that skater was a Jammer, then they would not have made a legal pass, per 8.3.1, since it was made while out of bounds, and they also did not receive a penalty for the action. Thus, they their action resulted in no pass, and no penalty.

When the passing skater is not a Jammer, the pass is negligible, since they aren’t scoring anyway, so all that need be done is not apply a penalty to them. When the passing skater is a Jammer, since a skater was passed but no point or penalty applied, her jam ref (or another referee who sees it) should signal the No Pass/No Penalty hand signal to indicate why no point or penalty was being applied.


Friday, May 27, 2011

‎ It is legal to block players who are skating and/or stepping clockwise on the track.

Just as with, which explained that skaters standing still on the track may legally be blocked, today's rule explains that skaters skating in a clockwise direction may also legally be blocked. It is the responsibility of skaters skating in a clockwise direction to not block opponents while doing so, but their opponents do not need to avoid the clockwise skating skater.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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.

Today's rule explains how a Jammer earns Lead Jammer status. It is pretty much straightforward, with a couple of minor side notes.

Basically, the first Jammer to legally pass all in play Blockers is the Lead Jammer. The status of Lead Jammer is earned by the first Jammer to pass the foremost in play Blocker from either team, legally and in bounds, and having passed all other Blockers from both teams legally and in bounds. The requirement of having passed all other Blockers does not apply to Blockers in the penalty box or who didn't make it to the track for the jam. Now, once a Blocker has been passed legally, that pass counts for the whole initial pass. So, if a Jammer passes a Blocker legally, then gets knocked down, falls behind the same Blocker, then passes her again illegally, the legal pass still counts for the "all other Blockers legally" part of the rule. Of course, if the illegal pass results in a trip to the penalty box the Jammer then becomes ineligible to be Lead Jammer in that jam. Also, in regards to Blockers already passed, the requirement to pass the foremost in play Blocker does not include Blockers already passed. Even if the Blocker who is foremost in play has already been passed, they must be passed legally and in bounds again, as long as they are foremost and in play.

In regards to a pass made "legally and in bounds," it is the same as in the scoring section. A legal pass is one in which the Jammer does not get a penalty. If a Jammer commits a major penalty while passing a Blocker, they obviously are sent to the penalty box, and are then ineligible to become Lead Jammer. If the Jammer commits a minor penalty while passing a Blocker, they will not be sent to the box, but that pass will be considered illegal. To remain eligible to become Lead, the Jammer must repass the illegally passed Blocker. Of course, in bounds is pretty self explanatory. Any pass made out of bounds will not count. If a pass is made out of bounds, the Jammer may receive a Cutting The Track penalty. Even if the pass made out of bounds was around a down or out of bounds skater, which isn't a penalty, the pass will be signaled as "no pass/no penalty," which means that even though there was no penalty, the pass did not count. This same signal is used in scoring passes as well. Something that has been the subject of argument among referees is in regards to legal and in bounds passes made while down. The requirements of 3.4.1 say nothing about a skater being up or in play, only legally and in bounds. Therefore, passes made by the Jammer while down count towards Lead Jammer status, so long as they were made legally and in bounds.

There are a few subrules to the Lead Jammer section. The first,, and its subrule,, explain that Lead Jammer status will be signaled (by the jam ref) as soon as it is earned, and that the Jammer must be in bounds to become Lead Jammer. explains that the Jammer must be in front of the foremost in play Blockers hips to be Lead Jammer, which is what a pass is anyway., which has been covered here, explains that Blockers that are out of play ahead of the engagement zone need not be passed to become Lead Jammer. The requirement is to pass the foremost in play Blocker, therefore if that Blocker is passed and there are still otu of play Blockers ahead of the Jammer, she will still be signaled Lead. This is a confusing point to many new refs, because it seems wrong to signal a Jammer Lead when she is still behind other Blockers, but if the Blockers ahead are out of play, then they don't matter to that Jammer becoming Lead. explains that if there is a no pack situation, a Jammer must pass all Blockers to become Lead, since there would no way for the foremost Blocker to be in play without a pack.

It must be noted that Lead Jammer is the first to satisfy rule 3.4.1, therefore only one Jammer may become Lead, and only the Lead Jammer may call off the jam. However, if the second Jammer is signaled as Lead Jammer, and calls off the jam, they will go unpenalized according to the WFTDA Official Rules Q&A (http://wftda.com/rules/qa/both-jam-refs-award-lead-jammer). One other thing that must be noted, while the Jammer may start the jam with her helmet cover in hand, she must make all passes in her initial pass with the helmet cover on to be eligible for Lead. Any pass made without the helmet cover on is not considered a legal pass for Lead Jammer eligibility.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ghost points is the term used in WFTDA StatsBook used to track points earned for skaters the Jammer didn't actually pass.

Today's rule is not an actual rule from the WFTDA rule book. Instead it deals with multiple scoring rules, all which fall under the term "ghost points." Ghost points is a designation for points tracked on the WFTDA StatsBook scoring sheet. The StatsBook is the official WFTDA stats tracking package used for WFTDA sanctioned bouts and tournaments, and has also become the standard for most non-WFTDA leagues. The scoring sheet included in the StatsBook has several boxes in which the scorekeeper may track what are called ghost points. As such, the term has become mainstream and is used commonly in rules discussions, including many on this page. To help clear up many questions that have been posted regarding ghost points, I felt it a good idea to explain the mystery behind ghost points. There are several ways to earn these points.

The most common are Not On The Track points, which are section 8.5 of the rules. These were covered about a couple weeks ago on this page. You can find the archived Rules of the Day at:

There are most subrules of 8.5 that haven't been covered so it is a good idea to read the whole section.

The next common type of ghost point is the Jammer Lap Point, has not been covered here yet. The rule for that is:

8.6.6 Jammer Lap Point: If one Jammer completely laps the opposing Jammer, she will score one (1) point each time she fully laps her.

A Jammer Lap Point is earned anytime a Jammer completely laps (skates an extra lap past) the opposing Jammer, even if she has not scored any other points.

Another type of ghost point is points awarded for out of play skater ahead of the engagement zone when the jam ends. The archive link for that is:

The same rule is also covered in 8.6.7.

The last type of ghost point, and one often missed, doesn't even exist Scoring section 8, but rather is included under Penalty Enforcement section 7. It is: A skater may re-enter the track in front of opposing skaters who are out of play. If a Jammer is eligible to score (having completed her initial pass prior to being sent to the penalty box), she will immediately earn points for passing out-of-play Blockers that are behind her upon re-entry.

These are all the types of ghost points in the rules. However, while these rules exist, the term "ghost points" does not exist at all in the rules, and is not an Official term.


Friday, May 20, 2011

5.1.3 A skater who is in play and stepping and/or skating (i.e. not down or at a standstill) in the counter-clockwise direction may block or engage an opposing player at any time during the jam after their start whistle has blown.

This rule explains that skaters may not block or engage opponents until their start whistle has blown; the first whistle for Blockers, the second whistle for Jammers. Skaters who block or engage before their start whistle will earn an Illegal Procedure penalty. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2011 It is legal to block players who are standing on the track.

While the rules require skaters to be moving, in a counterclockwise direction, when executing a block, the rules do not require skaters to be moving when getting blocked. Being stopped on the track does not make a skater out of play. So if a skater is in play and standing on the track, they may legally be hit. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

‎ Only players who are stepping and/or skating in the counter-clockwise direction may execute a block. It is illegal to block while at a standstill and while moving in the clockwise direction—this includes positional blocking.

This rule explains the Direction of Gameplay section. Roller derby is played in a counterclockwise direction and while moving. Block may not be made while at a standstill or in a clockwise position. Section 6.9, Direction of Gameplay, goes into greater detail about what constitutes a clockwise direction. Today's rule makes it clear that even a Positional Block, a block made without contact by a skater positioning herself in front of an opponent, must be made in the normal counterclockwise direction of play. Any positional blocks made while moving in a clockwise direction, or while stopped, will result in the blocking skater receiving a Direction of Gameplay penalty.


Monday, May 16, 2011 Only skaters who are in play (as defined in Section 4.3.2) may skate in front of an opposing skater to impede her movement on the track (a.k.a. Passive, Positional, Frontal, or Body Blocking). Positional blocking need not include contact.

Positional Blocking, the act of a skater positioning herself in front of an opponent to impede or block the opposing skater, has been covered here before. It was explained, when 5.1.1 was the Rule of the Day, that Positional Blocking is held to the same standards as contact blocking. Today's rule is a reminder if that, as it clearly says that positional blocks must be made in play, just as with contact blocks. Any positional block made while out of play will earn the blocking skater an Out Of Play penalty.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Immediately - The first legal opportunity in which a skater may complete an action.

For today's rule I chose the definition of "immediately" from Section 11, the Glossary. A lot of people have made many remarks as to different metrics for judging penalties, for example using a 3 second rule for out of play skaters to return to the Engagement Zone before they get a major penalty. In fact, there are only two defined times used in the rules that determine when an action becomes a penalty, or becomes a major rather than a minor. The 3 second rule used by some is understandably confused as common because it does exist twice in the rules: a skater will get a minor Use of Forearms and Hands for extended touching of an opponent more than 3 seconds; and skaters may receive a major Multiple-Player Block penalty, rather than a minor, if a multi-player block lasts more than 3 seconds. Other than those two instances, the only other defined time limit that exists in the rules is "immediately."

The difficulty with immediately is that one would imagine immediately, in the rules, would mean what immediately means in the dictionary, which is right away. This is not true for the rules, which is why immediately has been defined in the Glossary. Immediately, for the sake of the rules, means "at the first legal opportunity." This means that if a skater is unable to correct an illegal action without committing another illegal action then they may wait until thy may do so legally. An example of this may be a Blocker out of play ahead of the Engagement Zone, who, once warned of their out of play status, is unable to return to play without engaging the opposing Jammer. So long as the out of play Blocker doesn't make any effort to engage, but waits until the Jammer is no longer in her way of returning to play, and then does so when she is able, she has satisfied the "at the first legal opportunity" portion of the definition of immediately. This is but one example. Several rules in Section 6, and in other parts of the rules require skaters to correct actions immediately.


Monday, May 2, 2011

4.2.1 Prior to the start of a jam, all skaters must be in position with the Blockers in front of the Jammers. The Pivot line is a straight line across the track at the head of the straightaway. The Jammer line is exactly 30 feet behind the Pivot line.

This rule covers a few other rules that appear elsewhere, such as false starts, and track design.

To be considered in position, Blockers must be in front of the Blockers, and, as explained in other rules, between the Pivot and Jammer lines.

The distance that the Jammer line must be behind the Pivot line is also covered in Appendix B: Track Design.