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.