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.