Wednesday, December 19, 2012

6.15 DELAY OF GAME Delay of Game penalties will be given for actions which interfere with the standard progression of the game.

Today's rule is the main paragraph of the Delay of Game penalties section. This section is brand new in the most recent version of the rules. It was created to address some issues where a skater or team's actions could result in a delay of the game, but was not previously met with any sort of consequence. An example of this is a team that fails to have any blockers on the track at the jam-starting whistle. Previously, there was no conclusive way to handle that situation, nor any enumerated consequence, even though rule 4.1.1.3 clearly states that "a team must have at least one Blocker on the track at all times". This situation is now covered by the Delay of Game section. Over the next few days I will cover the three penalties in this section, including the one for failure to field blockers for a jam.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/484162368289291

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

6.13.16 A skater exiting the penalty box and reentering the track in front of one opposing pack skater.

Today’s rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. Previously, returning from the penalty box in front of one skater - teammate or opponent - was a minor penalty. Since minors no longer exist, this rule has been added to reflect the new way that the rules regard reentering the track illegally. This rule has the same consequence as the similar rule from the Cutting the Track section.

It must be noted that this rule penalizes exiting the penalty box and reentering the track in front of one pack skater, not one in play skater, as is the case in the Cutting rule. If a skater is in play, but not part of the pack, there will be no penalty if an opponent reenters the track from the penalty box in front of them. As well, if there is no pack when the skater reenters the track, then there are no pack skaters, thus no penalty for reentering in front of any skaters.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/483724414999753

Thursday, December 13, 2012

3.4.7.3 Having the helmet cover removed by a teammate.

Today's rule comes from the Lead Jammer section. It is a subrule of 3.4.7 which explains that the jammer that has been declared Lead Jammer will remain Lead Jammer until their status is forfeited. The following three subrules, of which this is one, explain how the lead jammer status is forfeited. This rule is new, as the previous version of the rules only included two ways to forfeit lead status: a jammer removing their helmet cover, and being removed from play due to a penalty. It was a common interpretation that a teammate removing the jammer's helmet cover would forfeit the jammer's lead status, even though it wasn't actually written into the rules. Rather than rely on common interpretations, regardless of the position, the rules now state that a teammate removing their jammer's helmet cover forfeit's that jammer's lead status.

3.4.6 still allows for a jammer to regain lead jammer status if an opponent's action removes the helmet cover.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/481504538555074

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Established Position - Where a skater is physically, an area of the track where the skater has secured their place. Examples: up, in bounds, down, out of bounds, in play, and/or out of play.

Today's rule is the Glossary definition of "Established Position". I decided it was important to discuss this phrase, as it plays an important role in several rules. Established position is something that has existed in the rules for some time. Up until the previous rule set, this phrase was only used in the Back Blocking section, but was then added to Direction of Gameplay and Out Of Play rules. However, there was no explanation of what established position meant. Instead, the derby community was left to common interpretations. Thankfully, this Glossary entry was added in this rules version, and makes very clear and official just what established position means.

At first look, it appears as if established position is very similar to relative position, and that's because they are similar. They both involve a skater's position on the track, with relation to other skater, in/out of bounds, in/out of play, etc. The major difference is that established position specifically notes that "the skater has secured their place". Relative position does not include this qualifier. That means a skater must have secured their place on a track for their position to be considered established. If they have not secured their place, and are forced out of position, it may be considered just a loss of relative position, not of established position. Although "secured their place" is not defined in the rules (of course, not everything can be), it helps us understand the difference between established and no established. A quick movement from one area of the track to another does not establish a skater's position. Simply being on a new area of the track does not secure a skater's place. They need to be on that area of the track long enough to not be considered there only temporarily. As well, even if they are on that area of the track long enough to not be considered temporarily, if they have not maintained balance on that area of the track, they may not have secured their place. For example, if a skater is skating along the outside track boundary and then cuts to skate towards the inside boundary, they will not have established any position in the middle of the track, even though they skated over it. To secure their place along the inside boundary, they would need to be there for a period of time and have balance there. There is not set period of time, and judgment will be used by referees to determine it. It is important to understand how established position has an effect on certain rules within the rule book.

For starters, the Back Blocking section has long used a loss of established position as part of the criteria for a major penalty, rather than a loss of relative position. This is because even though Back Blocking is a contact penalty, it is one that typically also requires an associated action - a block to the back. In other words, back blocking is not penalized merely for contact to an opponent's back. The skater being penalized must have initiated the illegal contact to the opponent's back. Established position comes into play because the back is a legal blocking zone and may be used to initiate a block to an opponent behind a skater. Now, if a skater is ahead of an opponent and leans back to initiate a block, and the opponent counterblocks into the initiator's back, knocking the initiator down, that will likely be a major penalty. To be able to lean back and initiate, the initiator would have had to have established a position in front of the opponent. Now, if a skater is skating forwards and an opponent swoops in from the side, and the skater ends up contacting the opponent in the back, knocking them down, this will not be considered a loss of established position. The swooping skater would not have had time to secure their place on the track. Regardless of who might be considered the initiator (considered a counterblock to the back is illegal anyway), this would not be a loss of established position, which is what is called out in rule 6.1.2. Effectively, what this does is prevent skaters from diving out in front of opponent's to try and draw a Back Blocking penalty.

The same logic applies to both Direction of Gameplay and Out Of Play penalties. With regards to Direction of Gameplay, if a skater is skating clockwise on the track, attempting to not initiate contact with any opponents, established position prevents an opponent from diving in front of the clockwise skating skater to draw a clockwise block major. It is the same with Out Of Play. If a skater is out of play, established position prevents an opponent from jumping out right in front (or behind) the skater to draw an Out Of Play major. Established position is also used to determine the legality of mid-air contact, preventing a skater from jumping in front of an airborne opponent to draw a Misconduct major. You can see the common theme here. Established position helps prevent skaters from drawing penalties on helpless opponents for contact that involves an action, when the initiator is not control of the action of the receiver.

I apologize for the length of this particular explanation. It is an important concept and I didn't want to skimp on words.

(While I am confident in the entire explanation above, I have noticed that, while established position is part of the criteria for a clockwise block major per rule 6.9.19, it is not included in rule 6.9.15, which is also a major penalty that was previously a minor. Therefore, it appears as if a skater may be able to unfairly draw a major Direction of Gameplay penalty even without having established position on the track. I have reported this as an issue to the WFTDA.)

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/481108065261388

Monday, December 10, 2012

6.13.8 More than one designated Pivot for a team on the track after the jam-starting whistle. The skater at fault is the Pivot who was the last Pivot to enter the track in that jam. If the referee is unable to determine the last Pivot to enter the track, the referee handling the Illegal Procedure must single out the Pivot on the track closest to the referee who calls the penalty. After the whistle, the referee must instruct that skater to return to the bench if that skater is an extra skater on the track (see Section 6.13.7) or remove the helmet cover if that skater is an extra Pivot, but the team otherwise has the correct number of Blockers. Any Pivot starting in the penalty box is the designated Pivot for that jam.

Today’s rule is from the No Impact/No Penalty part of the Illegal Procedures penalties. It is a rule that has existed for a while, however has been modified slightly in this version. Effectively, it says that having an extra pivot on the track when the jam starts is not in and of itself a penalty. The extra pivot has an opportunity to correct the situation and avoid a penalty. If there is more than one pivot, the extra pivot(s) will be instructed to remove their pivot helmet cover. If they do so, they will avoid penalty for being an extra pivot. To determine which is the extra pivot, the referee issuing the instruction to remove the helmet cover must determine the last pivot to enter the track. If there is already a pivot sitting in the penalty box, they are considered the active pivot for that jam, and thus any subsequent pivot in that jam will be considered extra. If more than one pivot is standing on the track without any in the penalty box, and the referee is unable to determine which was the last to enter the track, they must issue the instruction to the pivot nearest them. Some people have remarked that this is an odd instruction for the referees. Frankly, I see it as logical as it is clear and unambiguous. If a referee recognizes that there are too many pivots, but can’t remember which one entered the track left, rather than decide which one to pick (a decision which may be challenged by either team, potentially on grounds of bias), they just pick the closest one to them. Easy peasy.

To continue to avoid penalty, the extra pivot who has been instructed to remove the helmet cover must do so. If they fail to comply with the referee’s instruction to remove the helmet cover, they will be penalized. Oddly, there is no Illegal Procedure penalty for continuing to be an extra pivot. Thus, it would seem appropriate for the skater failing to comply with the referee’s instruction to receive an Insubordination penalty, or possibly an Illegal Procedure for improper uniform (6.13.24). With regards to Insubordination, there is no specific penalty enumerated for ignoring a referee. However, the first paragraph of the Insubordination section explains that “Insubordination penalties will be given for actions which demonstrate a disregard for the authority of the referees and officials, whether intentional or not.” This is a change from the previous language which defined Insubordination as “willfully failing to comply with a referee’s orders”, certainly an easier action to explain and penalize. If a referee is not willing to issue an Insubordination penalty to an extra pivot that refuses, or fails, to remove their pivot helmet cover, another option of a penalty to issue is an improper uniform Illegal Procedure. Certainly, a helmet cover is not part of a uniform. However, since the extra pivot is not, in fact, a pivot, that would mean they are a non-pivot blocker. Rule 3.1.3 says that non-pivot blockers don’t wear helmet covers. While it is a slight bit of a stretch, it seems appropriate. Regardless of exactly which penalty is issued, an extra pivot that refuses to remove their helmet cover when instructed to do so must be penalized.

This rule mentions that if the extra pivot is an extra skater in the jam, they must be sent off the track, per 6.13.7. This means that if there are five blockers on the track from one team, and two of them are pivots, the extra pivot will be signaled to return to their bench without being issued a penalty, if they leave the track. If they refuse to leave the track, and the jam must be stopped as a result, and that skater’s team will be issued an Illegal Procedure penalty, which will go to the actual pivot in that jam, not the extra pivot.

This rule wasn’t changed drastically from the previous version of the rules, as far as the language goes. What has changed is how the action is handled. Although the language is similar, it had become widely instructed that even if the extra pivot was not an extra skater on the track, they were to be sent back to their bench anyway. This was strange, since the rule said otherwise. Now, the rule has been written to be more clear, and specifically allows the extra pivot to remain on the track, so long as their team does not have too many skaters on the track, and provided they remove the pivot helmet cover when instructed to do so.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/480294972009364

Friday, December 7, 2012

6.3.7 Any contact outside of the normal skating motion initiated with a part of the body below the legal blocking zone that causes an opposing skater to fall or lose relative position.

Today’s rule comes from the Low Blocking penalties section. It is a major penalty. This rule is new in this version of the rules. Although the feet and legs from below the mid-thigh have always been an illegal blocking zone, the only rule that covered contact from that illegal blocking zone was specific to contact between skates and wheels that was outside of the normal skating motion. Even if a skater were to make illegal contact with the illegal blocking zone below the mid-thigh to a legal target zone, there wasn’t a penalty to address it. Now there is. If a skater initiates a block using the illegal blocking zone below the mid-thigh (which is below the legal blocking zone), and it causes an opposing skater to lose relative position, the initiator will receive a major penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/478909192147942

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

6.9.4.1 A skater who is engaged in a block who then comes to a stop for any reason must cease all engagement until there is another legal opportunity to engage.

Today’s rule comes from the Direction of Gameplay penalties section. It is a No Impact/No Penalty rule. In the previous rule set, if a skater was blocking an opponent and came to a complete stop, they were given a minor penalty. Since there are no minors in the current rule set, this action has been deemed no impact. It is important to note that for this action to be no penalty, the blocking skater who has come to a complete stop must immediately cease all engagement or begin moving counterclockwise again. If they continue to engage while stopped completely, they will be penalized.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/478055625566632

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

3.7.5.2 Numbers may be placed on the helmet in addition to the arm/sleeve. Numbers on helmet must match roster numbers.

Today’s rule comes from the Uniforms section. It explains an option skaters have, which is to put their skater number on their helmet. This rule was changed from the previous version, to add that if a skater puts their number on their helmet, it must match the number that is on the roster, which is required to be on their back and on their arm or sleeve. This makes it easier for officials, as they won’t be confused by different numbers that appear on a skater. Although helmet numbers are not required, it can be confusing to a referee if, for example, they are looking above a skater’s shoulders calling a Blocking With The Head, and the number they see on the helmet is not that skater’s roster number.

This isn’t really a problem for the vast majority of skaters who put their number on their helmet, a trend growing in popularity worldwide. After all, most skaters will always wear their own skater number. This becomes an issue if a skater has to wear someone else’s helmet, jersey, or skater number, for some reason. For example, if a skater is skating in an invitational bout and have to use a different number than their own because of another skater on their team with the same number, they may need to wear a different helmet. Now, invitational bouts are not regulation or sanctioned, the two types of bout absolutely required to be played by exact word of the WFTDA rules. However, if a game is being played by the WFTDA rules, it is generally understood that it will follow the rules as if it is sanctioned or regulation. If a skater is in a situation where they are playing in a non-sanctioned or non-regulation bout and wants to wear a helmet with a different number than their roster number, they should seek approval prior to the bout from the head referee, and probably the opposing team, or else they will likely be asked to use a different helmet. Skaters in sanctioned and regulation bouts don’t have the option of seeking approval for a helmet with a number different than their roster number.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/477649008940627

Friday, November 30, 2012

6.11.9 A skater cutting only one in-play teammate.

Today's rule is from the No Impact/No Penalty par of the Cutting the Track penalty section. This rule came about as the result of minor penalties being removed in this version of the rules. Previously cutting one in play skater, regardless of team, was a penalty. Now, cutting on in play teammate does not result in a penalty.

It is important to note that even though no penalty is given, passes made while out of bounds do not satisfy the requirements of rule 3.4.1, and a jammer who cuts one in play teammate, and doesn't repass that teammate in bounds, will not be eligible for lead jammer.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/475983572440504

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

4.1.2.1 Distances for determining the Pack and the Engagement Zone are measured as the shortest distance parallel to the track boundary between skaters' hips (see Glossary for “hips”).

Today’s rule comes from the Pack Definition section. It is similar to the rule that existed in the previous version of the rules, however it includes an addition. This rule includes the phrase “parallel to the track boundary”. There used to be much discussion about how to determine the shortest distance between skaters’ hips, if it was parallel to the track (sometimes called the rectangle method) or if it was the direct distance from one skater’s hips to another’s. It has been the consensus of most referees that the rectangle method is the preferred method of determining the distance between hips, and this is even taught in official WFTDA officiating clinics. Now, there’s no question how to measure this distance, thanks to this rule. A skater’s position relative to the inside and outside boundaries has no bearing on the distance between hips. Only their distance along the track makes a difference.

If you are having trouble visualizing this, take a look at this image that explains the rectangle method visually.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=258788907493306&set=a.181998988505632.41070.169028706469327&type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/474831202555741

Monday, November 26, 2012

3.2.3.1 A Pivot may skate in any direction, including out of bounds, to retrieve the Pivot helmet cover.

Today’s rule comes from the Player Positions and Identification section. This is a new rule in the current version of the WFTDA rules. Previously, the rules regarding the retrieval of dropped helmet covers were in the Star Pass section. In this version, they’ve been moved to the appropriate sections, for the helmet cover in question. This rule, regarding the pivot helmet cover, appears in the Pivot Blocker section. Also, previously, the rules made it legal only to retrieve either helmet cover while skating in the counterclockwise direction. This has been changed, and now the pivot (and jammer) helmet cover may be retrieved while skating in either direction. This is a helpful rule change, as it prevents pivots from having to skate an entire lap to retrieve a helmet cover that is clockwise of them. If they missed the helmet cover on their first try, they would have to take another lap, repeating until they retrieved the helmet cover. This also makes it easier for referees, as they no longer need to worry about the direction a pivot is moving when retrieving their helmet cover. All they need to do is make sure that the skater retrieving the pivot helmet cover is, in fact, the pivot. This rule is a subrule of 3.2.3, which says that only the pivot may retrieve their helmet cover from the ground.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/474457932593068

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3.4.2.4 In the event both Jammers simultaneously meet all requirements for Lead jammer, the foremost Jammer, if there is one, will be declared Lead Jammer.

Today’s rule comes from the Lead Jammer section. This is a new rule as of the most recent revision of the WFTDA rules. This situation was previously addressed as an official Publication, but has been incorporated into the rules. It is an odd circumstance that would lead to this rule being required. I’ll explain:

3.4.1 states that the lead jammer is the first jammer to pass the foremost in play blocker legally and in bounds, having passed all other blockers legally and in bounds. As well 3.4.1.3 does not require jammers to pass blockers that are ahead of the engagement zone to be come lead jammer. So, if both jammers have made it through the pack and there is only one in play blocker ahead of them - the foremost - and that blocker were to skate out of play ahead of the engagement zone, at that moment both jammers will be in front of the new foremost in play blocker, meaning they have both passed the foremost in play blocker. Assuming that blocker was passed legally and in bounds, and all other blockers were pass legally in bounds, by both jammers, then both jammers will have met the requirements to be lead simultaneously.

Thanks to today’s rule, lead status will be signaled for the jammer which is in the lead at the time they both meet the requirements to become lead jammer. If, at that time, neither jammer is foremost (meaning they are neck and neck, and foremost cannot be determined) then neither shall be declared lead.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/472473386124856

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

6.13.19 A Jammer successfully calling off a jam when she is not Lead Jammer.

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. It is similar to yesterday's rule, however it is a penalty for a jam that is successfully called off when the non-lead jammer attempts to call it off. Per rule 3.4.6, only the lead jammer may call off the jam. If a jammer is not lead, and she taps her hips repeatedly, she is giving the signal to call off the jam, which is an attempt to have it called of. If the jam is called off as a result of this illegal attempt, the jammer will receive a major penalty.

It is because of this rule why the accepted practice of only jam refs calling off the jam has come about. The jam refs are the ones who will know best if a jammer is or isn't actually lead. By jam refs calling off jams first, it helps prevent this penalty from having to be issued.

This penalty used to be a little ambiguous. Prior to version 4.0 of the WFTDA rules it said "successfully calling off a jam", making it unclear if this rule applied to only jammers or all skaters. Considering only jammers can call off jams, it didn't make sense that this rule would apply to blockers. However, the fact that no particular position was identified made it unclear. The rule was eventually changed to read "a jammer successfully calling off a jam". It is now very clear that this rule applies only to jammers who are not lead.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/455783507793844

Friday, October 5, 2012

6.13.24 A skater, after addressing mid jam equipment malfunction, re-entering the track in front of more than one pack skater.

Today’s rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. Much like yesterday’s rule, it is a penalty for illegal reentry to the track. Even though it seems like this would be a Cutting rule, penalties for Cutting are issued for reentering in front of in play skaters while illegal reentry is penalized for reentering in front of pack skaters. There is, of course, specifics to when illegal reentry penalties are issued, such as this rule, which is issued for illegal reentry after addressing mid jam equipment malfunction. If a skater leaves to the track to address an equipment malfunction during a jam and returns to the track in front of more than one pack skater, she will receive a major penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/454249677947227

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

6.13.27 Removing required safety equipment (see Section 7.3.6 and Section 10.1.1).

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. Removing safety equipment is a major penalty to the offending skater. However, this doesn't apply always. This rule references 10.1.1 which says that "protective gear must be worn while skating in a jam, including to and from the penalty box", while 7.3.6 allows a skater to remove their mouthguard while in the penalty box, but only when they are seated. Thus, if a skater is not skating in a jam (meaning she is in her bench area) then she will not receive a penalty for removing safety equipment. Skaters are allowed to leave and rejoin a jam to address an equipment malfunction, however they may not remove the equipment if they are in the jam. So, if a skater is having trouble with a knee or elbow pad, for example, they may skate out of bounds to adjust the pad and get it tightened, straightened, or do whatever else is necessary, so long as it is not removed.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/453473154691546

Monday, October 1, 2012

6.13.26 Too many skaters and/or team support staff in the designated team area. The penalty is issued to the Pivot at the time the Penalty is determined. If there is no Pivot in that jam, the penalty is issued to the Captain in all circumstances.

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. This is, at times, a penalty that is easy to issue, and at others a difficult one. Rule 2.1.4 allows up to two non-rostered support staff to be in the team bench area during a game. This is interesting because there's no clear definition of what the "team bench area" is. There isn't a rule that requires the team bench area to be remarked by a tape line, rope, or any such marker. Thus, it is not so obvious to know when a team has more than two support staff on the bench. If a game is played in a hockey arena, and the teams use the rink benches as their team benches, then it is more obvious where the team bench area is. If the venue is open and there is spectator seating behind the benches, then it becomes more difficult to tell where the bench area is. One of the qualifiers that can be used to determine if a team has more than two support staff if it isn't clear, is if more than two people are integrating with the skaters on the bench. If, for example, there is a third person behind the bench handing helmet covers to skaters, then they would be considered a third support staff. If, however, the third person is just talking to the skaters, they wouldn't be considered an extra support staff member. After all, there is no rule preventing communication to and from the bench with audience members.

This penalty is issued to the active pivot at the time it is issued. If the penalty is issued between jams then it would go to the pivot from the previous jam. After all, prior to a jam starting there is technically no pivot, since any number of people can be standing on the track wearing a pivot helmet cover up until the jam start whistle without incurring a penalty. If there was no pivot in the previous jam, then the major goes to the captain.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/452832161422312

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

6.13.17 Forcing a jam to be called off due to too many skaters on the track. The penalty is issued to the Pivot in that jam. If there is no Pivot in that jam, the penalty is issued to the last Non-Pivot Blocker to enter the track to the extent that the referee is able to determine who that skater was. If there is no Pivot in the jam and the referee is unable to determine the last skater to enter the track, the referee issuing the illegal procedure must penalize the Blocker on the track closest to the referee who calls the penalty.

Similar to yesterday’s rule, today’s rule comes from the Illegal Procedures section. This is a major penalty. Yesterday I explained that a minor penalty is given to an extra skater if a jam begins with too many skaters from one team on the track. Sometimes, however, a jam goes on for some time without the referees noticing that there is an extra skater on the track, and by the time they go to remove the extra skater, it becomes difficult to remove a skater from the track. This may be because of other penalties happening, noise, or skaters not listening. Thus, in some cases the jam may be called off by the referees so that it doesn’t continue with one team being advantaged by an extra skater. If the jam is called off because there are too many skaters on the track, then the team with an too many skaters will receive a penalty. If both teams have too many skaters, both teams will receive a penalty. By default this major penalty goes to the team’s pivot, if there is a pivot in the jam. If the team did not field a pivot in that jam, then the referees should attempt to identify the last skater to enter the track, as she would be considered the extra skater. If the last skater to enter the track is unable to be identified, then the major penalty will go given to the block on the track that is closest to the referee issuing the penalty. This may seem odd, but is worded in such a way as to avoid referees just choosing a skater to issue the penalty to. The wording “the Blocker on the track closest to the referee who calls the penalty” make it pretty unambiguous, and helps relieve the possibility of bias.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/450458828326312

Thursday, September 13, 2012

4.3.2.5 Skaters may not assist teammates outside the Engagement Zone.

Today’s rule comes from the Jam Positioning section. There’s not very much to it. If a skater is out of the engagement zone, she may not give or receive an assist. Both teammates involved in an assist must be in the engagement zone or else they will be given an Out of Play penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/446164535422408

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

4.3.2.4 Skaters may assist downed teammates within the Engagement Zone.

Today’s rule comes from the Jam Positioning section of the rules. While rule 6.9.2.1 allows a stopped or counterclockwise skating skater to assist a downed teammate, this rule requires that the assist happen in the engagement zone. Simple as that.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/445848538787341

Saturday, September 8, 2012

3.5.9.4 A Jammer who successfully completes a helmet cover transfer to her Pivot will play the position of Blocker for the remainder of the jam.

When a legal star pass has been completed, meaning a pivot has put the jammer helmet cover on her helmet, the jammer who passed the star is no longer a jammer. She becomes a non-pivot blocker for the rest of that jam. She must follow all of the rules that apply to non-pivot blockers, which means, for example, she may no longer engage the opposing jammer outside of the engagement zone, as that is illegal for blockers. It is imperative to note that the jammer does not switch positions with the pivot in a star pass. This means the jammer does NOT become the pivot when the pivot becomes the jammer. As mentioned in the first paragraph of Section 3.5, “The position of Pivot cannot be transferred by passing the Pivot helmet cover”. Only the jammer position may be transferred. That is why the jammer becomes a non-pivot blocker, and not the pivot.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/444403358931859

Friday, September 7, 2012

3.5.9.3 A Pivot who has taken the position of Jammer for her team by means of a successful helmet cover transfer will play the position of Jammer for the remainder of the jam.

When a legal star pass has been completed, meaning a pivot has put the jammer helmet cover on her helmet, she has become the jammer and will remain her team's hammer until the end of the jam. She may not pass the star to anyone. Her team's jammer referee will begin following her. As well, any penalties that would typically be issued to the pivot by default would no longer apply to her. Granted, most penalties that go to the pivot happen at the the beginning of a jam, but for example if, after a star pass has been completed, the jam is called off for that team having too many skaters on the track, there would be no pivot to issue the penalty to.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/444076245631237

Thursday, September 6, 2012

3.5.9.2 A Pivot who has been passed the star and has become the Jammer is now subject to all rules per Section 8 Scoring. She picks up where the previous Jammer left off on points scored and number of laps through the pack. The helmet cover must be on the new Jammer’s helmet and the stars must be visible in order for the new Jammer to accrue points.

Today's rule comes from the Pass Completion part of the Star Pass section of the rules. This rule explains that once a pivot has become the jammer through a legal star pass, she is eligible to start scoring. She continues scoring where the previous jammer left off. That means, if the original jammer passed two opposing blockers and then passed the star, the new jammer would have two points when she became the jammer and would be able to score the last two opposing blocker points on that scoring pass. Another scoring situation, if the original jammer were about to lap the opposing jammer but passed the star first, then the new jammer would be able to pass the opposing jammer and score that jammer lap point. Some may argue that she wouldn't score that point since the new jammer hasn't technically lapped the opposing jammer yet. However, this rule clearly states that the new jammer "picks up where the previous Jammer left off on points scored and number of laps through the pack". So, if the original jammer were a lap ahead of the opposing jammer, then the new jammer would be as well. Of course, the same applies if the opposing jammer were the one about to score the jammer lap point.

The last part of the rule is just a reminder that to be able to score points once she becomes the jammer, the pivot must make sure she is active when the pass is complete by putting on the jammer helmet cover with the stars visible. If the pivot puts on the jammer helmet cover without the stars being visible, she will still become the jammer but will not be considered active and this will not be able to score points. If this happens she may remove the helmet cover and replace it on her helmet with the stars visible.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/443702659001929

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3.5.9.1 A Pivot who has been passed the star attains Jammer status when she has the helmet cover on her helmet. Until the Jammer cover is on, she is subject to out of play penalties.

From the Pass Completion part of the Star Pass section, today’s rule explains how a star pass is completed. In a legal star pass, the position of jammer is transferred to the pivot when the pivot puts the jammer helmet cover on her helmet. While this is pretty simple at base, there’s some depth to this rule.

The rule says that the pivot becomes the jammer when she has the jammer helmet cover “on her helmet”. It does not say that the jammer helmet cover must go on top of the pivot helmet cover. As well, 3.6.6 allows a pivot to start the jam with the pivot helmet cover in her hand, but no rule requires her to put it on to become active. Thus, as long as the pivot begins the jam with the pivot helmet cover on her helmet or in her hand at the start of the jam, she is still the pivot without the helmet cover on. So, if the pivot isn’t wearing the pivot helmet cover and puts on the jammer helmet cover (likely because she took off the pivot helmet cover first) she is still legally allowed to do so, and will become the jammer.

To reiterate, it is not illegal for the pivot to remove the pivot helmet cover before she puts on the jammer helmet cover. The pivot just needs to put the jammer helmet cover on her helmet to become the jammer. Of course, if the jammer is penalized before she can do so, then she will not become the jammer, and will be instructed to take off the jammer helmet cover.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/443012265737635

Monday, September 3, 2012

3.5.8.1.1 The Pivot is eligible to obtain Jammer status by retrieving a dropped helmet cover and placing it on her helmet.

Today's rule follows yesterday's rule. That rule explained that the jammer or pivot may retrieve a dropped helmet cover.It did not specify which helmet cover, which means that the pivot may retrieve a dropped helmet cover from the ground. That leads in to today's rule. If the jammer helmet cover falls to the ground, the pivot may pick it up, put it on her head, and become the jammer. There are many facets tot his rule. I will try to cover them all.

Although 3.5.4 says that the jammer must hand off the helmet cover to the pivot and not throw it, because of this rule if a jammer throws the helmet cover and it lands on the floor, and the pivot picks it up, then she has retrieved a fallen helmet cover and may put it on. The reasoning behind this, for those not convinced, is because a helmet cover thrown to the ground is not a helmet cover thrown to the pivot.

Another situation is a helmet cover dropped out of bounds. The pivot may skate out of bounds to retrieve a dropped helmet cover (per 3.5.8.2) and become the jammer. Of course, if the helmet cover was dropped by the jammer while she was on her way to the penalty box, the pivot may retrieve it, but not put it on, as the position of jammer is in the penalty box with the inactive jammer sitting there. Howeber, once the jammer is released from the penalty box, the pivot may put on the helmet cover and become the jammer.

There is a situation which seems against the rules to some, however is actually legal. That is where the jammer drops the helmet cover on the ground while she is out of the engagement zone and the pivot picks it up when she gets to it. It is often argued that this type of star pass is illegal because it wasn't made while in the engagement zone. Passes that must be made in the engagement zone are passes where the helmet cover is handed directly from jammer to pivot, as outlined in 3.5.4. However, there is no rule that requires the jammer to be in the engagement zone when she drops a helmet cover, nor that the pivot must be in the engagement zone when she retrieves it. In fact, 3.5.8.2 is very specific that a helmet cover may retrieved while not in the engagement zone, since out of bounds is out of play.

To reiterate, it is not illegal for a pivot to retrieve a helmet cover from the ground an put it on her head. During yesterday's discussion, and also several times in the past, I've been told by various skaters that they have received penalties for just that action. If you have received a penalty for this, or know of a ref who has issued a penalty for this, please pass this information on the that referee. It is important that it is understood by all refs that this action is not illegal.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/442675485771313

Sunday, September 2, 2012

3.5.8.1 If a helmet cover falls to the ground, or is removed from play by any means, it may only be recovered by the Jammer or Pivot.

Today’s rule is from the Incomplete Star Passes and Recovery part of the Star Pass section of the rules. There are times when, during a star pass, the jammer helmet cover is dropped, either by the jammer while attempting to hand it to the pivot, by the pivot while putting it on her helmet, or any of a number of other reasons. This rule allows the jammer or the pivot to recover a dropped helmet cover. Considering this rule says “a helmet cover” and doesn’t specify which, that means the pivot or the jammer may retrieve a dropped pivot or jammer helmet cover. Of course, if the jammer retrieves the pivot helmet cover she is not allowed to put it on her head, since the position of pivot may not be passed (per 3.5). As well, if the star pass has already been complete, and the original jammer is now playing the remainder of the jam as a non-pivot blocker (per 3.5.9.4), then she may not retrieve a helmet cover, as she is no longer pivot or jammer.

There is something else to note regarding this rule. If a helmet cover is being retrieved, a skater must do so only in a normal counterclockwise direction. Skating clockwise to retrieve a helmet cover is not allowed (per 3.5.8.2). It has been suggested that skating clockwise past the helmet, turning around, and then skating clockwise while retrieving the helmet cover ought to be legal. It isn’t. That is because the intent of the clockwise movement is to retrieve the helmet cover, even if the helmet cover was retrieved while moving counterclockwise.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/442143709157824

Friday, August 31, 2012

3.5.8.3 If a star pass cannot be completed for any reason, the Jammer may return the helmet cover to her own helmet and regain her active Jammer position, but not her Lead Jammer status (see Section 3.5.4 Pass Procedure).

Today’s rule, from the Star Passes section, ties in to one of the rules covered earlier this week. A jammer is only active (meaning she may earn lead jammer status and score points) when she has the jammer helmet cover on her helmet with the stars visible. If she does not have the stars visible, she is not active. As well, if she is not wearing her helmet cover, she is not active. As mentioned in 3.5.4.1, when the jammer removes her helmet cover for a star pass (or for any reason) she becomes inactive. Similarly, if she is lead jammer then, per 3.5.4.2, she loses her lead jammer status. Once lead jammer status has been forfeited by the helmet cover being removed, it can never be regained by the jammer, earned by the new jammer (formerly the pivot) or earned by the opposing jammer. So, if the jammer who took off her helmet cover put it back on, she becomes an active jammer again, meaning she may begin scoring points again, but she will not regain her lead jammer status.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/441565839215611

Thursday, August 30, 2012

3.5.5.1 In an illegal star pass, the Jammer status is not transferred, even if the Pivot then has possession of the helmet cover. Both skaters retain their original status and the initiator of the pass is penalized accordingly (see Section 6.13 Illegal Procedures).

Today’s rule is a subrule of 3.5.5, which explains that, during a star pass, the pivot becomes the jammer when the jammer helmet cover is on her helmet. This rule is actually an exception to 3.5.5. Even if the pivot puts the helmet cover on her helmet, if the star pass was illegal, then the pivot will not become the jammer. An example of this would be if the pivot were to take the helmet cover off the jammer’s head, and put it on her own. That would be illegal per 3.5.4. Likewise, if a jammer were to pass the star to the pivot on her way to the penalty box (illegal per 3.5.3.1) then this rule would apply. Basically, any time that there is a violation of the star pass procedure, resulting in a penalty per 6.13.20 (which is what the reference to Section 6.13 refers to) the pivot remains the pivot and the jammer remains the jammer, regardless of whether the pivot is wearing the jammer helmet cover. Only legal star passes result in a transfer of the jammer position.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/441234655915396

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3.5.4.2 Her Lead Jammer status.

Today’s rule is a subrule of 3.5.4, and is a result of a jammer removing her helmet cover. The last line of 3.5.4 is:

“A Jammer who has removed her helmet cover has forfeited:”

Therefore, if a jammer has been declared lead jammer and then removes her helmet, she will no longer be the lead jammer. That means any attempt to call off the jam after removing her helmet cover will result in an Illegal Procedure penalty for attempting to call off the jam while not lead jammer. This may seem simple to some, but there are a couple intricacies to this rule.

First, 3.5.8.3 allows the jammer to return the helmet cover to her helmet if the star pass can't be completed. However, it is explicit that, while she becomes an active jammer again, and regains her ability to score points, she does not regain her lead jammer status. Once a jammer has forfeited lead jammer status by removing her helmet cover, it is gone for the remainder of the jam.

Secondly, a jammer will lose her lead jammer status even if she didn't remove the helmet cover from her helmet, except in the case of it being removed because of an opponent's action. Buried in rule 3.4.6 is this sentence:

"If the helmet cover is removed by an opponent’s action, the Jammer may replace the helmet cover and regain Lead Jammer status."

That means if an opponent pulls the helmet cover off the jammer's helmet, she may put it back on and regain lead jammer status if she had already been declared as such. This also includes if a blocker happens to knock the helmet cover off while blocking the jammer. Granted, since the language mentions "an opponent's action" then I would personally interpret that to mean that the helmet cover must come off as a direct result of the opponent's action. For example, if a jammer put the helmet cover on incorrectly and it popped off after she was legally blocked by an opponent, I would consider the action resulting in the helmet cover coming off being that of the jammer, she having out it on incorrectly. That being said, if a jammer doesn't secure the helmet cover on her helmet and it pops off while she is skating, she will lose her lead jammer status. As well, if her own pivot (or other teammate) removes the helmet cover, or it is removed as a result of a teammate's action, then she will lose her lead jammer status. 3.4.6 only mentions an opponent's action with regards to regaining lead jammer status.

Finally, this applies to jammers who have been declared lead jammer already. A jammer on her initial pass who has not been declared lead jammer but has removed her helmet cover may still return the helmet cover to her helmet and earn lead jammer status, as long as she is still eligible.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/440826039289591

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

3.5.4.1 Her ability to accrue points, unless she returns the helmet cover to her head with visible stars.

Today’s rule is a subrule of 3.5.4, and is a result of a jammer removing her helmet cover. The last line of 3.5.4 is:

“A Jammer who has removed her helmet cover has forfeited:”

Therefore, if a jammer removes her helmet cover, she is considered inactive (per 3.3.2), and she is no longer able to score points while it is off. If a jammer has her helmet cover off of her helmet and she passes any opposing blockers legally and in bounds, or laps the opposing jammer legally and in bounds, no points will be scored for the pass(es). If the jammer returns the helmet cover to her head, she may start scoring points again, but only if the stars are visible. If the helmet cover is returned to the jammer’s head inside out, and the stars are not visible, then she will still not score points for passing opponents. She may remove the helmet cover and turn it right side out to begin scoring points again. Once the helmet cover has been returned to the jammer’s helmet with the stars visible, points are only scored for opponents passed from that point on. Points are not scored once the helmet cover is returned for opponents passed while the helmet cover was off. Those passes do not count, and those opponents would have to be repassed with the helmet cover on to be scored on in that scoring pass.

It is because of this rule that teams are increasingly having helmet covers made with stars on the inside and outside, in case the jammer puts on the helmet cover inside out. I have personally seen this practice prevent a jammer from going scoreless in a jam because she hurried to the line and put her helmet cover on inside out. It must be noted that, if a team is using a helmet cover with stars on the inside, it must be the same color scheme as the outside - same base color and star color - or else it will not be considered a legal helmet cover, and thus the jammer will still be unable to score.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/440509215987940

Thursday, August 9, 2012

6.9.6 Skaters may block and/or assist while facing any direction as long as they are moving in the counter-clockwise direction.

Today's rule is one misunderstood by a surprisingly many people, regardless of it's prevalence. As has been posted and explained here before, roller is played in a clockwise direction, which meas that all blocks, assists, entries into the penalty box, retrievals of helmet covers, and scoring must occur in that direction. Counterclockwise, however, is not the same as forwards or backwards. When skaters skate normally they are moving in a counterclockwise direction facing forwards. However, many skaters like to turn around and skate backwards while playing for various reasons. This rule makes it clear that skating backwards while blocking and/or assisting is perfectly legal, so long as skaters are still moving in a counterclockwise direction. In fact, as the rule says, facing any direction is legal, so long as the block or assist is made while the initiator is going counterclockwise. More often skaters make blocks and give assist while skating in a mohawk (both skates parallel, facing opposite directions, which means they are likely facing either side. As long as a skater facing any direction does not stop or move clockwise while blocking and/or assisting, they will not be penalized.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/434403599931835

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

6.9.5 Skaters may skate clockwise out of bounds when exiting the penalty box, but must re-enter from the back of the pack (see Section 6.13 Illegal Procedures).

Sometime in the past few years skaters began to exit the penalty box and skate clockwise to return to the track. This seemed confusing at first, because there were rules dictating that entry into the penalty must be from a counterclockwise direction. However, nothing stated how a skater must exit the box, or even how they may not exit the box. Luckily, this rule was added in the current version of the WFTDA rules when the Direction of Gameplay penalty section replaced the Skating Clockwise to Block section. Today's rule make it crystal clear that skaters are, in fact, allowed to exit the penalty box in a clockwise direction should they choose to do so. It also makes it clear the exiting in a clockwise direction does not prevent them from having to reenter the track behind the pack. If a skater leaves the box in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction and reenters the track in front of one pack skater, she will be given an Illegal Procedure, and a major if she reenters if front of multiple pack skaters.

Note: the penalties are only for reentering in front of pack skaters. Reentering in front of skaters not in the pack, even if they are in the engagement zone behind the pack, goes unpenalized.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/434040609968134

Monday, August 6, 2012

6.9.3 Skaters are permitted to skate clockwise on the track provided they do not block, assist or otherwise engage teammates or opponents.

Today’s rule makes it very clear that clockwise skating is allowed in roller derby, even though it is a game played in the counterclockwise direction. There are four actions that are illegal while skating clockwise, and these are retrieving a helmet cover, blocking, assisting, and skating into the penalty box, although skating into the penalty box will not result in a penalty. In all other circumstances, skaters may skate clockwise on the track. Very often, when a skater blocks an opponent out of bounds, thus requiring the opponent to return to the track behind them, the initiator will skate clockwise making the distance to return behind her even greater for the receiver who is out of bounds. This requires the receiver to skate all the way back to legally return behind the initiator, or to return in front of them and receive a Cutting the Track penalty. Skilled skaters will block out an opponent, then grab ahold of a teammate who was in front of the receiver when she went out of bounds, and skate clockwise with the teammate. That way, if the receiver were to return in front of the initiator, it would result in a Cutting major, for returning in front of multiple in play skates. Of course, this would require the clockwise skating skaters to remain in the engagement zone.

Another situation that results in clockwise skating is power jams. During a power jam, the team on the offense may attempt to get the pack skating clockwise. By doing this, they have locked their opponents into a tough situation. While the pack is moving clockwise, the defending blockers may not block the jammer who is on the track. As well, if they decide to start skating counterclockwise again to engage the jammer, they risk receiving a destruction of the pack major if the defending team changes from CW to CCW too quickly, destroying the pack. Of course, if the pack is moving clockwise, and the team on the offense turns to skate clockwise and their action breaks the pack in a way that is considered sudden, rapid and marked, they will be issued a destruction major.

So, while skating clockwise is certainly mostly legal, it is definitely a risk to do so.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/433399533365575

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

6.10.5 Blockers may not initiate engagement outside the Engagement Zone. If a Blocker initiates engagement with an opponent outside the Engagement Zone, the illegally engaged opponent may counter-block and go unpenalized. Likewise if a Jammer illegally engages an opponent outside the Engagement Zone that opponent may counter-block and go unpenalized.

Today's rule continues from the Out Of Play penalties section. When a blocker leaves the engagement zone she is considered out of play by definition. While out of play she may not engage any opponents. After all, that is why the engagement zone is called just that; because it is the zone within which blockers may engage. Blockers who engage opponents outside the engagement zone will be penalized. Normally, counterblocking is held to the same standards as blocking, so if an illegally engaged opponent counterblocked while out of play, they too would receive a penalty. However, this rule allows for skaters outside the engagement zone, who are engaged illegally, to counterblock and go unpenalized. Just as with 6.10.4, although jammers are not considered out of play while outside the engagement zone, they may still not engage blockers who are out of play. If a jammer engages an out of play blocker, the blocker may counterblock without receiving a penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/431767020195493

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

6.10.6 Out-of-Play skaters will be warned to re-enter the Engagement Zone and will be penalized if they do not immediately attempt to return to Engagement Zone.

When a skater leaves the engagement zone she is, by definition, out of play, and may not engage or assist. When a skater goes out of play, a referee may give her a warning, which includes a hand signal and verbal cue. I say "may" because there's the possibility that the warning may not happen before a penalty. After all, penalties take precedence over out of play warnings, per:

9.3.1.1 Issuing penalties takes priority over issuing warnings. A warning does not have to be issued in order for a penalty to be given. Issuing penalties is always the priority over issuing a warning of any sort.

If a skater goes out of play outside the engagement zone and engages an opponent before a referee has the chance to give a warning, she will receive a penalty before hearing a warning. Whether they receive a warning or a minor penalty, blockers who are outside the engagement zone must reenter the engagement zone or face penalties, or further penalties if they've already been penalized.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/431396763565852

Monday, July 23, 2012

‎6.10.7 During a no pack situation skaters will be warned that there is no pack and will be penalized if they do not immediately attempt to reform the pack. During a no pack situation, out of bounds skaters must re-enter the track and reform a pack.

Today’s rule explains what happens when the pack is destroyed. When there is a no pack situation, the referees will warn the skaters with the appropriate hand signal (two hands flat palmed and in the air, facing each other) and verbal cue (“no pack”). Once there is no pack, both teams must immediately attempt to reform the pack. That means, if the pack was destroyed because all the Blockers from one team are skating in the front, and the other team in the back, the skaters in the front must slow down and eventually stop until a pack is reformed, while the team in the back must speed up until a pack is reformed. For the team in the front, the entire team need not slow down. Only one skater is needed to form a pack, so the rearmost skater may slow down and reform the pack without the other skates going penalized. It must also be noted that they aren’t required to skate clockwise to reform the pack. If the rearmost Blocker just stops, she has met the requirements of reforming the pack. Similarly, with the team in the rear, the entire team need not speed up to reform the pack, so long as one skater, the foremost, does so. Of course, this must be an attempt to reform, not an attempt to look like an attempt to reform. What does that mean? There’s a distinct difference between attempting to reform and looking like attempting to reform. The action a skater in the rear takes to reform ahead must look different enough from the action they were performing before the pack was destroyed, or else they will get a penalty. I know this sounds confusing, but it really is pretty simple. If you’re the foremost skater in the rear team, and the refs shout “no pack!” then you need to speed up to reform the pack. Simply going the same speed is not an attempt to reform.

The last part of this rule talks about out of bounds skaters during no pack situations. This is an important rule for skaters who get goated. Consider the scenario I mentioned above, with one team in front and the other team in the rear. However, this time the team in rear is goating an opposing Blocker, and then knock her out of bound, which destroys the pack. If the goated skater who is now out of bounds does not return to the track, she may receive a failure to reform penalty, as she is likely the skater most able to reform the pack.

As always, and as repeated in many rules throughout the rule book, both teams are responsible for reforming a pack. That means that one or both teams may receive a penalty for failure to reform.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/428690090503186

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3.7.5.4 The maximum height for a player’s number on the arm/sleeve is four (4) inches.

Last week I posted rule 3.7.5, which requires skaters to have their skater number on each arm or sleeve. Today's rule requires that number to be a maximum four inches high. This prevents skaters from having giant numbers that become illegible during the fast pace of roller derby. After all, the number on the arm/sleeve is there for visibility, particularly for the referees to be able to properly call penalties on skaters.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/426961850676010

Monday, July 16, 2012

3.7.5.3 The minimum height for a player's number on the arm/sleeve is two (2) inches.

Last week I posted rule 3.7.5, which requires skaters to have their skater number on each arm or sleeve. Today's rule requires that number to be a minimum two inches high. This prevents skaters from having half inch high numbers which are practically invisible during the fast paced action of roller derby. After all, the number on the arm/sleeve is there for visibility, particularly for the referees to be able to properly call penalties on skaters.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/426295977409264

Thursday, July 12, 2012

3.7.5.1 Numbers may be placed on the hip or thigh in addition to the arm/sleeve.

While section 3.7.5 requires skaters to have their skater number visible on their arm or sleeve, nothing prevents them from having it visible on their hip or thigh as well. While it is not common practice at all, some skaters have had their skater number stitched into their uniform bottoms. A skater having her number placed on her hip or thigh is similar to the arm or sleeve as it is on the side of the skater, which makes it easier for a referee to see her number when her back is not visible to the ref. Of course, for this reason, skaters may choose to not make their number more visible, so as to “deter” refs from making calls on them. I can assure every skater, this is not the case.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/424998250872370

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

3.7.5 Each skater participating in a bout must visibly display her number on each sleeve or arm. Numbers must be of high contrast and easily legible. Handwritten numbers on the arm are acceptable.

Today’s rule is the one which has made the Sharpie company a lot of money from the roller derby community. Section 3.7.4 has all sorts of requirements for skater numbers on each skater’s back. However, referees can’t always see a skater’s back, therefore the rules require each skater to have her number on her arm for ease of calling penalties. Numbers on a skater’s arm do not have to be handwritten, which is why a lot of people wear customized arm bands with their number on them. However, handwritten numbers are acceptable, which is where the Sharpies come in. However, with Sharpies, the numbers tend to rub off with sweat and contact, and this rule doesn’t require the numbers to be on a skater’s arm only at the beginning of the bout, but throughout the bout. So skaters with handwritten numbers, or any other sort of removable number, must make sure their number is legible throughout the entire bout, or else risk receiving a penalty. Some skaters prefer to write their number on the sleeve of their jersey, or sometimes have it embroidered, printed or ironed on the sleeve. All of these are acceptable, so long as they meet the definition of high contrast and highly legible.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/424703787568483

Friday, July 6, 2012

6.10.4 Jammers may not initiate engagement with Blockers outside the Engagement Zone. If a Blocker initiates engagement with a Jammer outside the Engagement Zone, the illegally engaged Jammer may counter-block and go unpenalized. Likewise if a Jammer illegally engages a Blocker outside the Engagement Zone that Blocker may counter-block and go unpenalized.

Today’s rule comes from the Out Of Play Penalties section. All too often when a Jammer is racing away from the pack, one of her opponents chases her to get one last chance to engage her. Very often, these chasing opponents leave the engagement zone right on the heels of the Jammer. If the chasing Blocker realizes they are out of play, and decide not to engage the Jammer, the Jammer may also not engage the Blocker, even if they feel threatened. However, if the Jammer decides to engage the out of play Blocker, the Blocker may counterblock legally. This is contrary to other parts of the rules, which explain that counterblocking is held to the same standards as blocking. However, this rule is an exception to all the other rules. To sum up, if a Jammer decides to block an out of play, they will receive an Out Of Play penalty, and the Blocker being engaged may counterblock legally.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/422654001106795

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

9.1.5.4 Scoreboard Operator: A game will have one scoreboard operator. The scoreboard operator posts the score from the scorekeeper and the penalties from the penalty tracker.

Today’s rule comes from the Non-Skating Officials (NSO) section. The Scoreboard Operator is considered an official in a game. While many scoreboard operators also operate the official period clock, and usually the official jam clock, doing so is not required by the rules. The primary responsibility of the scoreboard operator is to post the score from the scorekeeper. That means they should not be posting the score directly from the Jammer refs. Interestingly, this rule also says that the scoreboard operator posts the penalties from the penalty tracker. I have actually never seen this happen, nor heard of it happening, ever. In fact, I don’t know of a roller derby scoreboard program that has this ability. This rule has existed since version 2.1 of the WFTDA rules, so I can only imagine at some point the intent was for penalties to be posted visibly on the scoreboard.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/421678014537727

Friday, June 29, 2012

4.2.5 No rules govern inside/outside positioning. Blockers may line up in any order behind the Pivots.

Today’s rule continues my recent theme of rules I find interesting. This rule isn’t all that interesting with regards to what it explains. This rule has existed since version 1.0 of the rules, but was changed to its current wording in version 2.1. In version 3.0 the rules were changed to allow Blockers to line up any any fashion before pre-jam, rather than in a very specific formation. What I find interesting about this rule is that it allows for Blockers to line up in any order “behind the Pivots”. I find this interesting because 4.2.3 allows for the non-Pivot Blockers to line up ahead of the Pivots (while still requiring non-Pivots to be behind a Pivot’s hips if the Pivot is lined up on the Pivot line). So, the rules allow for the Blockers to line up ahead of the Pivots, but only mentions that they may line up in any order behind them. Now, this rule was written when Blockers were required to line up behind the Pivots. So, now that they may line up in front of the Pivots as well, it makes sense that this rule apply to Blockers lined up in front of the Pivots as well.


https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/419272921444903

Friday, June 22, 2012

4.1.2 When two or more groups of Blockers equal in number are on the track; are more than 10 feet from one another; and no single group meets the pack definition, no pack can be defined. Skaters will be issued a penalty for intentionally creating a no pack situation i.e. destroying the pack (see Section 6.10.2). Both teams are responsible for maintaining a legally defined pack. A skater or group of skaters is always responsible for the consequences of their actions. If their actions create a no pack situation (except those covered in Section 6.10.2.3), they should be penalized as directed in Sections 6.10.9–6.10.24.

Today’s rule is what defines the “no pack” situation (also called a no pack scenario) we are all becoming ever more used to seeing. 4.1.1 explains what defines a pack. This rule explains what happens when no such definition exists. Two or more groups of Blockers equal in number could be two groups of 4 Blockers; three groups of 2 Blockers; two groups of 3 Blockers; etc. Where this rule mentions no single group meeting the pack definition, that is again in reference to 4.1.1. If there are three groups of 2 Blockers on the track, and one group is 2 pink Blockers, another group is 2 black Blockers, and the third group is 1 pink and 1 black, that group is the pack. However, if the group of 1 pink and 1 black were instead 2 pink or 2 black, and all three groups are more than 10 feet from each other, then no single group would meet the definition of a pack, and no pack can be defined. That is why this is referred to as a “no pack scenario”, because it is a scenario in which there is simply no pack. If a team intentionally creates a no pack situation, they will receive a penalty for it. Pack destruction is only illegal if it meets the definition of illegal pack destruction, as outlined in section 6.10.2 and its subrules. Over the last couple of years the strategy of legally destroying the pack during a power jam has become commonly used. Section 6.10.2 also explains how a no pack scenario can happen legally, especially section 6.10.2.3, which is referenced in today’s rule. The rule finishes by referencing the rule sections that enumerate penalties to illegal pack destruction actions, which are contained among the rules from 6.10.9 to 6.10.24. Also contained within this rule is the requirement for both teams to maintain a legally defined pack. That is why teams are penalized for illegally destroying the pack.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/415646578474204

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6.2.7 Choking.

Today’s rule is another Blocking to the Head or High Blocking expulsion. This one shouldn’t take much explanation at all. Choking is not only unsafe, but it is akin to fighting (in fact, could even be considered fighting), which also results in an expulsion.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/415101851862010

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6.2.6 Pulling of the head, neck or helmet.

Continuing with a trend of expulsions, today’s rule is a Blocking to the Head or High Blocking expulsion. Contact above the shoulders is already unsafe, but pulling of the head, neck or helmet is very unsafe. While pulling the head, neck or helmet may be intentional, it is possible to be unintentional, yet still result in an expulsion. This is certainly one of those rules directly concerned with safety.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/414616238577238

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6.3.13 Kicking another skater.

Today’s rule is a Low Blocking expulsion. This rule doesn’t require much explanation. A kick is a kick. There are times when a skater’s leg may kick out and trip an opponent, and it would not be considered a kick, but rather just illegal contact with minor or major impact. Kicking another skater implies intent, which, in all other contact penalty sections, is the impact for an expulsion. Interestingly, this rule says kicking another “skater”, not kicking an “opponent”. It appears the rules deem kicking anyone to be unsafe enough for an expulsion, even if they are a teammate.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/412978115407717

Friday, June 15, 2012

6.3.12 Slide tackling an opponent.

Today’s rule is a Low Blocking expulsion. I have been told that in soccer it is legal to slide tackle and trip an opponent so long as the tackler is actively going for the ball. This is not true in derby. Partially due to the lack of ball (what, there’s no ball in derby?), and also because on skates, on a hard surface, slide tackling is incredibly unsafe. For those unsure of what a slide tackle is, it is when a skater slides feet first along the ground and trips an opponent. There is a difference between a skater falling feet first and tripping an opponent, and making a slide tackle, in that a slide tackle is done intentionally, which is why it is an expulsion.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/411900112182184

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2.4.4.2 Pivots and Blockers are considered in position and ready if they are in bounds when the first whistle of the jam blows (this is the whistle to start the pack rolling) (see Section 6.13.4). They are subject to false start penalties if they are not in position (see Section 6.13.5 and Section 6.13.16). Pivots are permitted to put on their helmet covers after the jam has started. However, each Pivot must have her helmet cover in hand before the jam starting whistle. A helmet cover cannot enter a jam in progress.

Today’s rule explains that Pivots and Blockers must be in position at the first whistle of a jam, the jam start whistle, or else they are subject to false start penalties. Oddly, this rule seems to contradict itself. What it says is that Pivots and Blockers are considered in position if they are in bounds at the first whistle, but will be penalized with false start penalties if they aren’t in position. That appears to make no sense. Oddly, this rule was worded differently from when it was first reworded to include “in position” in version 3.0 of the WFTDA rules. Up until the December 1, 2009 version of the rules this rule said that “Pivots and Blockers are considered in position and ready if they are on the track when the first whistle of the jam blows (this is the whistle to start the pack rolling) but are subject to false start penalties if they are not behind the Pivot line and in front of the Jammer line”.It was then changed to the current language. The part of this rule that mentions false start penalties references two sections, 6.13.5 and 6.13.6, which are the sections that explain false start penalties for Pivot Blockers and non-Pivot Blockers. Why I am confused about the change in language of this rule is because of what 6.13.5 and 6.13.6 say. Here’s an example: 6.13.5.2 A Non-Pivot Blocker false starts for being out of position at the pack starting whistle when she: 6.13.5.2.1 is touching on or beyond the Pivot line. According to 6.15.3.2.1, if a Blocker is touching beyond the Pivot line at the first whistle, she is considered out of position. However, today’s rule, 2.4.4.2, says that she is in position because she is in bounds. That’s where the contradiction exists. That being said, false start penalties exist to penalize skaters not lined up in the correct starting position, regardless of the confusing language in 2.4.4.2. Although it says that Pivots and Blockers are in position if they are on the track, they are technically only in position if they are in the correct starting position at the first whistle. If they are not in the correct starting position (as determined by 6.13.5 and 6.13.6) then they will receive false start penalties. Also, as part of this rule, it explains that a Pivot may put on her helmet cover after the jam has begun, so long as it is in her hand when the jam start whistle blows. If the Pivot helmet cover is not in the hands, or on the helmet, of a skater at the jam start whistle, then it is not considered in play and that team will not have a Pivot in that jam. If a Pivot cover has been thrown to a skater on the track, but is still in the air when the whistle has blown, it is still not considered in play, and may not enter play after the first whistle.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/410200865685442

Monday, June 11, 2012

2.5.2 Overtime is not a new period. Overtime is an extension of the final period.

In many sports overtime is considered a new period, quarter, or inning of play. In roller derby overtime is just an extension of the final period, otherwise known as the second half.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/409767469062115

Sunday, June 10, 2012

2.7.2 The penalty benches must be situated in an easily accessible, neutral area close to the track. Teams may use separate penalty boxes.

Today's rules explain where the penalty box, or boxes, may be located. By "easily accessible, neutral area close to the track", the rules have left leagues open to locating the box where their venue permits. Most leagues tend to use a penalty box located between the team benches along the front straightaway (where the Pivot and Jammer lines are). Some venues have the box located on a turn. Others have the box on the inside of the track. If the rules were to be very specific on penalty box location then some leagues would not be able to use their venues. The reason the rules specify a neutral location is to prevent one team from having an advantage over another, such as being able to communicate with skaters in the box if the other team's bench is too far away. Interestingly, this rule allows teams to use separate benches. I can't say for sure, because I've never seen this happen, nor have I ever discussed this option with anyone ever, but my personal assumption is that, again, this allows for venue considerations. Meaning, if a venue is so small that team benches are in the corners on turns 1 and 4, for example, the penalty boxes may be located in the other corners, turns 2 and 3. There's the possibility that the penalty boxes may be located on the inside of the track, with one box on either end of the infield, with NSOs in between. There's all sorts of scenarios and I can only imagine that is why this consideration exists in the rules.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/409189935786535

Friday, June 1, 2012

10.2.2 Captains are responsible for supplying medical personnel with their skaters’ medical and/or emergency contact information as necessary.

Today’s rule makes it to the responsibility of team captains to provide the medical personnel with information in case of emergency. I wouldn’t be surprised if 95% of skaters who have been a captain don’t know this rule exists. Even I have forgotten about this when I have been captain of my team. Of course, while this rule may work just fine when bouts are between two established teams, it gets a little tricky during invitationals, open scrimmages, drop-ins, or any other form of game play that follows the WFTDA rules. Sometimes you show up at an open scrimmage and there either is no captain, or captains are established that day. There’s many similar situations where the captain would not have everyone’s medical and/or emergency contact information. In those cases, so long as the information is available, then the purpose of this rule is satisfied. After all, so long as every skater’s medical and/or emergency contact information is readily available if required, it shouldn’t make a difference if it was provided by the captains, coaches, event organizers, etc. That being said, if you are a captain for the team you regularly play/practice with, it is a good idea to ensure your team’s medical and/or emergency contact info is available with short notice, either by having that information yourself, or asking your league’s bout organizers or interleague coordinators if they take care of it. Chances are, this information has always been readily available, and has been taken care of by someone other than the team captains.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/404036326301896

Thursday, May 31, 2012

10.2.1 The home team must provide at least two licensed or certified medical professionals with expertise in emergency and urgent medical care. These medical professionals will supply the necessary equipment and supplies to handle such injuries or conditions as can be reasonably expected to occur at a roller derby bout. The medical professionals will be present during the entire warm up and game.

I’m sure everyone knows that medics are present at every bout they skate in. What I’m curious about is how many people knew that was spelled out in the rules. Considering that part of the main focus of the rules is safety, it makes sense that this rule exists. It does not require the medical professionals to be doctors, EMTs, sports trainers, or any other such position. So long as the personnel are licensed or certified medical professionals, then they meet the requirements of the rules. Sometimes a league may bout in a venue or hold insurance that requires more specific medical personnel. That is something to be dealt with as each situation arises. However, any medical personnel required by a venue contract or insurance policy must be licensed or certified to meet the requirements of the rules. All the medical personnel must be present during the game, per this rule. That means if a skater is injured, and one of the medical professionals is tending to them in a hallway, concourse, outside, or any other part of a venue that isn’t on or near the track, the game must wait until they return. An EMT in the hallway of an arena is not an EMT present during a game. Medical professionals need to respond to any accidents that occur on the track. That is why sometimes during bouts where an injury occurs, there may be a lengthy Official Timeout before play may continue, while the referees wait for the missing medical professional(s) to return. Interestingly, this rule also requires the medical professionals to present during the entire warm up. I find this part interesting because the rules only reach outside of the confines of regulation play (from the first whistle of the game to the last). I find this odd, because the rules are to be enforced by the referees. However, referees may not even be present during a team’s warm up, and therefore it is difficult for referees to enforce this part of the rule. That being said, it is a rule, and leagues should be ensuring that medical professionals are present during team warm ups.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/403493789689483

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

9.2.7.1.2 A team refuses to field skaters on the track to continue play.

Today’s rule is the second subrule of 9.2.7.1, which explains when a head referee may call a forfeit. It is the second of only two subrules, the first having been covered yesterday. This rule is the one most commonly referred to during discussions of a team failing to field any Blockers on the track at the start of a jam. This is a situation that many people have asked about, but has no direct penalty enumerated in the rules. Even if a team fields just a Jammer in a jam, they are required to field at least one Blocker so that a pack may exist, per 4.1.1.3: 4.1.1.3 In order to form a pack, a team must have at least one Blocker on the track at all times. If at least one Blocker is not on the track from both teams, then play may not continue. Another requirement to play is that there exists at least one Jammer in the jam, since 7.4 includes several different rules that direct the referees to call off the jam if both Jammers are off the track, except in very specific situations. If the presence of Jammers on the track or in the penalty box meets the exception scenarios in 7.4, then play may continue. Otherwise, the absence of at least one Jammer would mean that play may not continue. At the point where play may not continue, and a jam is forced to be called off due to the absence of the required skaters to allow play to continue, today’s rule may come into play. There are actually various approaches I have seen discussed regarding this situation, so for posterity I will mention them all, and then explain which I prefer, and why. Every approach begins with the jam being started, and then immediately being called off, due to the lack of the minimum required skaters to continue play. They also all end with a warning that a forfeit may be called should the team fail to field enough skaters to continue play again. 1) Because the jam was forced to be called off, issue the active Pivot a major penalty (or the captain in the absence of an active Pivot), similar to issuing a penalty when a jam is called due to being unable to remove an extra skater. 2) Since the jam was called, and another 30 seconds must elapse before the next jam may start, take a timeout from the offending team, as they have effectively forced an extra timeout without penalty. 3) After the jam is called, call an official timeout, issue the forfeit warning, then start the next jam promptly. While many may feel as if approach 1 and/or 2 seem an appropriate response to the action, the rules actually don’t support either. In approach 1, a major is issued, however there is no penalty enumerated for this particular situation, thus one can’t be made up on the spot. Regarding approach 2, the rules are very clear about how a team takes a timeout, and when they may do so. If the referees stop a jam because of inability to continue play, that is different than a team calling a timeout with the required hand signal, by the required personnel (the captain or designated alternate), or at the allowed time (between jams). My personal preference is approach 3. Although it seems as if the offending team is going unpenalized, that is because they effectively are. The rules do not have a penalty or really a rule to penalize or disadvantage a team that has caused a jam to be called off due to inability to continue play. However, as soon as the jam is called, as head referee, I would go straight to the captain and/or designated alternate for that team and explain that any further failure to field enough skaters to continue play would be considered their refusal, and I would then call a forfeit. This approach may not seem “right” to some people, but it is supported by the rules, and the rules are what govern us. If anyone else has another approach that I didn’t mention, I would like to hear what it is. After all, because this situation isn’t addressed by the rules, there may not be one appropriate approach to deal with the situation.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/402863256419203

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

9.2.7.1.1 A team has five or fewer un-injured rostered skaters remaining due to expulsions.

Today’s rule is the first subrule of 9.2.7.1, which explains when the head referee may call a forfeit. In the situation presented in this rule, the assumption is that a team has started a game with at least six skaters, and have had their team whittled down to five or less due to skaters being expelled. Contrary to how some first look at this rule, it does not apply to team who have lost skaters due to injury. It deals specifically with loss of skaters from a team due to expulsion. While I can only conjecture, I believe that this rule was created as a safety measure. If a team has lost enough skaters to have five or fewer left on their bench due to expulsion, that generally means that team is skating unsafe enough to receive that many expulsions. Certainly, this conjecture relies on the assumption that a team has started with 14 skaters and that the expelled skaters were penalized for major safety violations rather than other violations, such as Insubordination or Gross Misconduct for inappropriate language directed at the wrong place. Certainly, a team may begin with seven skaters, and two may be expelled for excessively cursing at officials or fans, but my assumption is a safe starting point. If a team is losing many skaters due to safety concerns, it makes sense that the rules would include a threshold at which the head referee is given the authority to call a forfeit to prevent further expulsion-worthy safety violations. Now, since there is the possibility for scenarios other than my assumed “typical” scenario, it seems that is why this rule is included in the “may call a forfeit” section and not the “must call a forfeit” section. The decision to call a forfeit would rest with the head referee. If the head ref feels that the team with five or fewer skaters left due to expulsions has presented a safety risk, the decision to call a forfeit for that team is justified by the rules. If they decide not to call a forfeit, for whatever reason, then that decision is also justified by the rules.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/402237409815121

Thursday, May 24, 2012

9.2.7.1 The Head Referee may call a forfeit for the following reasons:

Today's rule comes from section 9.2.7 Declaring a Forfeit. This rule has two subrules that explain when the head referee may call a forfeit. Note that this says "may", which means that they don't have to. A different rule says "must". I will cover the two subrules as the next two Rules of the Day.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/399370803435115

Monday, May 14, 2012

4.3.3.2.3 Any skater who re-enters the Engagement Zone in an illegal manner, such as lapping the pack or allowing the pack to lap her after a fall, is subject to penalties (see Section 6.10.15 and Section 6.10.16).

Following in the wake of last week’s rules about reentering the engagement zone legally, today’s rule explains what I have already mentioned a few times in the explanations last week, that any skater who reenters the engagement illegally will be penalized appropriately. 6.10.15 is a penalty for a skater who leaves the engagement zone from the rear and reenters from the front, having been lapped by the pack. 6.10.16 is a penalty for a skater who leaves the engagement zone from the front and reenters from the rear, having lapped the pack. Both of these penalties are minor Out Of Play penalties.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/392971357408393

Friday, May 11, 2012

4.3.3.2.2 To regain position in the pack after having fallen behind or recovering from a fall, a skater must catch up to the back of the pack by skating within the track boundaries to be considered back in play.

Just like yesterday, today’s rule is a subrule of 4.3.3.2, which requires out of play skaters to reenter the engagement zone the opposite way she left. It was asked on Wednesday how that can be, since a skater who leaves from the front of the engagement zone must return to the front of the engagement zone. This rule makes it a little more clear. If a player goes out of play by slowing down (which would be behind the engagement zone) then the opposite of slowing down is sprinting, which is how she must reenter the engagement zone.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/391189107586618

Thursday, May 10, 2012

4.3.3.2.1 If the player sprinted forward of the Engagement Zone, she must drop back to be considered in play.

Today’s rule is subrule of 4.3.3.2, which requires out of play skaters to reenter the engagement zone the opposite way she left. It was asked yesterday how that can be, since a skater who leaves from the front of the engagement zone must return to the engagement zone. This rule makes it a little more clear. If a player goes out of play by sprinting (which would be forward ahead of the engagement zone) then the opposite of sprinting is slowing down and possibly stopping, which is how she must reenter the engagement zone.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/390636010975261

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

4.3.3.2 A skater who is out of play must re-enter the Engagement Zone in the opposite way she left.

Today’s rule is really pretty simple. It even has two subrules that make it even more simple to understand. I almost feel like posting the two subrules would be a waste of time, but I may just post them anyway, as they are rules after all. The idea here is that if you skate ahead of the pack and leave the engagement zone from the front, you must reenter the engagement zone from the front. If you drop back and leave the engagement zone from the rear, you must reenter the engagement zone from the rear. While this rule is easy to understand, in its application, its existence is important in a way that some people may not consider. If a skater didn’t have to reenter the engagement zone from the way they left, they would be able to just skate around the track anytime they wanted to, completely lapping the pack. This sets up the possibility for a Blocker being passed by a Jammer at the front of the pack, then following the Jammer all the way around to the back of the pack and stopping there. The Jammer would then pass through the pack, but only pass the other three Blockers on that team, as the Blocker that followed the Jammer was behind her the whole time and not passed on that scoring pass. That would be a way for a Blocker to prevent a point for the opposing team by doing pretty much nothing. There are many rules in place to prevent just such an incident from happening, such as the Not On The Track points rules. This is one such rule, that prevents Blockers from preventing being scored on without having to physically stop the Jammer from passing them. If a Blocker reenters the pack from the opposite direction than she left, she will be given a penalty. 6.10.14 A Blocker re-entering the pack from behind, having lapped the pack. A penalty must be applied to each offending Blocker (see Section 4.3.3). 6.10.15 A Blocker re-entering the pack from the front, having fallen behind the pack. A penalty must be applied to each offending Blocker (see Section 4.3.3 and Section 8.3 and Section 8.4). Although there are penalties for such an action, skaters who have left the engagement zone must immediately attempt to reenter or else be given a minor Out Of Play penalty, followed by a major for sustained failure to reenter the engagement zone. If a skater has fallen behind the pack and is attempting to skate forward, but is just slow enough that she gets lapped by the pack, she would receive only the minor Out Of Play penalty outlined in 6.10.15. If a skater skates ahead of the engagement zone, to attempt to reenter she must slow down, and possibly eventually stop. If she continues to skate forward then that would be a sustained failure to reenter, and she should be given a major Out Of Play penalty before she has a chance to reenter the engagement zone from the rear. However, for whatever reason, if she is not given an Out Of Play major, and she makes it all the around the track and reenters the engagement zone from the rear, having left it from the front, then she would be given a minor OOP penalty as outlined in 6.10.14.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/390101194362076

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4.3.3.1 A skater who is more than twenty (20) feet in front of or behind the pack may receive an out of play warning by a referee; however, a referee is not required to issue a warning prior to giving a penalty. Once out of play, a skater must yield the right of way to the opposing Jammer by physically moving out of the Jammer’s path. Any engagement, including passive/positional blocking, can result in a penalty (see Section 6.10 Out of Play Penalties).

Today’s rule was alluded to in the explanation of yesterday’s rule. If a skater is outside of the engagement zone she must speed up or slow down to re-enter the engagement zone, as she is out of play. Once she is out of play, she may be penalized if she doesn’t immediately attempt to re-enter the engagement zone. In most cases, skaters who are out of play may be given a warning by the referees, which is a hand signal accompanied by an “out of play” verbal cue. This warning is highly recommended for referees to issue, however it is expressly not required for them to give before issuing a penalty. In cases where a skater leaves the engagement zone and does not contact an opponent, or assist a teammate, a referees is very likely to give a warning before issuing an Out Of Play penalty. However, in cases where a skater goes out of play and performs an illegal out of play action, a referee may choose to issue a penalty without a warning first. The reason why warnings are optional is because being out of play is illegal, regardless of whether a referee gives a warning or not. So, if a skater commits an out of play action that has major impact, such as hitting a Jammer out of bounds while out of play, then it is very difficult to justify not issuing a penalty just because a referee hadn’t given a warning first. Thus, penalties take precedence over warnings, but referees are trained to try and give warnings in all scenarios first, if possible. The latter part of this rule explains what a Blocker must do, and may not do, while out of play. Once a skater is out of play she may not engage in any way, as she is not in the engagement zone. If an out of play skater is in front of the opposing Jammer, she must yield the right of way to her, or else she may be issued an Out Of Play penalty. Contrary to common practice, throwing one’s hands up in the air does not constitute yielding to the opposing Jammer. The Blocker must make a physical effort to yield the right of way. In most cases, this requires the skater to step to the side to let the Jammer through. Something that has been asked of me several times before is, “what if the out of play skater steps to the side and is in the way of the opposing Jammer who is also stepping to the side?”. Unfortunately, the answer to this is not particularly straightforward, so what I personally have gone by is that if the skater who steps into the way of the Jammer appears to be doing so intentionally, I would issue her an Out Of Play penalty. If she appears to legitimately be doing so to get out of the way of the Jammer behind her, then I would assume legal intent, as instructed by the rules (9.3.3). Just as there is a difference between immediately attempting to re-enter the engagement zone or reform a pack, and pretending to re-enter or reform, there is also a difference between yielding right of way and pretending to yield right of way. Much like a lot of actions that may happen in a game, this is one of those judgment calls that referees learn to make properly. The last part of the rules explains that any engagement while out of play will earn a skater an Out Of Play penalty. Engagement includes initiating contact, as well as positional blocking. If a skater is out of play and impeding another skater from in front, she is performing an illegal out of play positional block. Out Of Play penalties are issued based on impact. What must be mentioned is that while this rule references a “skater” being out of play, it mainly refers to Blockers, since Jammers are not considered out of play when they are out of the engagement zone. That being said, if a Blocker is out of play, they may not be engaged by a Jammer. So, if a Blocker is out of play and does not yield the right of way to the opposing Jammer, the Jammer may not engage the Blocker in her way.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/389475837757945

Monday, May 7, 2012

4.3.3 Blockers who are out of play must slow or speed up to re-enter the Engagement Zone.

Blockers who are out of the Engagement Zone are, by definition, out of play. Being outside the engagement zone means being on the track, more than 20 feet from the nearest pack skater. There’s been plenty rules covering what the pack is, which can be found on the Rule of the Day archive, so I won’t cover that here. If a skater is out of play outside the engagement zone, she must return to play immediately, either by speeding up if they are behind the pack, or slowing down if they are in front of it. If they do not do so, they may be given a penalty by the referees, which may or may not be preceded by a verbal “out of play” warning accompanied by a hand signal. The penalty a skater would be given is an Out Of Play penalty, but the referee would use the appropriate verbal cue of “failure to re-enter” which explains that the penalty is for the skater failing to immediately attempt to re-enter the engagement zone. Warnings are optional, and may not necessarily be relied upon. Skaters need to know what 20 feet from the pack looks like just as much as referees, and be responsible for their own position in and out of the engagement zone. Of course, Out Of Play penalties being issued before warnings tend to happen mostly when an out of play block is made. Penalties for failure to re-enter will likely come after a warning.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/388876157817913

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

6.10.2.4 When no single skater or team can be clearly found responsible for illegally destroying the pack, no penalty for illegally destroying the pack shall be enforced, however skaters and teams are still responsible for immediately reforming a pack (see Section 6.10.7, Section 6.10.12, and Section 6.10.20).

Following up all the rules that explain when to issue illegal destruction of the pack penalties (and the exceptions), today’s rule explains that when a penalty for illegal destruction should be issued, but no single skater can be found clearly responsible, no penalty will be given. What the rules mean by single skater is that it must be absolutely clear that one person destroyed the pack. If two skaters are hitting the brakes at the same time and the pack is destroyed, and the referees are unsure which of them was actually responsible for the destruction, no penalty is issued. If one team is racing forward, while the other team is slowing down quickly, and the pack is destroyed, no penalty is given. Illegal destruction Out Of Play penalties may only be given to one skater, not multiple skaters. Again, the rules remind that both teams are responsible for reforming the pack, and both teams can be issued failure to reform Out Of Play penalties if both don’t immediately attempt to reform the pack.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/384158728289656

Thursday, April 26, 2012

6.10.2.2 A skater or groups of skaters are always responsible for the consequences of their actions. If their actions create a no pack situation (excepting those covered in Section 6.10.2.3 and Section 6.10.2.1.2) they must be penalized as directed in Sections 6.10.9–6.10.22. When determining responsibility of a no pack situation, per Section 4.1.2 and Section 6.10.2, both teams are responsible for maintaining a legally defined pack.

Today’s rule continues on with the theme of illegal destruction. It really reiterates what has previously been said in 6.10.2.1. However, it includes a couple of references to rules that allow for destruction of the pack to go unpenalized when it would otherwise be illegal destruction. The first is 6.10.2.1.2, which allows one team to take off at the jam start whistle while the other team stays still, breaking the pack. The other is 6.10.2.3, which allows a skater to break the pack by blocking an opponent. In both cases, no penalty is issued for the destruction. This rule goes on to mention, again, that both teams are responsible for maintaining a legally defined pack. Again, this means that, regardless of who has destroyed the pack, and whether it was legal or illegal, both teams must reform the pack, and both teams may be penalized for not doing so.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/380507528654776

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

6.4.5 Elbows may not be used to hook an opposing skater in any way (e.g. by wrapping one’s arm around an opponent’s arm).

Part of the Use of Elbows section, today's rule explains that hooking one's arm around an opponent is illegal. The example mentions hooking an opponent's arm, however hooking an opponent's leg around the upper thigh is just as illegal. Hooking other target zones may result in different penalties appropriately. Hooking below the mid thigh may result in a low block, while hooking above the shoulders will result in a high block.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/369255149780014

Monday, April 2, 2012

4.1.1.3 In order to form a pack, a team must have at least one Blocker on the track at all times.

his rule makes a lot of sense. Without a pack there is no engagement zone. Without an engagement zone nobody may engage. That means that if one team has 4 Blockers on the track, and the other team were to have none, the team with all Blockers would not be able to engage their opposing Jammer. It would ruin derby. Therefore, there must always be one Blocker on the track from each team at all times.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/363815090324020