Friday, March 30, 2012

3.6.4 The Pivot’s helmet cover must have a single, solid stripe a minimum of two inches wide running from front to back. Helmet cover base color and stripe must be of high contrast and easily identifiable.

Today’s rule covers the Pivot helmet cover. It has a single stripe, which runs from the front of the cover to the back. It must be at least two inches wide. There is no stated maximum width, however, once a stripe gets too wide, it becomes the base color of the helmet cover, as it will make up more than half of the helmet cover surface area. In my own experience I have yet to see a Pivot stripe that was wider than 4 inches. It must be noted that this rule requires the stripe on the helmet cover to run front to back, but says nothing about the stripe running front to back on the helmet itself. This rule always includes a requirement for the helmet cover base color and the color of the stripe itself to be of high contrast. As has been discussed several times in the comments of past rules posts, high contrast does not necessarily mean two different colors entirely, but rather colors with noticeably different color values.

If you look at the colors in the above linked image, you’ll notice that colors in each row may be different but aren’t of high contrast. A helmet cover with the base color of green from one row and a stripe of blue from the same row may not be of high contrast, yet a stripe of blue from a row two above or two below would be much higher contrast.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3.6.2 A team’s helmet covers are easily identifiable if they can be readily distinguished by Officials, other players, and fans from the helmets of the Blockers on the track. Blockers’ helmets may be of the same color as the base color of a team’s helmet covers.

Today’s rule seems like it might contradict itself. On one hand, it says that a team’s helmet covers must be readily distinguishable from the team’s helmets. However, it then says that the helmets may be of the same color of the base color of the helmet cover. How can a team’s helmet covers be distinguishable from their helmets if the base color is the same as the helmet color? By the stripes and stars on the helmet covers being of high contrast to the base color of the helmet cover, which is a requirement anyway (3.6.1).

That being said, a recent WFTDA Publication requires that a team have a second set of helmet covers, in case a team’s helmets have a design on them that may be confused for the stars or stripes on the helmet covers. That means a team may have white helmets with helmet covers that have a white base and red stars and stripes. However, if the helmets have a red logo on the side, then their opponent may ask that they use a second set of helmet covers, for example a set with a base color of red, and white stars and stripes. The Publication can be found at:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 Being removed from play due to a penalty.

A subrule of 3.4.7, today's rule is the second way that the Lead Jammer can forfeit her Lead status. This includes the Lead Jammer receiving a major penalty, or a 4th minor penalty, and being sent to the box. This also includes being expelled, which is why the rule says "being removed from play" and not being sent to the penalty box, as expelled players may be sent to their locker room or staging area. Contrary to a comment made on this page last week, once Lead Jammer status is forfeited, it remains so for the rest of that jam. A Jammer who has forfeited Lead status does not regain Lead status when she returns from the penalty box.

Monday, March 26, 2012 Removing her helmet cover for any reason.

A subrule of 3.4.7, today’s rule is one of the two ways that a Jammer who has been declared Lead forfeits the Lead Jammer status. Once Lead status is forfeited, it remains forfeited for the remainder of that jam. That means that if the Lead Jammer removes her helmet cover, she is no longer Lead, even if she returns the helmet cover to her helmet. The only exception to this is if the helmet cover is removed by an opponent’s actions, per 3.4.6. Also, thanks to the wording of 3.4.6, the Lead Jammer forfeits Lead status even if she didn’t remove the helmet cover herself. If she put the helmet cover on incorrectly and it popped off on its own, she would still forfeit Lead status.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3.4.7 Once a Jammer has been declared Lead Jammer, she retains Lead Jammer status for the duration of the jam unless she forfeits the status by:

Today's explains that there are very specific circumstances by which a Jammer can lose Lead status. Outside of these circumstances, the Lead Jammer retains that status until the jam clock runs out, she calls off the jam, an Official Timeout is called, or for any other reason the jam ends.

This is the rule I have heard quoted to explain why a Jammer who has been incorrectly declared Lead should not be "undeclared". Doing so would go outside the two circumstances which follow as subrules of this rule (to be covered the next couple days). The truth is that a Jammer who has been incorrectly declared Lead is not actually Lead Jammer. A referee signaling a Jammer as Lead does not make her the Lead Jammer. Lead Jammer is the Jammer who meets the requirements set forth in 3.4.1. So if the second Jammer through the pack is declared Lead after the first had already been declared Lead, the jam ref following the second Jammer may stop signaling Lead after the mistake is discovered. Since the second Jammer was not the first to meet the requirements of 3.4.1 then she is not actually Lead. The referee hand signal is used to identify which Jammer is Lead, but does not, on it's own, make a Jammer the Lead Jammer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3.4.6 The Lead Jammer is the only skater who has the privilege of calling off (ending) the jam prior to the expiration of the full two minutes. She may call off the jam at any time after her position has been established, unless she has been removed from the jam due to a penalty or her helmet cover has been removed. If the helmet cover is removed by an opponent’s action, the Jammer may replace the helmet cover and regain Lead Jammer status. She calls off the jam by repeatedly placing both hands on her hips until the referee whistles the end of the jam. The jam is not over until the referee officially calls off the jam. If there is no Lead Jammer, the jam will run until the full two-minute time limit expires.

Today's rule clarifies a question that has been asked of me many times regarding losing Lead Jammer status, and getting it back. says that one of the two ways a Jammer can lose Lead status is by removing her helmet cover. 3.4.6 explains that any removal of the Jammer helmet cover, except for removal by an opponent, makes a Jammer lose Lead status. That means is a Jammer puts it on incorrectly and it falls off her helmet, she is no longer Lead. If a teammate knocks it off by accident, she is no longer Lead. The only way a Jammer can regain Lead status is if an opponent's action removes the helmet cover (either a direct intentional removal or a block gone wrong, for example) and the Jammer replaces the helmet cover.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3.4.4 If the first Jammer to emerge from the pack does not earn Lead Jammer status on her initial pass through the pack, the second Jammer is eligible to become Lead Jammer, provided that she meets the specified requirements. If the second skater also fails to earn Lead Jammer status on her initial pass through the pack, there will be no Lead Jammer for that jam.

According to 3.4.1, the Lead Jammer is the first Jammer to meet the requirements to become Lead. If the first Jammer to make it through the pack does not meet the requirements, then the second Jammer through the pack has the chance to be the first to meet the requirements. If neither Jammer meets the requirements to become Lead Jammer, and both end their initial pass by skating more than 20 feet ahead of the pack, then there will be no Lead Jammer for the jam, and the jam will run a full two minutes.

Note, the wording of 3.4.4 is the same as 3.4.1, that Lead Jammer is the first to meet the Lead Jammer requirements. That means if one Jammer becomes Lead, and then loses Lead Jammer status - by either going to the penalty box or removing her helmet cover - then the next Jammer to meet the requirements would not be first; she would be second. The second Jammer to meet the requirements is not able to be Lead. Only the first may be Lead.

Monday, March 19, 2012

3.4.3 A pass is determined by the skaters’ hips.

Today's rule exists in a couple spots in the rules. This particular rule comes from the Lead Jammer section. Just as with scoring passes, during a Jammer's initial pass she is trying to gain Lead Jammer status by passing Blockers. These passes are determined by the Jammer's hips passing the Blockers' hips.

Friday, March 16, 2012 Skaters who are not part of the pack as illustrated in Figure 1 - In/Out of Play Example, but are still in play, may block and assist.

The engagement zone is mentioned quite a lot in the rules, and in rules explanations. The engagement zone is the area on the track where skaters are considered in play, and may legally engage opponents and assist teammates. It extends 20 feet from the front of the pack to 20 feet from the back of the pack. Since pack skaters must be in proximity, meaning within 10 feet of another pack skater, a skater may be in play while not in the pack. This illustration shows how that works.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 Skaters who are out of play may not assist their Jammer or other teammates.

Today’s rule makes it illegal for skaters to assist their Jammer or other teammates while they are out of bounds, out of the engagement zone, or down. Of course, Jammers are not typically held to the same standards as Blockers while out of the engagement zone, but it is impossible for them to assist themselves. Another point to note, the rules define an assist as “Helping a teammate improve her position by giving her a push or whip.” So, if a skater falls behind the pack and goes out of play, and lifts a fallen teammate off the ground, this is not, by definition, an assist.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 Skaters who are out of play may not engage the opposing Jammer or block any opposing players.

Today's rule goes into the category of rules that seem contradictory to other rules, but really aren't. Because of the use of the word "skaters" this rule makes it clear that nobody may engage their opposing Jammer while out of the engagement zone. This is actually not true, as 4.3.4 makes it clear that Jammers may engage each other anywhere on the track, even outside of the engagement zone. This is because today's rule specifically says "who are out of play". According to the Glossary definition of Out Of Play, only Blockers are out of play outside of the engagement zone, while Jammers are out of play when they are touching out of bounds. Of course, all skaters are out of play when they are down.

Monday, March 12, 2012

4.3.2 In Play/Out of Play: When a Blocker is positioned more than twenty (20) feet outside the pack or out of bounds, she is out of play and subject to penalties specified in Section 6.10 Out of Play Penalties.

As has been mentioned before during other rules discussions, a skater is considered in play of they are upright and within the engagement zone. A skater does not need to be moving counterclockwise to be in play; a clockwise skating skater in the engagement zone is still in play. Skaters who are outside the engagement zone (more than 20 feet ahead of, or behind, the pack) or out of bounds may receive Out Of Play penalties for blocks and assists made while out of play. Out Of Play penalties for blocks made while out of play would only apply to blocks made outside the engagement zone while on the track. Blocks made while out of bounds are penalized by the Out Of Bounds Blocking section. Assists made to or by out of bounds skaters are penalized by the Out Of Play penalties section.

Friday, March 9, 2012 The mid and upper thigh (including the inner portion)

This is the last of the legal blocking zones, parts of the body with which skaters may use to legally engage opponents. Like the corresponding legal target zone, this blocking zone ends at the mid thigh. That means the knee is not part of a legal blocking zone. Any blocks made with the knee should be considered illegal and penalized based on impact. As mentioned yesterday, the pelvic area is a legal blocking zone. I put that area in with "the hips", however one could argue that the pelvic area belongs with the inner portion of the upper thigh. Either way works. Regardless of which area of the body it is included with, the pelvic area is a legal blocking zone, thus allowing "crotch bumps" to be made to legal target zones.

Thursday, March 8, 2012 The hips and booty

This is the third legal blocking zone, places on the body with which skaters may legally engage opponents. Much like the torso, the entirety of the hips and booty are a legal blocking zone, including the back of the booty, which is also an illegal target zone. That means that skaters may not be blocked to the back of the booty, but may use that area to block with. While it isn't expressly included, the pelvic area is also included as part of "the hips". Blocks used by pushing the pelvis forward, sometimes known as a "crotch bump" are legal, if contact is made with a legal target zone. Where skaters usually get in trouble with this type of block is when they crotch bump into the back of an opponent. Unfortunately, this also commonly happens when skaters are trying to avoid back blocking penalties.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 The torso

This is the second of the legal blocking zones, places on a skater's body which they may use to make legal contact with opponents. The torso includes everything from a skaters hips up to her shoulders, and includes the front, back and sides. This means that, while contact may not be made to a skater's back, it may be made with a skater's back.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 The arm from the shoulder to the elbow

Today’s rule is one of the legal blocking zones, parts of the body that skaters may use to legally engage opponents. This blocking zone may be confusing to some, since forearms and hands have their own penalty section, but so do elbows, yet elbows are included as a legal blocking zone. That is because elbow may actually be used while blocking. There are, of course, rules governing how the elbow may not be used, and these include swinging the blow back and forth, swinging the elbow up and down, and using exclusively the point of the elbow. Otherwise, if the elbow makes contact during a legal block, it is part of a legal blocking zone.

Monday, March 5, 2012

5.2.3 Legal Blocking Zones Apply to the body parts of the skater performing a block. Skaters may initiate contact with the following parts of the body:

Previously, I have covered legal and illegal target zones. Those are areas of the body where a block may or may not be made to. Over the next week I will be covering Legal Blocking Zones, which are areas on the body a skater may block with. Of course, even if a skater uses a legal blocking zone, they must engage to a legal target zone to avoid penalties. Contact from a legal blocking zone to a legal target zone is always legal.