Friday, August 31, 2012 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, 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, 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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012 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 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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 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, 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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.