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.