Monday, July 29, 2013

6.13.33 Removing required safety equipment (see Section 7.2.7 and Section 10.1.1).

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. This penalty is issued to skaters who remove the safety equipment they are required to wear during a jam. This includes a skater's knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet, and mouth guard. The reference to 7.2.7 in this rule allows a skater to remove their mouth guard when they are seated in the penalty box, but at no other time while in a jam. If a skater is having an equipment malfunction, they are allowed to leave the track to correct it, and return legally to the jam, per 10.3.3.

This rule is the one that is responsible for most Illegal Procedure penalties issued during a jam. It is issued with the verbal cue "Equipment violation". Most usually, this penalty is issued when a skater's mouth guard is removed. This is often a point of contention with skaters, as they don't believe their mouth guard was removed, since it stayed in their mouth. However, it has become the consensus of referees worldwide that a mouth guard must be seated on the teeth to be considered in. After all, if a skater is wearing an elbow pad on their forearm, it isn't being worn correctly, and is an equipment violation. The same goes for a mouth guard. If it isn't seated on the teeth, then it isn't being worn correctly.

Full disclosure, I have personally been guilty of this particular penalty twice myself, by skating in a jam with my mouth guard stuck in my helmet. Oops.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Standing - A skater who is upright holding their body weight on their skates. When a skater is told to stand in the Penalty Box, the skater must stand fully erect and cannot maintain a crouched or hovering position over the seat. It must be clear to all Officials and spectators that the box seat is now available for another skater to occupy.

Today's rule comes from the Glossary. It is the definition of "Standing". This Glossary definition has been updated in this version of the rules. It may seem odd for the rules of a sport to define what standing is. However, there has become a need for this definition. Rule 7.2.4.1 says that when a skater has ten seconds left in their penalty time they will be instructed to stand by the penalty timer. They are require to stand, and their penalty clock will stop until they are standing, per 7.2.4.1.1. Unfortunately, many skaters weren't standing, as this Glossary definition explains, but were rather crouching or hovering over their penalty box seat. The purpose of having skater stand with ten second left is not to prepare them for exiting the penalty box. There are several reasons for a skater standing when their time is almost up. A skater standing in the penalty box signals to the referees that there is a spot open in the box, in the case of a skater having been waved off from a full box. If there is a skater waiting in queue to return to the box, they will be sent back to the penalty box when one of their teammates is standing. A crouching skater will prevent the referees from sending a skater in queue. As well, if a skater enters a full penalty box while their teammate is standing, they will be held in the box since that seat is now considered free. This rule was updated to explain that crouching and hovering is not considered standing so that there are no more arguments between teams and officials in cases where skaters are told their time is stopped until they stand, and they believe they are already standing.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

6.10.13.4 During a no-pack scenario, if all of one team is out of bounds, the team on the track must skate forward, accelerating until they are sprinting, a pack has reformed, or a member of the opposing team may legally return to the track behind them.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows another rule which explains what skaters must do to reform a pack when it is destroyed. It is a new rule in this version of the rules. Previously, there was little to no guidance in the rules for skaters to know how to reform a pack when there was a no pack scenario. This rule is one of four new rules that helps give some guidance. In the case of today's rule, the situation is that all of one team is on the track and all of another team is off the track. Now, this isn't as straight forward as it seems. It doesn't necessarily mean four blockers from one team off the track and four blockers from the other team on the track, although that would certainly meet this definition. A more common scenario would be three of four blockers from one team on the track, and one blocker from the other off the track. This would likely happen during a power jam for the team with more blockers, and the defending team with two skaters in the box and the other on the way. Certainly, there are many other scenarios that would meet this rule's definition. I'm going to use the four and one scenario to explain the rule.

If the black team is one a power jam and has all their blockers on the track, and the white team has two blockers and a jammer in the box with a blocker on their way to the box, and the black blockers hit the white blocker out of bounds, there will no longer be a pack. In this example if the black team were to back up to force the white blocker to return behind them, then the no pack scenario would be sustained until the white blocker could get back on the track. What this rule does is it forces the black team to accelerate forward up to sprinting under the entire black team on the track is ahead of the white blocker so the white blocker may return to the track legally. If the black team is already ahead of the out of bounds white blocker, then they must stay ahead of the white blocker until they have returned to the track. My interpretation of the rule is that they may not accelerate if the white blocker may return behind them, until the white blocker is back in bounds. This would prevent the black team from sprinting away ahead of the white blocker, also sustaining the no pack scenario. In essence, this rule prevents the team on the track from keeping the pack destroyed. It requires them to allow the team off the track to return to the track and reform the pack.

If all of the on track team skaters are not following this rule, then one of them will be issued a penalty for failure to reform the pack.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

6.10.13.3 During a no-pack scenario, if there are more than two groups, skaters who are in neither the front-most or rear-most groups may choose for themselves whether they would prefer to speed up or slow down in an attempt to reform the pack.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. The most common scenario used when discussing no pack situations is two even group of skaters, more than ten feet apart. However, this is not the only scenario that may occur. After all, a pack is the largest group of in bounds blockers from both teams skating or standing in proximity. So if there are more than two groups, it is still possible for a pack to not exist. For an example of an odd scenario, I'll use a black and a pink team. Let's say there is a group of two pink blockers and one black blocker in front, then eleven feet behind is one pink and one black blocker, and eleven more feet behind them is a group of one pink blocker and two black blockers. All the groups contain skaters from both teams. However, since the two largest have the same amount of skaters, there is no "largest group" as required by rule 4.1.1. In that case, the two blockers in between the groups of three would be the subject of today's rule. Since they are not part of either the front-most or rear-most groups, they would not be subject to rules 6.10.13.1 or 6.10.13.2, which are the two previous rules that also help explain what to do to be considered reforming the pack. Therefore, the two skaters in the middle have a choice. They may either skate forward and join the front-most group, or slow down and join the rear-most group. They don't have to do the same thing, as the rule says they "may choose for themselves". Of course, that can make things difficult. If both skaters in the middle decide to both jump forward more than a foot, then the pack will be reformed in front, since that group would now have five blockers, versus the rear having only three. However, if one skater were to skate forward while the other slows down, then there would be two groups of four blockers, thus continuing the no pack situation. That means the two groups are still responsible for reforming a pack, and would have to follow the directions in rules 6.10.13.1 and 6.10.13.2.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

6.10.13.2 During a no-pack scenario, the rear-most group must accelerate forward until either they are sprinting and then maintain that speed, or a pack has been reformed. If a pack reformation is imminent, they may make motions to slow in order to enter the pack in a controlled fashion.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. This rule explains what the rearmost group in a no pack scenario must do to be considered to be attempting to reform the pack. Previously, there was no direction in the rules for skaters to follow to reform a pack. All that anyone had to go by was that there must be an attempt to reform. So, for the group in front, it was pretty much universally interpreted that they must decrease their speed from what it was before the pack was destroyed, and maintain continue that decrease in speed, coming to a stop if necessary, until the pack was reformed. For the group in rear, it was interpreted that they would have to accelerate until the pack was reformed. However, there wasn't really any standard regarding how much the rearmost group would have to accelerate, or if the acceleration must be constant, etc. About the only universally agreed upon interpretation was that if the rearmost team sped up to reform, and then before the pack was reformed they slowed back down, then they would be considered no longer attempting to reform, and thus earn a penalty. This rule doesn't deviate too much from the previous interpretation. In fact, it just provides more clarification as to what the rearmost pack should do. Like the previous interpretation, the rearmost group needs to accelerate. However, what is more clear is that they must continue to accelerate up to a sprint, and then stay sprinting, if necessary, until the pack has reformed. Certainly, there is no global definition of "sprinting", but there is certainly a difference between sprinting to reform the pack, and loping along barely trying to reform. The idea is that the attempt must show a difference between the previous speed the rearmost group was at, and the speed at which they reform the pack. Of course, if the rearmost group was already sprinting, then that is all they would need to continue doing to reform the pack. Although, that would be a very rare situation indeed, since the pack most usually get destroyed by the front group going faster, and the rear group going slower.

It is widely thought that this rule is part of the WFTDA's attempt to combat the strategy known as "passive offense" without making a major change to the game or rules. This rule, combined with 6.10.13.1, appears to put the majority of the responsibility of pack reformation on the rearmost group, by allowing the front-most group to coast to be considered reforming, and by requiring the rearmost group to continually accelerate up to a sprint until the pack is reformed. Rather than be a change to the rules, this is just more guidance for the existing rules, but may have the desired effect. Certainly, only time will tell.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

6.10.13.1 Examples of an immediate attempt to reform the pack by the front-most group of skaters include actively braking or coasting. This should continue until either they have come to a stop, at which point they may not start skating counter-clockwise again, or a pack has been reformed. During a no-pack scenario the front-most group is never required to skate clockwise to reform a pack.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. This rule explains what the foremost group in a no pack scenario must do to be considered to be attempting to reform the pack. Previously, there was no direction in the rules for skaters to follow to reform a pack. All that anyone had to go by was that there must be an attempt to reform. So, for the group in rear, it was pretty much universally interpreted that they must increase their speed greater than it was before the pack was destroyed, and maintain their speed increase until the pack was reformed. For the group in front, it was interpreted that they would have to slow down until the pack was reformed, eventually coming to a stop if it took that long to reform the pack. This rule doesn't deviate too much from the previous interpretation. However, there is a part of the rule that many find very interesting. The interesting part is the inclusion of the phrase "actively braking or coasting". Although the rule continues to say "This should continue until either they have come to a stop ... or a pack has been reformed", there is no indication in the rule that the front-most group must come to a stop, or even how long they may coast until they come to a stop. Therefore, this rule effectively says that as long as the front-most group of skaters is not actively skating (defined in the Glossary as "Using your skates to move"), then they may continue to coast until the rear-most group has skated forward to reform the pack, as explained in 6.10.13.2.

It is widely thought that this rule is WFTDA's attempt to combat the strategy known as "passive offense" without making a major change to the game or rules. After all, the only real difference between this rule and the previous interpretation is that this rule now specifically allows the front-most group to be coasting to be considered attempting to reform the pack.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/572044459501081

Monday, July 8, 2013

3.2.1 A Pivot is a special subset of a Blocker. A Pivot must be wearing the Pivot helmet cover to have any of the Pivot position rights or privileges; otherwise the skater who is holding the Pivot helmet cover is a Blocker with the only distinction being that they can gain those rights and privileges by putting the Pivot helmet cover on. The position of Pivot cannot be transferred. It is not mandatory to field a Pivot Blocker.

Today's rule comes from the Pivot Blocker part of the Skater Positions and Identification section of the rules. This rule has been revised a bit in the most recent version of the rules. It has had a couple parts added to it. For starters, this rule explains what the pivot blocker is, which is, in essence, a blocker for all intents and purposes. However, the pivot has the ability to gain special rights and privileges that non-pivot blockers are not able to gain. These include being able to receive a star pass and take over the position of jammer, as well as line up before a jam on the pivot line. In the previous version of the rules, the rules regarding the pivot were revised just a bit to make it clear that a pivot would have to put on the pivot helmet cover to gain these rights and privileges. Here are the small revisions in this version.

First, the phrase "who is holding the Pivot helmet cover" was added in this version. This phrase doesn't actually change the meaning or intent of the rule. However, it makes it more clear that the only skater that may gain the rights and privileges of a pivot is the skater holding the pivot helmet cover. Now, not every skater may hold the pivot helmet cover. 3.2.2.2 allows the pivot to begin a jam with the helmet cover in their hand or on their helmet. Thus, if a skater begins a jam with the pivot helmet cover on their helmet or in their hand, they will be the pivot for that jam. The second revision to this rule help clarify that point.

Thankfully, the WFTDA included some language in this version of the rules that had been removed from the previous version. This rule now says "The position of Pivot cannot be transferred". This is incredibly unambiguous language. So, to tie it all together, the skater who begins a jam with the pivot helmet cover on their helmet or in their hand is the pivot for that jam - the only pivot for their team in that jam - however, they don't gain the pivot's rights and privileges unless the helmet cover is on their head. If they are holding the helmet cover, they may put it on and gain those rights and privileges. As mentioned at the end of the rule, a pivot is not mandatory. In fact, some teams choose to never field a pivot at all. Although the role of pivot has historically been the skater that either "leads the pack" or "sets the pace of the pack", as quoted from some of the roller derby demo jam scripts I've heard, the pivot really is just another blocker with the extra rights and privileges. As well, if a team earns a penalty, and it is not immediately clear who the penalty goes to, it may go to the pivot, if there is one. An example of this are Failure To Reform penalties. If a team is failing to reform the pack, and there is no skater immediately found to be responsible, then the penalty will go to the pivot.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/571198546252339