The general gist

July 3, 2016

So, one of the hardest parts for new viewers to pick up on are the rules. Derby happens at such a fast pace, it is a challenge to grasp the concept of what is going on out on the track. So this week, I’m going to share a general over view of the rules!

So a major concern for refs are the skaters’ safety. As such, there are such things as illegal hits and illegal target zones. So when I’m going to make contact with another skater, I cannot hit her in the head, below the knees, or most of her back. The easiest way to explain the illegal zone on the back, is to imagine bra straps that to from the shoulders down to the lower back/butt. Anything in between, I cannot hit or I will get sent to the penalty box. That’s called a back block and these happen more often than you’d think; trajectory and established position and what not is a bit tricky sometimes! If I accidentally hit a girl in the face, that’s a high block, below the knees is a low block. If I hit a girl and extend my arm to “follow through” and make sure she gets as far away from me as possible, forearm penalty. If I throw an elbow, that’s a penalty. Making clean hits takes a lot of calculation and self-control.

The second biggest penalty that confuses new spectators is the cut track. So let’s pretend I’m jamming (haha) and a blocker hits me out of bounds. I cannot legally re-enter the track without first skating backwards to get in behind whomever knocked me out AND everyone that was in front of me prior to going out. So when you watch a team knock their opposing jammer out of bounds and see them race backwards, it’s because she then has to get in behind them all. Now, there are a lot of scenarios in which this rule gets tricky.. but we can get into that another day.

These are some of the most common penalties you’ll see in a bout and hopefully gives you a better idea of what you’re watching. Our next bout is on July 23, 2016! Come check us out. As always, it’s a double header. Our All-Stars are playing Brandywine Roller Derby and our home teams, the Twisted Sisters and Sugar and Spikes, will be battling it out for the second bout.

Hope to see you all there!!


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