Month: November 2015

Freshie Perspective: The Cost of Roller Derby

cost of roller derby

It’s probably clear even to those outside of the sport that roller derby ain’t the cheapest of hobbies to take up. Unlike some sports, roller derby requires a lot of equipment. I’ve heard that some leagues have kit that people can use for try outs, but in most cases beginners have no choice but to buy all the required kit before they even get a taste of playing. But recently I got to thinking; aside from the obvious kit-related costs, what else have I spent money on in my first 7 months or so of roller derby? I figured this kind of insight might be handy to someone thinking about giving the sport of a go, so here’s a breakdown of what I’ve spent on roller derby so far…

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Roller Derby Glossary: C is for…

Roller derby glossary: c

Getting to grips with roller derby vocabulary, one letter at a time.

Calling off the Jam

Ending the jam before the full two minutes has expired, initiated by the lead jammer placing her hands on her hips repeatedly. However, it should be remembered that “the jam is not over until the Referee officially calls off the jam.” (2.4.7). Orla Skew has written a really useful blog post on this topic with advice for both skaters and refs. Key takeaway: make big gestures and be sure to tap your hips repeatedly!


The WFTDA defines the captain as:

The Skater identified to speak for the team.

But what does this entail? Well, officially, all this business:

  • In the event that there is a disagreement regarding a Referee’s call or scoring, only the Captains or their Designated Alternates may discuss the ruling with the Referees (8.2.10)
  • To take a timeout, the Captain or Designated Alternate will signal the Officials to request a timeout. Officials will signal for the clock to stop (1.7.2)
  • If a penalty is committed by a Non-Skater (e.g., by a team’s bench staff), the penalty will be assessed to the Captain, unless otherwise specified. If such an action is committed during a jam in which the Captain is not skating, the Captain will serve the penalty beginning in the following jam (6.1.4)
  •  If a single penalty is committed by a group of teammates, or if no one single Skater can be identified as most responsible (including penalties committed during a jam), the penalty will be assessed to the team’s Pivot unless otherwise specified. If there is not a Pivot, it will go to the Captain (6.1.5)
  • Captains are responsible for supplying medical personnel with their Skaters’ medical and/or emergency contact information as necessary (9.2.2.)
  • The team Captain must visibly display a “C” on their uniform or arm (3.7.2)
  • If the Captain must leave the game, they can transfer their status to a teammate.

Of course, that isn’t all there is to being a captain. For more on what being a captain means outside of the game rules, check out this article by Croydon’s Apocalex on what it means to be a captain in a competitive squad. 


The WFTDA defines a counter-block as:

Any motion/movement toward an oncoming block by the receiving Skater. Counter-blocking is blocking. (

One difference between blocking and counter blocking relates to out of play penalties:

5.10.3 – No Skater may initiate a block while out of play, or to a Skater who is out of play. It is, however, legal to counter-block in such a situation. (5.10.3)


When trying to think of a definition of crossovers the best I could come up with was “that thing we do with our feet that makes us skate real fast”, because I’m a doof. Using a crossover technique while skating around a track, with your right leg stepping over and your left leg pushing under, allows you to skate the diamond and achieve maximum speed. I’ve heard various resources say that they’re better described as ‘crossunders’ because most of the power in the move comes from your left, crossing-under, leg. I posted a roundup of really useful resources for nailing crossovers a little while back if you want to know more.

Cutting the track

Cutting the track is common penalty with its own section in the WFTDA rule book. In brief:

When out of bounds (which includes Straddling; see Section 10 – Glossary), Skaters must return to an in-bounds position without improving their relative position. Violations are considered Cutting the Track.

But of course, because this is roller derby, things aren’t that simple! There are various factors that will impact on whether a penalty is called in relation to track cutting. I highly recommend familiarising yourself with the relevant section of the rules (5.11). 

Image credit: Horla Harlan, Flickr CC

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