Roller Derby Dictionary

As most of you probably know, we are PROUD fans of the hard core ladies of the Texas Rollergirls. While we are no strangers to what goes on at a derby bout, some of you might need a little Derby 101. The basic premise is something everyone can follow but for a rookie derby fan, some of the commentary can be a little confusing. We’d like to eliminate any wonder and give you a quick run down on what you might hear at the next Rollergirl bout!

Roller derbyFirst things first. What the heck is a bout? Not about, a BOUT. Your first derby vocabulary word is actually the name of a single roller derby “game” or “match”. Each bout lasts 60 minutes with two 30 minute periods.

The jammer is the skater on the track who is able to score points. Things can get a little jumbled during each bout bu you can always keep track of the jammer by the STAR on their helmet. The jammer starts out behind the pack (the mass of blockers made up by both teams)¬†and has the task of scoring points for every skater she laps. But before scoring any points, the jammer must lap the entire pack once (known as a nonscoring pass). A trick move to watch out for is known as passing the star. This is when the jammer removes her panty (don’t worry, not that kind of panty. In roller derby, the stretchy cover on the skater’s helmet is called a panty) and gives it to another member of her team, giving them the ability to score points as the new jammer. These team mates are known as pivots, who stay to the front of the pack to help regulate speed. Where the jammer can be identified by the star on their helmet, the pivot will have stripes.

Next is C-block. A C-block is a very powerful hit delivered when skating parallel to another target. The attacking skater will suddenly curve their skates toward their target and connect with the chest of the opposing skater. It’s called a C-block because the path that the skates make during the hit make a c-shape. The chest is one of a number of areas on the target zone, or the area of the body that can be hit. Other areas include the hands, hips, abdomen and front or sides of the legs. Other areas like the head, neck, back, and leg below the thigh are illegal target zones. Hitting any of the illegal areas will result in a penalty.

For more basic Derby 101 facts, check out the Texas Rollergirl page! So the next time you find yourself cheering on your favorite Texas Rollergirl team, you can impress your friends with your vast knowledge of derby terms! Happy hitting!

photo from Texas Rollergirls flickr


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