What Is Jr Roller Derby?
Junior roller derby is a full contact sport played on roller skates for girls, yes we said it, a full contact sport for girls; and if you’re anything like me, you may know a handful of girls that are not so much into dance class, gymnastics, cheerleading, softball, soccer, or any other main stream sport. Roller derby just might be that thing they fall in love with, and in return, that child will get to see what is like to live in a body that’s active, healthy, and fit; and experience being on a team and working together to achieve goals.
Not only is there a huge fitness and wellness aspect to being involved in a sport, with roller derby there’s community, camaraderie, support, and respect for your fellow team mates. Roller derby is for girls of all shapes and sizes. A child with any kind of body insecurities, typically begins to lose them once she learns how to take advantage of her size.
The game is played on 2 different surfaces, the most common surface is the roller rink flat track, this is the most common because it is the most widely available surface for roller derby organizations. The second surface is called a banked track, it is a circular track that is built with a vertical incline, if you have seen old footage of roller derby from the 30s to 80s, the track roller derby started on was a banked track.
Roller derby is played by two teams of five members simultaneously skating counterclockwise on a track. Each team designates a scoring player (the “jammer”); the other four members are “blockers.” One blocker can be designated as a “pivot” – a blocker allowed to become a jammer in the course of play. The jammer wears a helmet cover bearing two stars; the pivot wears a striped cover; the remaining members’ helmets are uncovered.
The bout is played in 2 halves of 30 minutes. Point scoring occurs during “jams”: plays that last up to 2 minutes. During a jam, points are scored when a jammer laps members of the opposing team. Each team’s blockers use body contact, changing positions, and other tactics to assist its jammer to score while hindering the opposing team’s jammer. Certain types of blocks and other play are violations; referees call penalties and require violators to serve time in a penalty box.
- ABOVE THE SHOULDERS / blocking to a skaters above the shoulders.
- ARMS/ blocking skater with your hands to your elbows, is illegal.
- BACK BLOCKING/blocking a skater down the middle of her back.
- LOW BLOCKING / tripping
- STOPPING / Stopping on and hitting an opponent.
- DIRECTIONAL BLOCKING/ skating the opposite direction and delivering a block to an opponent.
- MULTI – PLAYER BLOCKING / when two skaters link up grasped each other and an opponent makes contact with their links, it’s called in multiplayer block.
- FAILURE TO REFORM/ skaters must be within 10 feet of another skater, and have 20 feet until they get an out of play penalty. A referee will give a warning to skaters when they are about to get an out of play penalty. If they skater does not reform meaning get back into play within three seconds they will get a penalty for failure to reform.
And a few illegal moves that will get skaters in the box are
- BLOCKING OUT OF BOUNDS
- ASSISTING OUT OF BOUNDS
- SKATING OUT OF PLAY
- BLOCKING OUT OF PLAY
- ASSISTING OUT OF PLAY
- SKATING OUT OF BOUNDS
- CUTTING THE TRACK
- ILLEGAL BLOCKS
- UNSPORTING CONDUCT
There are tons of ways to exploit the rules, and force penalties on your opponents. Unlike most sports, roller derby has offense and defense going on at the same time. The mere fact that offense and defense are going on at the same time creates a mentally strong person, and that kind of training transfers over into tons of life situations.
Roller derby is an amazing sport, it builds mentally tough women, and more importantly, is a saving grace for all the girls that are not into mainstream sports.
If you know anyone that is not into mainstream sports, drop the seed of junior roller derby in her ear, it may change her life.
Every league has a beginner level, intermediate level, and competitive level. Your child starts out as a beginner with zero contact, learning the basics of skating, falling, using her protective gear, and stopping properly. In the intermediate class, skaters start learning how to skate with others, blocking, and how to play the game. When a skater has been properly trained, she will have the opportunity to move into the competitive realm. The competitive level is where the real fun begins and pretty much any skater that makes it to competitive whether she sticks with roller derby or not, learns to love roller-skating, and will be able to enjoy her roller skates for a very long time.