What is roller derby?

Roller Derby is a full-contact sport played on quad roller skates and is a game between two teams that play against each other on an oval track. Each team consists of 14 skaters, with 5 skaters on the track at any one time. They skate a ‘jam’, which runs for a maximum of 2 minutes when a new block of skaters enters the track ready for the next ‘jam’. One of the skaters has a star on their helmet and they are the jammer – it is only the jammer that can score points. The jammer gets one point every time they pass a skater from the opposing team.

Roller Derby is one of the world’s fastest growing sports and it is a reinterpretation of the traditional association sports. It is underground, street and predominantly a DIY sport.

Roller Derby in its current form was founded in Austin, Texas in 2001, and it is now one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. New adult leagues are appearing in the most amazing places like Cairo, Lima, Tokyo, Bogota, Beirut, and Dubai. The UK has around 10 junior teams. The sport has practically exploded in a short space of time, with several hundred leagues across the world helping to form a grassroots movement of women, men and young people who have never done competitive sport before. Social media has greatly helped the rapid development of the sport. The sport is characterized by a high active involvement of league members who are responsible for marketing, PR, streaming, tournament organization, training, officiating etc. Despite everything being done voluntarily, ambition and professionalism are very high.

Roller Derby is equal parts high speed, hard hits, strategy and gameplay – and as with every other American sport, the rules are complicated and demand great tactical understanding.

Roller Derby explained: