Derby Glossary

So, since I talk about roller derby a lot, this being a blog mostly about my roller derby journey, I figured it might be good if you, too, knew what I was talking about. Especially if you aren’t part of the derby scene yourself, it can get confusing pretty quickly. I want to thank the Silicon Valley Roller Girls and South Jersey Roller Girls Correspondent for sharing the two more complete lists I found (because I knew I’d forget stuff if I didn’t consult another glossary!) For now, I am only going to include those terms that apply to my experience, so if you want to know more about the sport, please hit up those links for definitions! Since I am not cleared for contact, types of blocks and whips and such will not be included until such time as I am cleared for contact. But some bout terms will be here, because I talk about them somewhat when talking about bouts.

This is a work in progress!

noun. Roller derby position.
noun. Skater whose job it is to prevent the other team’s jammer from getting through the pack while allowing their own jammer through. There are four blockers per team on the track at one time, including the pivot.
noun. The term used by the WFTDA to designate a roller derby match. Approximately 60 minutes long, with a break at the 30 minute point. DCRG’s breaks are 10 minutes long.
Calling off the jam
verb. A tactic employed by the lead jammer to end the jam early, in order to prevent the other jammer from scoring.
noun. A maneuver that allows a skater to take turns on the track quickly by crossing one foot in front of the other.
Derby crush
noun. A skater who you admire so much, on and off the track, you have a “crush” on them.
Derby wife
noun. The skater with whom you have a very close relationship with; your best friend in roller derby.
Fall small
verb. Keeping your body as compact as you can while you fall, to prevent injury to yourself and other skaters.
Fresh meat
noun. Skaters who have passed tryouts but have not passed their WFTDA skills assessment. At DCRG, we are getting rid of this term, so we’ve been referring to ourselves as “freshies.”
noun. The generally two-minute period during which the skating happens. There may be any number of jams in a bout. If the bout clock runs out but the jam clock is still running, the jam continues until it is called off or ends.
noun.Roller derby position.
noun. Skater who scores points for her team. The jammer wears the star panty on her helmet. She starts behind the pack at the jammer line. Once she breaks through the pack initially, she scores points by passing members of the opposing team.
Jammerless jam
noun. A jam that goes the full two minutes because both teams’ jammers are in the penalty box.
Jammer line
noun. Starting line on the track for jammers. Located behind the pivot line, jammers may not cross the jammer line until signaled by referee whistle.
Lead Jammer
noun. The jammer who breaks through the pack first is the lead jammer. She has the ability to call off the jam as a defensive move.
noun. Non-Skating Official. Assists with referee duties.
noun. All the blockers on the track. Jammers try to get through the pack to score.
Helmet cover worn by jammers and pivots to make them easily identifiable. Jammer panties have a star and pivot panties have a central stripe running from the front to the back of the helmet.
noun. Roller Derby position.
noun. The blocker who stays at the front of the pack and regulates the speed at which the pack skates. Sort of like a quarterback, she calls plays if necessary.
Pivot line
noun. Starting line on the track for blockers. Only the pivot is allowed to start on the pivot line. All other blockers must line up behind her hips, even if she is not touching the pivot line. Skaters may only cross the pivot line when signaled by the referee.
Power jam
noun. A jam where one jammer is in the penalty box so only one jammer skates, and thus only one team can score.
Ref Lane
noun. The area around the track where certain referees will skate in order to spot penalties. Usually 6-10 feet wide.
Roller Derby
noun. A sport played on quad skates, on flat or banked track. The object of the game is to score the most points. Points are scored by jammers legally passing blockers, who try to prevent the opposing team’s jammer from passing while making it easier for their jammer to pass.
Suicide seats
noun. Sitting on the floor outside the ref lane. Called suicide seats because you might get landed on by a skater.
noun. Spots where the track turns, usually referred to as turn one, turn two, turn three and turn four, with turn one being the first curve after the pivot line.
Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The governing body that organizes and certifies flat track leagues, determines rules for flat track roller derby, and tracks league rankings.

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