Next bout I’m gonna C-block that wall (street) straight into the suicides.

Here is some derby lingo to go along with some more Sintral Florida Derby Demons photos from the practice on Monday. I went to the practice on Thursday also, and got more photos. I’ll be sending the rest I process to the Derby Demons to use as they wish — as a form of mutual aid. Check out the Derby Demons pages on FaceBook and the Web. Also, thanks to the Talkin’ Derby blog for most of these definitions.13-02-25-1404_edited

Bout–a game of roller derby: a 60-minute match divided into two 30-minute periods. This game is a rough and tumble sport, yo!

C-block–a very powerful hit that is delivered by skating parallel to the target, then suddenly curving one’s skates in a c-like path toward the target, connecting with the chest at the front of the target’s body.

Wall–when two or more blockers skate side-by-side to create a multi-player block to contain another team’s player(s).

Suicides–The most exciting seating option — right on the track. Not for the faint of heart – you might get a roller grrl in your lap.


Jam–a two-minute period during which the action happens. The jam may last less than two minutes if the lead jammer calls off the jam. There may be any number of jams in a bout.

Calling off the jamthe lead jammer can end a jam at any time by tapping her hands against her hips. This strategy can help prevent the other team’s jammer from scoring points if the lead jammer loses the advantage.

False start–a minor penalty that occurs when a player crosses the starting line before the whistle is blown–a blocker crosses the pivot line before the first jam whistle is blown, or a jammer crosses the jammer line before the second jam whistle is blown. This penalty can escalate to a major if the skater does not yield her advantage.


Penalty–a rule-breaking offense observed and called by a referee.

Referee–also known as a zebra. An enforcer of the rules. Referees are dressed in black and white stripes and have whistles so that they can start and end jams and draw attention to penalties. Jam refs keep track of jammers, while pack refs (some inside the track boundary and some outside) keep track of the pack.

Minor–a penalty. “A foul that has a measurable physical force or effect but does not cause harm or adversely affect the game” WFTDA examples include skating out of bounds to avoid a block or elbowing an opponent but not causing her to lose her position. When a skater accumulates four minors, she is sent to the penalty box for one minute.

Major–a penalty. “A foul that has a measurable physical force or effect which causes harm or adversely affects the game” WFTDA examples include tripping or hitting a skater when she is down on the ground. One major will get a skater sent to the penalty box for one minute.

WFTDAWomen’s Flat Track Derby Association. This is a regulatory body that organizes leagues and establishes rules and rankings.

Penalty box–when skaters accumulate four minor penalites or one major, they skate off the rink and spend one minute per infraction before returning to play. The penalty box has 3 seats for each team, one of which is designated for the jammer. Thus, the most players than can be in the box at once from any one team is two blockers and one jammer.


Jammer–the skater on the track who can score points. The jammer is identified by the star on her helmet. The jammer starts each jam behind the pack. After she has lapped the pack once (known as a non-scoring pass), she is eligible to score points for each subsequent skater hips she laps.

Lead jammer–the first jammer to emerge from the pack, without incurring a penalty, is designated by the referee as the lead jammer. She now has the advantage of being able to call off the jam if she wishes.

Jammer line–a starting line on the track, located behind the pivot line, from which the jammers depart on the referee’s second whistle. Jammers may touch, but not cross, the line. If a jammer crosses the jammer line before the second whistle, it is designated a false start.


Pack–the mass of blockers, 4 from each team skating around the track together. Each jammer’s goal is to get through or around the pack.Pivot–(also known as position 1) the blocker  who stays to the front of the pack and regulates pack speed. The pivot can be identified by the stripe on her helmet. The pivot has the ability to swap places with the jammer. Each team has one pivot.

Pivot line–the starting line for the pack that is in front of the jammer line. Only the pivot is permitted to start on the pivot line; all other blockers must be lined up behind her hips. The pack may cross the pivot line once referee blows the first whistle to signal the start of the jam. If any skater crosses the line before the whistle, it is designated a false start.


Blockera skater whose job is to stop (or block) the other team’s jammer from passing while also enabling her own team’s jammer to score. Typically, there are four blockers per team on the track, including the pivot. The remaining blocker positions are often referred to by number: two, three, and four, usually with the pivot at the front and the four at the back. The pivot wears a stripe on her helmet.

Two (2)–the blocker who plays the second position on the track. Often this blocker teams up with the pivot (1)  to control the front of the pack.

Three (3)the blocker who plays the third position on the track.

Four (4)–the blocker who plays the fourth position and usually stays at the back of the pack. This blocker is the first line of defense against the opposing jammer. Four can also refer to the accumulation of four minor penalties.


Nonscoring pass–the jammer‘s first pass through the pack. During this pass, the jammer is eligible to obtain lead jammer status, but she does not score any points.

Scoring pass–any pass through the pack after the jammer‘s first pass (the nonscoring pass). At this time the jammer racks up points for each opponent she passes.

Substitutionswapping players in between jams. Unlike other sports, no call needs to be made by a coach or ref; the skaters simply exchange places and leave/enter the track as needed.


Assist–a motion administered by one player to help another player (usually the jammer) gain advantage. An assist includes pushing, pulling, redirecting, or whipping another skater.

Blocking zone–a part of the body with which it is permissible to hit another skater. Blocking must be done to a legal target zone. Legal blocking zones include the arms from the shoulder to above the elbow; the torso; the hips; the butt; and the mid- and upper thigh. Illegal blocking zones include elbows; forearms; hands; head; and any part of the leg below the mid-thigh.

Back block–a penalty that is incurred when a player makes contact with an opponent’s back, which is an illegal target zone.

J-block–a powerful hit that employs an upward trajectory of the blocker’s body. The blocker stays low, and when she’s ready to hit, gets in front of her target, swoops her body low and then upward in a j-motion, and throws her shoulder into the target’s chest.


Crossover–the motion of crossing one leg/skate in front of another, particularly when going around turns in the track. This movement enables agile skating and also helps a skater maintain her speed around the turns.

Cutting the track–a penalty wherein a skater goes out of bounds, passes an in-bounds skater, and re-enters the track in front of that skater. This is a minor penalty, but if a) the skater cuts multiple players, or b) the skater she cuts is the foremost member of the pack, then it is a major penalty.

Falling small–trying to keep your body as small as possible when hitting the ground to prevent other skaters from tripping over you. If you do not fall small, you may incur a major penalty by tripping another player.

Fishnet burn–a form of rink rash that occurs when a skater is wearing fishnets and the resulting burn has the distinct criss-cross pattern on the skin.


Fresh meat–new recruits.

Grand slam–when a jammer succeeds in lapping the opposing team’s jammer.

Hip check–a bump delivered using the hips while skating immediately next to the target.

Hip whip–a form of assist in which a player (usually the jammer) grabs her teammate’s hips to swing herself forward.

Hit–when a skater makes forceful contact with another skater.

Lap–verb: to make one full pass through the pack; noun: one full pass through the pack. Note that this may take more than just one trip around the length of the track. Can also be used to describe the length of the track (e.g., from jammer line to jammer line).

Panty–a stretchy helmet cover that is used to designate the jammer (with a star) or a pivot (with a stripe).


Passing the star–a strategic play in which the jammer removes her helmet cover (the star) and gives it to the pivot, enabling the pivot to become the new jammer and thus score points.

Penalty kill–when a team stalls or tries to slow down the action while waiting for a teammate (usually the jammer) to be released from the penalty box.

Positional blocking–using the body to obstruct another skater’s path rather than forcefully hitting her.


Power jam–a situation where in one team’s jammer has been sent to the penalty box, and thus only the team with a jammer on the track can score.

Recycling–when a set of two or more blockers rotate in a circular motion, sending one blocker after another to issue continuous hits to an opponent. This is also known as a waterfall.

Rink rash–a burn injury that occurs when flesh is dragged against a rink surface.

Snowplow–a technique for slowing down or stopping in which the stance is widened and the toes are turned inward to decrease momentum.

13-02-25-1480_editedStar–the symbol on a helmet panty that indicates the jammer.

Stripe-the symbol on a helmet panty that indicates the pivot.

T-stop–a technique for slowing down or stopping in which one skate is dropped behind the other skate and turned perpendicularly, and the wheels of the back skate are dragged.

Taking a knee–if a skater is seriously injured on the track and the jam is called, it is common practice for skaters to drop to one knee while the injured skater is treated.

Target zone–an area of the body which may be hit. Legal target zones include hands, arms, chest, abdomen, sides, hips, and the front and sides of the legs to the mid-thigh. Illegal target zones include the head, neck, back, butt, back of the thighs, and any part of the leg below mid-thigh.

Three board–a slang term for a surface, usually a whiteboard, on which an NSO writes the numbers of skaters who have accumulated three minor penalties, listed by team. This board is usually hoisted and visible to refs, skaters, and the bench.

NSO–Abbreviated name for a Non-Skating Official. NSOs hold up the whiteboards on the edges of the track and in the middle of the track to help keep score.

Tripping–a major penalty in which one skater makes contact with another skater–intentional or not–in the no-contact zone below the knee, causing that skater to lose her balance and fall.

Truck and trailer–when two teammates skate, one directly in front of the other, with the front (truck) pulling the back (trailer). Can be an effective method of getting a jammer through a pack.

Turn stop–a stopping technique in which a skater reverses the direction she is skating (transitioning from forward to backwards) before stopping, usually by going up on her toe stops.

Twenty (20) feet–a referee call when a skater is out of the twenty-foot range of the pack and thus out of play. Blockers may not hit or assist and must immediately yield to opposing jammers upon reaching this point whether or not the call has been  made by the ref. If they do not, they may earn an out of play penalty.


Waterfall–when a set of two or more blockers rotate in a circular motion, sending one blocker after another to issue continuous hits to an opponent. This process is also known as recycling.

Whip–an assist technique wherein one skater uses another skater’s momentum to propel herself. For example, a jammer may grab a blocker’s arm, and the blocker will use her power and momentum to pull the jammer forward.

See ya at the bout, yo!