Atlanta is Rolling with Roller Derby


Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Roller Derby

Roller derby may be more exciting than you thought

Lucy Samuels, Staff Writer

After two long years, Atlanta Roller Derby is back on the track and ready to tear it up in 2022. With a fresh roster of rookies and veterans alike, Atlanta Roller Derby is more than happy to be back. Sure this all sounds exciting but exactly is roller derby? Here, I will explain the basics of roller derby so you can go out to support and enjoy Atlanta’s own official Women’s Roller Derby team!

Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is the head of all things Women’s Roller Derby internationally. This is the association Atlanta Roller Derby (ARD) plays under! The “flat track” refers to the two types of tracks roller derby can be played on, banked track and flat track; ARD plays on flat track.


On the flat track are two teams, both with five players on the track at a time. There is the “jammer” (star on helmet), the pivot (stripe on helmet), and the rest are blockers. Blockers usually play defensively by blocking the opposing team’s jammer from passing them, while the jammer plays offense and scores the points. A pivot is a defender that can also sub in to play as a jammer if needed.


At the start of each jam – a two minute increment for skating – each team brings out their five players for the jam. On the track there are two lines: the jammer line and the pivot line. Blockers must set up between the jammer and pivot line. Jammers must set behind the jammer line. When the starting whistle blows, the jammers are allowed to fight their way through the blockers. The first jammer to make their way through the blockers is dubbed “lead jammer.” She can now “call off” or stop the jam even before two minutes. Once each jammer has successfully gotten past the opposing blockers for the first time, they can start racking up points.


One point is scored for each opposing blocker the jammer passes, for a maximum of four per lap. The jammer’s goal is to skate as many laps and score as many points as possible during the two minute jam. If the jam ends or is called off before the jammer completes the full four points, a point is only counted for each person they’ve passed.

Basic Strategy:

As jammers, it is of utmost importance that they swiftly and effectively get through the blockers. Some rely on strength to move blockers out of the way while others use their agility to skirt around untouched. Blockers work in tandem, bracing on each other, to stop the opposing jammer and aid their own by clearing opposing blockers out of the way. They do this by legally hitting others with their hips or shoulders. If a player uses an illegal block such as hitting with a forearm, they will be sent to the penalty box, subsequently rendering them out of the game for 30 seconds.

2022 derby schedule (Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Roller Derby)

With your new knowledge of the fantastic game of Roller Derby, get out there and support your local team! You can find Atlanta Roller Derby’s 2022 schedule here!