What the FAQ?
So what is this roller derby about?
Modern flat track roller derby (as opposed to that crazy WWF-type game on a banked track that used to be on the telly years ago) is a fast, hard out full contact sport with two teams of five (consisting of a jammer, pivot and three blockers) skating counterclockwise round a flat oval track. The game (or bout) is an hour long, with two 30-minute halves segmented into two minute point scoring periods called “jams” which are held 30 seconds apart.
In each jam the jammers try to get through the pack (the pivots and blockers) and they score points when they pass each member of the opposing team. Meanwhile, the pivot controls and directs the blockers as they block the opposition jammer, as well as assisting their jammer to get through the pack. The team with the most points wins!
Wikipedia has a more detailed explanation of the game itself here….
There’s a lot of rules in Roller Derby – check out our rules page here for some helpful links.
This YouTube clip helps explain a bit more too…
Don’t you have to be kind of big and tough to play? And fit?
One of the best things about derby is that there’s a position for everybody, no matter their shape and size. There’s advantages to being short and slight (you can sneak through gaps in the pack) or big and tall (you can use your long legs or big booty to block that jammer or force your way through the pack). And training for and playing roller derby will probably get you in the best shape of your life!
How do you learn how to play?
Northland Nightmares have a coaching system called “Stars” consisting of five levels from White Star (newbies aka “Freshmeat” – teaching skating posture, stops, crossovers and the correct way to fall) progressing through Yellow, Orange, Green and then Blue – and last of all you’ll need to sit the Drills & Skills practical and theory test – if you pass this you will be able to play a proper game. Stars classes are 7pm Thursday nights and are coached by our advanced players. Each star class runs for five weeks with a test at the end (you must attend all four previous weeks to be able to sit the test) – and if you pass the Star test you can go up to the next level. If you don’t, it’s no problem to sit the Star again; in fact as many times as it takes to pass. We’d rather you be confident enough to pass the test – it’s better for you and it’s better for us!
How often do you practice and where?
We practice at Portland Recreation Centre, McGill Road, Portland. Our Star classes are once a week on a Thursday at 7pm. Once you’re at advanced level and in a team practices are twice a week: Tuesday evenings and Friday evenings so it’s quite a big commitment.
What gear do I need?
Quad skates, helmet, knee, elbow and wrist pads. We can provide these for you when you first start learning. Once you’ve decided you’re keen and want buy your own gear, check out our Get Your Gear On page for advice. And also, you’ll need a mouth guard once you’ve passed White Star.
How much does it cost?
It’s free for the first time and then $5 a time – you can pay at the till or you can pay $50 per school term payable to our Treasurer Taste of Hell. Just ask for her by name.
When do you play actual games and where can I get tickets?
I don’t want to play but I’d still like to get involved?
If you don’t want to play there’s always refereeing. We have a team of referees who are expected to know all the rules as well as being able to skate well enough to keep up with a game and they are also expected to attend practices. Or you could volunteer to be a NSO (Non Skating Official) at our bouts as well as helping out with merchandising, ticket sales and set up on the night.
If you’ve got any questions that aren’t on here please leave a comment below or you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org or text 022 07 992 82. Or, just come up and ask us at practice 🙂