The Game

Each Team is made up of one pivot, three blockers, and a jammer. The pivot is recognized by her striped helmet cover, the jammer wears a helmet cover emblazoned with a star on each side, and the blockers have no helmet covers at all (but their helmets often have a plethora of stickers). Each game is 60 minutes, made of two 30-minute periods that are further broken down into two minute jams.

Each jam is a two-minute race to see which jammer can score the most points. The jammer earns a point for every member of the opposing team she passes. That may sound easy, but the opposing team is doing all they can to get their own jammer through the pack while stopping the other team’s jammer cold. Derby is a full-contact sport and skaters will use all legal means at their disposal to get the job done, including hitting the opposing team with their shoulders and hips, pushing and pulling on members of their own team, and doing a cool slingshot-like maneuver called a whip to speed their jammer through the pack.

The Jammer

The jammer wears a helmet cover emblazoned with a star on each side

The Blockers

The blockers have no helmet covers at all, but their helmets often have a plethora of stickers.

The Pivot

The pivot can be recognized by the striped helmet cover.


Each jammer must make one complete pass through the pack before they can begin accumulating points. The first jammer to move through the pack legally becomes the lead jammer and as such has the power to call off the jam early – a strategic advantage that allows them to score points and then call off the jam before the opposing team has the chance to score. If neither jammer passes through the pack legally, neither becomes lead jammer and the jam continues on for the entire two-minute period.


Through it all, the blockers are doing their thing – blocking. Blockers can hit members of the opposing team with their shoulders, hips, and torso. It’s illegal to use the forearms, hands, and head, and the use of elbows is strictly regulated. Skaters who block illegally, start fights, or otherwise break the rules face penalties which can include everything from time in the penalty box to a complete expulsion from the bout.