WHAT IS ROLLER DERBY?
Roller derby is a fast-paced, full-contact sport played on quad roller skates. In flat track roller derby, the track is an oval, typically flat surface like a sports court or a concrete floor. Each team has five players on the track at a time: four blockers and one jammer. The jammers wear a helmet cover with a star, distinguishing them from blockers.
The game consists of two 30 minute periods which are divided into jams, which last up to two minutes or until the lead jammer (the first jammer to break through the pack legally) decides to call off the jam.
The blockers aim to assist their jammer while simultaneously blocking the opposing jammer. They form walls or defensive formations to impede the opposing jammer's progress and create openings for their own jammer to score points.
Points are scored when a jammer legally passes members of the opposing team. They earn a point for each opposing player they lap after their initial pass through the pack. The jammer's ability to strategically navigate through blockers, coupled with their speed and agility, is crucial for scoring.
Penalties are imposed for illegal actions such as tripping, back-blocking, blocking with forearms, or hitting above the shoulders. Players committing penalties serve time in the penalty box, leaving their team shorthanded for a duration, creating strategic advantages for the opposing team.
The game's strategy involves a blend of offense and defence, with teams dynamically switching between assisting their jammer and obstructing the opposing team. This balance of physicality, speed, strategy, and teamwork makes flat track roller derby an electrifying and engaging sport to watch and play. Full details of the rules can be found here: https://rules.wftda.com/.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
Welcoming new members and building a bigger league with more opportunities for development is one of our key motivations in merging. No experience is necessary and some of our most successful international skaters and officials joined without ever having tried on roller skates before.
To become a member of Birmingham Roller Derby you must be over 18 years old. Birmingham Roller Derby has a gender-inclusive policy that welcomes individuals of all gender identities to join as a member.
As we are affiliated with WFTDA, to participate as a skater, individuals must align with the Womens Flat Track Roller Derby gender policy; "Any individual who identifies as a trans woman, intersex woman, and/or gender expansive may skate with Birmingham Roller Derby if women’s flat track roller derby is the version and composition of roller derby with which they most closely identify."
If skating is not for you, we have other roles within the league in which you can get involved such as a Volunteer or Non-Skating Official (NSO).
All genders may join Birmingham Roller Derby as an Official or Volunteer.
We also welcome transfers of experienced skaters and officials from the wider community.
Please contact email@example.com to express an interest and find out more.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT ON MY FIRST SESSION?
Before your initial session
Once you've notified us of your interest in joining a session, we'll request that you complete a waiver. This form helps us understand any health conditions or prior injuries you might have. It’s at this point that you can request any kit if you need it. This will include quad skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards and a helmet.
Following this, we'll send you a follow-up email with details about the upcoming session. Due to venue availability, our sessions take place at different locations on different days. To be prepared for your session, please come dressed in sportswear and bring a drink with you.
During your first session
Our team of dedicated coaches will assist you throughout. During your initial session, they will help you kit up and get you going. You and your fellow Academy skaters will warm up on skates. This will involve skating around as well as some light stretches to get everything moving properly. If skating initially feels daunting, there's an option for an off-skates warm-up to ease you into it.
You will be given a skills booklet to keep. There are a number of skills that skaters must be able to perform to be able to take part in roller derby. These include falling safely, stopping, changing direction, and safely engaging in contact. Coaches will assess your progress at each session, signing off on skills once you've mastered them. If you find a skill challenging and require extra guidance or want to confirm your proficiency, simply inform your coach, and they'll assist you accordingly. Once you are able to participate in contact drills you will need to purchase a mouthguard.
Wrapping up your session, we'll conduct stretching exercises, crucial for muscles that might have been utilized differently than usual.
After your first session
Following your initial experience, we'll send another email detailing our upcoming practices, session costs, and additional information about the league.
Should you decide to join BRD, you'll be included in the Academy Skaters group. This group allows you to seek advice on skates or equipment, coordinate rides to practices, seek help with skills, and more.
BRD Academy Skater Nat says "Being a rookie is so much fun! There’s always something new to learn and everyone in the league is always happy to teach you all the little tips and tricks that worked for them. It’s been great learning something completely new and really rewarding as you see little bits of progress every single session."