Here’s how it works:

  • At the start of the jam, each team fields five players – one jammer, one pivot and three blockers
  • On the whistle the pivots and blockers skate in a tight formation (the pack).
  • The jammers sprint and attempt to pass through the pack once – at which time no points are scored – but a lead jammer position can be established.
  • On the second lap the jammers can start scoring points – one for each opposing skater they pass (whilst in bounds and without penalties).
  • The blockers job is to stop the opposing jammer from scoring points by using tactics such as impeding their momentum and using hips or shoulders to deliver body blows.
  • The blockers are also simultaneously trying to assist their own jammer through the pack.
  • The jammers may continue to race and score points for two minutes or until the lead jammer, calls off the jam (by putting her hands on her hips).
  • The teams then reset, field another five skaters, and the fun begins again.
  • The team with the most points at the end of the bout wins!

Roller derby is a full contact sport where players can bash other players out of the way but… like any sport there are many fine print rules and strategies – here are a few illegal moves that will result in a major penalty and one minute in the sin bin!

  • Tripping
  • Back blocking (pushing a skater from behind)
  • Use of elbows or forearms to gain advantage over opposition skater
  • Re-entering the track in front of a skater who knocks you out of bounds (cutting)
  • Blocking 20 feet ahead or behind the pack
  • Deliberate falling in front of another skater
  • Fighting!

If you like watching women with serious roller skating skills kick ass on the track then you need to check out our events page  to see when the Hellfire Harlots are competing next.

Or maybe you’d rather get involved, learn to play or become a ref!

A bit of History

Originally invented in the 1930s, in 2001 a grass-roots Roller Derby revival started in Austin, Texas and over recent years this DIY movement has spread across the world as a not-for profit sport.

By 2004 the game had become so popular that a regulatory body was set up – the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (or WFTDA). The WFTDA set the official rules for the game and also the minimum roller skating skills each skater has to have in order to play the sport as part of a competing team.

With a steady and gradual start, the UK has seen the sport explode in recent years making it one of the most exciting and upcoming extreme sports to be involved in. From one solitary league in 2006, to over 100 bouting and start-up leagues in 2012, the growth and recognition of the sport is showing no signs of slowing down.

This has been reflected not just in the UK, but across the globe and in December 2011 the first Roller Derby World Cup took place in Toronto, Canada. Thirteen teams from around the world competed over four intensive days and with the Hellfire Harlots very own skater El Vicious representing England – the team came home with an admirable third place!

The Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup will be back on the track in 2014 – and we can’t wait!