How a jammer scores in roller derby

Posted on March 30, 2011 by


With the start of our roller derby tipping competition and following the So what IS roller derby? post I’ve had many people ask – how do you score in roller derby?  I’m assuming they are referring to game scores and not the other kind!  So here’s some further education for you derby virgins!

The Jam
The “jam” is the 2 minute period during which the jammers attempt to score points.  (Note: ADRD rules reduced the jam period to 1.5 minutes for our local games). 

Here’s how it works:

  • The pivots line up at the starting line, followed by two rows of blockers (this is known as “the pack”) and then, 20 feet back, the jammers line up in ready position.

  • The jam starts once the first whistle blows and the pack takes off.  The jammers wait until the second whistle is blown (which occurs once the last blocker crosses the pivot line) then they start too.

Check out this link for a visual and a game run down. 

Who scores points?
Jammers are the only dedicated offensive players on a roller derby team and the only ones who can score points.  Her job is to fight her way through the pack with the assistance of her pivot and blockers (the opposition tries to stop her).  The first jammer who succeeds in passing the pivots and blockers is named the lead jammer for the remainder of the jam.

How are points scored?
Each player on the opposing team that the jammer passes is considered a point providing the jammer passes a blockers hips “in bounds, legally and without penalty”, according to the WFTDA rules and after the position of lead jammer is established.  As Tricksey Belt’em pointed out in her comments on previous post, the points only start accruing after the inital pass (ie the second lap the jammer makes).

What is a grand slam?
A jammer can score an extra point if she manages to lap everyone (including the opposition Jammer).  This is called a grand slam – it is equal to 5 points.

Finishing a Jam Early
The lead jammer is the only one on the track who can call off a jam prior to the 2 (or 1.5) minute period.  She can do this when she is too tired to continue, or as a matter of strategy to prevent the opposing team from scoring points.  She does this by placing her hands on her hips repeatedly.

Average Game Scores
While it has been rumored that a roller derby bout can yield up to 300 points (WTF ?!?) the average Adelaide Roller Derby bout scores varied anywhere from 50 to 100 in 2010.

If anyone has any further info regarding scoring, local roller derby stats and rules etc please comment below!  eg. out of curiosity, why did ADRD reduce the jam period from 2 minutes to 90 seconds?

So, now you’re a professional test your skills in this online roller derby game!

Posted in: LimboLand