Jamming with Roller Girls: A Roller Derby Primer

  • Atlanta Rollergirls

    Photo by O-Jen Ishii Photography.

If you’re looking for something a little different to do this winter, check out a roller derby match and cheer on one of the six Georgia women’s teams. The roller derby season runs from Dec. 1 – June 30, with divisional playoffs based on rankings.

Where to See Roller Derby

Atlanta, Athens, Columbus, Marietta, Savannah and Augusta all have Women’s Flat Track Derby Association certified teams. The teams have great names, too. There are the Atlanta Rollergirls, the Savannah Derby Devils, Classic City Rollergirls from Athens, Muscogee Roller Girls from Columbus, the Augusta Soul City Sirens, and the Peach State Roller Derby from Marietta.

How to Play Roller Derby

Most people know that roller derby is played on roller skates in a flat circular arena, but that’s where the knowledge ends. Here is a quick primer so you’ll understand what you are watching at your first bout.

A bout is one roller derby game or match, lasting 60 minutes and divided into two 30-minute periods. The bout is played between two teams. Each team has five players on the track, one pivot, three blockers and a jammer. The pivot, also known as position 1, stays in the front and regulates the speed. Blocker is pretty self-explanatory; they block the jammer from getting through. The jammer is the only player on the team that can score points. They do that by lapping the opposing team’s players.

How to Recognize the Players

To tell the different positions apart, look at the skater’s helmet. The pivot has a strip on her helmet. The jammer has a star. However, in the middle of play, these two can switch. The jammer can remove her helmet cover (the star) and give it to the pivot, who puts it on and becomes the new jammer (and point scorer).

Roller Skating in Georgia

Inspired by watching a roller derby match, you may want to practice your skating skills at one of these 13 roller skating rinks around Georgia. In addition to family skating, several of the rinks have adult-only nights or special teen evenings.


Sue Rodman

Sue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the managing editor of the award-winning family travel site 365 Atlanta Family.

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