Posts Tagged ‘MADE’

Points Per Jam: Roller Derby’s Default Difficulty

It should be difficult for a roller derby team to score points. So why does it often seem so easy for them to be scored instead?

Derby scoring has seemingly been getting easier and easier over the last several years, with point totals climbing higher and higher. This year’s rules updates appear to have addressed this trend, sure. But even taking games played in 2014, it is still not abnormal for many of them to end with a combined total score of 300, 400, 500, 600 (!), or even more than 700 (!!!) points.

Press me for 5 points. And again. And again…

Press me for 200 points.

Whether point totals of such magnitude were reached in a close game or a blowout, if it is possible for two teams to together score that often in a 60-minute game, any individual pass for a point, let alone the non-scoring initial passes, must be relatively easy to accomplish.

If it were really that difficult to get points, there wouldn’t be so many of them scored in the first place!

Very high-scoring games still happen quite a lot in the WFTDA and MRDA, especially during mismatches. Scoreboard-spinners can also show up in other derby variants, like in USARS, MADE, or the RDCL.

However, games where the scoreboard hits perilously high totals are less frequent in non-WFTDA forms of roller derby, and of a lesser magnitude when they do happen. This is in part because scoring points is appreciably harder to do, on the average, in these versions of the game.

As a result, these games can often be much more competitive.

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Another Derby Extra: The RollerCon Seminar

another-derby-seminar-rollercon-2013-2

Didn’t go to RollerCon this year? Or maybe you were there, and you couldn’t make it to Another Derby: The Seminar.

Well, that is egg on your face. Those who went saw something special, as evidenced by these actual testimonials:

• “That was a fucking AWESOME seminar, thank you!”

• “At least there are people thinking about the big picture. Thanks for continuing to care, WindyMan.”

• “Simply amazing – people who weren’t there don’t know what they missed.

• “Thank you for doing this!”

Regrets? Fret not. Now everyone can get in on the best kept secret in roller derby: Roller derby itself.

Find out the hows and whys of the game, from the pack, to the pivot, to power jams. Discover what all roller derby rule sets, past and present, have in common. Then see how this knowledge can be applied to the modern game in a way that benefits everyone. (WFTDA, I’m looking at you!) Even if you know derby—or rather, if you think you know derby—get ready to love the game you love in another brand-new way.

The 75-minute seminar has been enhanced with full diagrams and video overlays, so you’ll know exactly what’s happening through every concept and video as it’s happening.

Check it out below:

Thanks for watching, and thanks for spreading the knowledge. Knowledge is power!

Active Pivot Rules and Delayed Breakouts

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That’s no ordinary pivot back there: It’s an active pivot that is eligible to score. There is a lot of strategy behind that stripe. (Photo Credit: Joe Rollerfan)

The three roller derby rule sets that use the active pivot—a pivot that is eligible to break and score only once the opposing jammer has become lead—results in quick-hitting play.

This addition—better said, restoration—to MADE, OSDA, and USARS rules changes how teams must approach strategy on a jam-by-jam and game-long basis. The tactics that teams have at their disposal on offense with an active pivot, and the corresponding considerations they must deal with on defense, makes these versions of roller derby very dynamic.

It also tends to make them quite fast. Teams need to press forward to protect or envelop the pivots at the front of the pack, as well as cover the incoming jammer at the rear. Because such a defense naturally spreads a team out, it must speed up to help keep opposing blockers behind them more easily.

Of course, players will have to slow down at some point to get their jammer out, blocking opponents to score. Still, the quicker an individual player or team is, the more strategy options they would have available to them when playing in a faster game. They would be capable of doing things at speed that a lesser-skilled team could.

However, this doesn’t automatically mean that the faster team will always win in the active pivot game. Speed is only one component of the roller derby equation. A good team should also be proficient at using their brains to come up with counter-tactics against a fast team, then using their brawn to execute those tactics better than their opponents.

Which is why when I see a team with lead jammer do this, especially when it happens over and over, I have to wonder where their brains are:

Once an inexperienced, slow, or otherwise outmatched jammer breaks from the pack to pick up lead status, a pivot with a speed and positional advantage will activate and chase. If the speed differential between these two players is significant, it will almost always result in an instant jam call-off.

Jammers that find themselves in this situation are entering a speed race that they are certain to lose. Teams that do this frequently—as seen above—may appear to have no chance to score points on most jams, as it looks to be impossible to stop a fast pivot consistently laying claim to or otherwise sandbagging at the front of the pack.

But even if a team isn’t fast enough, they can still be smart enough and good enough to score in an apparently disadvantageous situation.

The way to go about turning the tables sounds counter-intuitive: Have the jammer not go out on a scoring pass. At least, not immediately.

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Roller Derby 2013 Preview: The End of the Beginning

Happy new year, roller derby—it’s going to be a doozy.

That’s because 2013 will see a number of changes, additions, milestones, and opportunities across all five of the major roller derby organizations. On the track, off the track, in the rules, or in the pocketbook; everyone’s doing something of major significance this year, and many of these things could have long-lasting effects on the game.

Taken on the whole, it gives the impression that modern roller derby itself, soon to be 13 years young, is starting to get ready to move on to the next stage of growth…almost like a pre-teen not too far away from starting puberty. Since roller derby doesn’t have any parents to give them “The Talk” (thank goodness!), it will collectively have to figure out what that stage is going to look like and how it will effect to the greater health of the game. Even if that stage may ultimately be a few years off, we’re definitely starting to wind down the modern game’s childhood days.

If 2013 is to be the end of modern roller derby’s beginning, let’s take a pre-emptive trip down memory lane and see what major events and important news items derby needs to keep an eye on from the WFTDA, the MRDA, the RDCL, USARS, and even MADE. From new rules, new organizational structures, new opportunities, and even a $20,000 banked track tournament—this is not going to be a year that roller derby will ever want to forget.

WFTDA

wftda-logoOf all the changes in the WFTDA happening this year, the one that will have the biggest impact is the new 2013 WFTDA roller derby rules, which officially went into effect on January 1. As the de facto flat track roller derby ruleset, a significant number of leagues, including all those under WFTDA sanction, obviously, will be playing by the new rules in games from this point forward.

In addition to updating the text of the rules, the WFTDA has updated its rules revision process, too. After taking a lot of heat from many regarding what resulted from the update cycle of its 2010 rules, the WFTDA has already indicated that rules updates will be coming in at higher frequencies than in the past, stating that there may even be an update later in 2013. It’s also taking feedback of issues directly via a rules issues reporting database to help speed things along, which is great.

The number of derby events played using WFTDA rules is mind-boggling, and 2013 is likely to see that number increase. But if there’s ever been a bellwether for where teams are at—and how the rules are holding up—heading into playoff season, it’s the East Coast Derby Extravaganza (June 28-30). Traditionally the last major event before playoff rankings are locked-in for the fall tournament season, this year’s iteration may become even more significant considering… Continue reading

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