FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can join?
In accordance to the WFTDA Guidelines, BCB is committed to inclusive and anti-discrimination practices in relation to all transgender women, intersex women, and gender expansive participants. Any person over the age of 18 can join BCB as a skater if they feel women’s flat track roller derby is the best place for them to pursue the sport. Everyone is welcome to join our Bomb Squad as a referee or non-skating official if on-skates game play is not their preferred way to engage with the sport. We also have a juniors league with two age ranges: 6-11 and 12-17.
Do I have to be a certain size to play?
Absolutely not! Our league, like many others, has a wide range of body types and athletic backgrounds. Your body is always an asset--that's one of the beautiful things about roller derby! No matter what size or shape you are, there is a position for you!
Do I have to be a great skater?
Skating experience is great, but not required. We recommend that you get out on your skates with proper safety gear and get familiar with what it feels like to be on skates prior to your first day with BCB. Come prepared to challenge yourself both mentally and physically, and to listen closely to all your trainer's instructions. Let them know if you're brand-new to skating or recovering from an injury. BCB's training program consists of two phases, each geared toward a specific skills level.
- Phase 1 covers basic skating skills: stability, cross-overs, stopping, falling safely and getting back up again.
- Phase 2 covers skills specific to roller derby: skating in close proximity to other skaters, positional blocking, and hitting.
Each phase is eight weeks and culminates in an assessment, where you have a chance to pass up to the next phase. Passing your assessment at the end of Phase 2 makes you a fully fledged WFTDA roller derby skater!
What gear do I need?
You’ll need quad roller skates with adjustable toe-stops (the sort that screw in on a 5/8" bolt and get locked in position with a hex nut). You’ll also need a helmet that can handle multiple impacts (skateboard or snowboard helmets are OK; bicycle helmets aren’t) and pro-quality knee pads as well as elbow pads, wrist guards, and a mouth guard.
What about insurance?
All of our skaters, both referees and team members, must obtain WFTDA insurance, which covers catastrophic events during our practices and bouts. It costs $65 per year. Please fill out the online WFTDA Insurance application before your first practice--you will not be able to skate in practice or skate/referee at bouts without WFTDA coverage! Please note that WFTDA Insurance is not health insurance and won't cover you outside of practice and bouts. We strongly encourage you to carry your own primary health insurance. More information about obtaining your WFTDA coverage is discussed at the new recruit night.
What if I get hurt?
Roller derby is a contact sport that could put you at risk of injury. That’s why protective gear and WFTDA insurance are required and primary insurance is recommended. The rate of injury in derby is comparable to soccer; however, through skills training, education, and strength building, we do our best to minimize your chance of injury. Sprains, strains, pulled muscles, and fractures can happen. Take your time, learn the basics, and listen to your body. We also recommend you exercise outside of practice, including weight training, cardio, or yoga. This will not only help you improve your game, but will significantly decrease your risk of injuries on skates. If you have preexisting injuries, we recommend you consult your medical practitioner about the additional risks of playing a contact sport. If you experience a minor injury on the track, please consult an appropriate specialist--without adequate treatment minor injuries can become major ones.
What can I expect from a typical practice?
Practice actually begins about 15 minutes before the scheduled start time to give you ample time to get your gear on and skate a few laps at your own pace. Usually, the trainer will lead a group warm-up. The rest of the two hour practice will cover skills appropriate for each phase level (skating skills vs. derby skills). We will work with you no matter what your experience is, creating drills that focus on what everyone needs to work on.
What does roller derby actually look like?
Check out the basics here: https://wftda.com/new-fans/
A game of roller derby is called a bout. A bout is divided into plays, called jams, which may last up to two minutes. To start a jam, each team sends five skaters onto the track: four blockers and one jammer. One blocker from each team wears a stripe on their helmet; this is the pivot. The blockers from both teams, together, form the pack. The jammer, who wears a star on their helmet, starts behind the pack and is the only one who can score points. The jam starts when the whistle blows! Blockers play offense and defense simultaneously, attempting to assist their jammer through the pack while preventing the opposing jammer from getting through. The first jammer to pass all of both teams’ blockers legally and in-bounds is the lead jammer, which allows them to call off the jam. Both jammers begin to score points on their second and subsequent passes through the pack. Until the end of the jam (either at two minutes or until the lead jammer calls the jam), the jammers score a point for each opposing skater they pass, including those in the penalty box. The full rule set can be found at http://www.wftda.com/rules. And you can watch some great derby online at http://www.wftda.tv/!
When do I get my derby name?
In BCB, skaters earn their derby names by passing the WFTDA Minimum Skills Assessment. A derby name is a chance to have an alter ego, be a rockstar, or just pick a badass nickname. We ask that you choose a name unique to the league (and try not to choose one that rhymes with another skater’s name-it’s confusing on the track!). Consider some googling before committing so you don’t end up copying a famous skater! Any number not taken by a BCB skater is fair game. Also, try to keep it PG-13 or you may get edited by bout announcers and rosters.
I'm already an experienced derby skater! How do I transfer into your league?
We're thrilled you've chosen to join our league. If you are already an active and WFTDA-assessed roller derby skater, email Human Resources Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide written proof of WFTDA test showing a passing grade. Provide name and contact information from your previous league to verify WFTDA status and references. If you have not yet passed the WFTDA minimum skills assessment, or if you have been off-skates for more than 6 months, talk to our Training Admin Committee (email@example.com) about scheduling your assessment with BCB and practices.