Flat Track Terminology

Glossary (Official)

Apex Jump
An attempt to legally shorten the distance travelled around the curve of the track by leaping over the track boundary and landing back in bounds.

Helping a teammate. Examples include, but are not limited to, a push or a whip.

Bettering Position
Improving one’s position by passing an upright and standing or skating skater. A skater who improves their position while out of bounds by passing an upright and standing or skating skater who is in bounds and returning to the track in front of that skater is subject to Cutting the Track penalties.

The positional skaters who form the pack. The Pivot Blocker is one of the four Blockers per team allowed in each jam.

Blocking to the Back
Any contact to the back of the torso, buttocks, or legs of an opponent. It is not considered blocking from behind if the Blocker is positioned behind the opponent (as demarked by the hips) but makes contact to a legal target zone.

Blocking Zones
Areas of the body that may be used to hit an opponent when performing a block.

The skater identified to speak for the team. Only the Captain and the Designated Alternate may confer with the referees. If the Captain must leave the game, they can transfer their status to a teammate.

Any motion/movement toward an oncoming block by the receiving opponent designed to counteract an opponent’s block. Counter-blocking is treated as blocking and held to the same standards and rules. Standing up, turning away, ducking, etc. are not considered counter-blocking

Designated Alternate
The Captain selects an additional person to act in their stead; this person is the Designated Alternate. The Designated Alternate may be another skater, coach, or manager. A team shall only have one Designated Alternate.

Skaters are considered down if they have fallen, been knocked to the ground, have either or both knees on the ground, or have both hands on the ground. After going down or falling, a skater is considered down until the skater is standing, stepping, and/or skating. Stationary standing skaters are not considered down, nor are skaters who are falling but have not yet met the above criteria.

Engagement Zone
The zone in which Blockers may legally engage and be engaged. The legal Engagement Zone extends from 20 feet (6 meters) behind the rearmost pack skater to 20 feet (6 meters) in front of the foremost pack skater, between the inside and outside track boundaries. Jammers may engage each other outside of the Engagement Zone.

Any sort of interaction with another skater on the track during a jam.

Established Position
Where a skater is physically; an area of the track where the skater has secured their place. Examples: up, in bounds, down, out of bounds, in play, and/or out of play.

Removal by the Head Referee of a skater from the remainder of the game for serious illegal action, such as physical violence or any action deemed by the Officials to cause an extraordinary physical threat to others.

Fall Small
A skater is said to have “fallen small” if they fall with the arms and legs controlled, tucked into the body, and not flailing.

Fouling Out
Removal, by the Head Referee, of a skater from the remainder of the game for excessive turns served in the Penalty Box.

Game Roster
The skaters who are actually suited up and eligible to play on game day.

Physically holding onto something with a clenched fist. For example, grabbing a teammate’s uniform, or holding hands. The grasping skater’s arm, from the hand up to (but not including) the shoulder is considered to be part of the “grasp”. The teammate is not considered part of the grasp, unless the teammate is independently grasping.

Any behavior that occurs three or more times over the course of a game.

The laterally projecting prominence of the pelvis or pelvic region from the waist to the thigh. The central point of this area determines a pass, regardless of the direction the skater is facing.

Illegal Procedure
A technical infraction that gives the offending team an advantage but does not directly impact a specific opponent.

The first legal opportunity in which a skater may complete an action.

A skater or set of teammates is considered impenetrable from a certain direction when, to achieve a pass on one or more of the skaters, an opponent would need to physically break said teammates’ bones or joints. The parts that would need to be physically broken in order to pass are considered the “impenetrable” parts. For example, if two teammates are skating forwards with their arms around each others’ backs, the arms constitute an impenetrable wall, so that an opponent could not pass between the pair without breaking said arms.

In Bounds
A skater is in bounds at the beginning of the jam if they are in position at the beginning of the jam. A skater remains in bounds until they adopt a straddling or out-of-bounds position. Once out of bounds or straddling, a skater is considered to be in bounds once again once all parts of the skater that are touching the ground are touching within the track boundary.

In Play
When a Blocker is positioned within the Engagement Zone, the Blocker is in play. Jammers are always in play.

In Position
When a skater is on the track, in bounds, and in the designated area for their position, when the jam-starting whistle is blown.

Inactive Jammer
A skater designated as the Jammer who is not wearing the Jammer helmet cover in such a way that the stars are visible.

Initial Pass
The first pass a Jammer makes through the pack. It begins when a Jammer first legally enters the rear of the Engagement Zone (See Pass and Scoring Pass). No points are scored on this pass; the exceptions being Jammer lap points and during overtime.

Initiator of the Assist
The skater who reaches for, grabs, and/or pushes a teammate in order to help that teammate. A skater may also take an assist off of a teammate’s body, and would be initiating their own assist.

Initiator of the Block
The skater who makes contact with a target zone of an opponent is the initiator of the block. The initiator of a block is always responsible for the legality of the contact.

Willfully or neglectfully failing to comply with a referee’s orders. Wrongful or improper behavior motivated by intentional disregard for the rules.

The basic unit of play for the game (see Section 1 - Game Parameters).

The point scorer for the team. The Jammer is identified by stars on the helmet cover.

Jammer Lap Point
If one Jammer completely laps the opposing Jammer, that Jammer will score an additional point each time the Jammer fully laps that opposing Jammer. Exceptions occur when the opposing Jammer is not on the track.

A complete pass through the pack; this may require more than one trip around the track.

Lead Jammer
A strategic position established on the Jammer’s initial pass through the pack during each jam. The Lead Jammer is the first Jammer to pass the foremost in-play Blocker legally and in bounds, having already passed all other Blockers legally and in bounds.

Interlocking two arms via crooked elbows. Both skaters’ arms, up to (but not including) the shoulder are considered to be part of the “link”.

Low Block
Any contact that is below the legal blocking or target zone that causes the recipient to stumble or fall.

Wrongful or improper behavior motivated by intentional purpose or obstinate indifference to the rules.

Multi-Player Block
Impeding an opponent from passing between a skater and their teammate.

No Impact/No Penalty
A violation of the rules of the game that has limited impact on safety or game play, and does not warrant the skater to spend time in the
Penalty Box.

No Pack
A situation in which no pack can be defined. This occurs when there is not a group of Blockers (from both teams) skating within proximity to each other or when there are two or more equally numbered groups of Blockers not skating within proximity to each other.

Not-On-the-Track Point (NOTT Point)
A point given for an opponent who is not on the track that the Jammer earns immediately upon scoring the first point on any opposing Blocker in each scoring pass.

Officiating Number
Any sort of shortened or otherwise modified version of a skater’s roster number, used in order to facilitate communication amongst Officials.

Out of Bounds
A skater is out of bounds when any part of the skater’s body or equipment is touching the ground beyond the track boundary, including both arms or hands (one arm or hand does not render a skater out of bounds), or any part below the skater’s waist (e.g., a knee, a skate, or a hip). Skaters who are airborne maintain their prior in-bounds (or out-of-bounds, or straddling) status until they land. Skaters who are straddling are considered out of bounds, except where otherwise noted.

Out of Play
A Blocker who is positioned outside the Engagement Zone. If no pack is defined, all Blockers are Out of Play. Jammers are never Out of Play.

The largest group of in-bounds Blockers, skating or standing in proximity, containing members from both teams. The Jammers are independent of this definition.

Pack Skater
Any Blocker who is part of a legally defined pack.

Pass (noun)
A pass begins with the Jammer behind the pack and ends when the Jammer has cleared the Engagement Zone. The Jammer is immediately considered to be on their next pass once they have cleared the front of the Engagement Zone, if one exists, or immediately upon passing the foremost Blocker if there is no pack.

Pass (verb)
To end up in front of a skater, such that the passer’s hips went from being behind to being in front of the other skater’s hips.

Passing the Star (A.K.A., Star Pass)
The act of transferring Jammer status, which is accomplished by the Jammer handing their helmet cover (the Star) to the Pivot.

A violation of the rules of the game requiring the skater to serve time in the Penalty Box.

Pivot Blocker
Commonly referred to as the Pivot. A Blocker, with extra abilities and responsibilities.

Point of No Return
The far edge of the Penalty Box, in the counterclockwise direction, including its projection across the track.

Points Awarded in Error
Points that have not been legally earned by a Jammer and have been awarded to the team incorrectly and/or erroneously by an Official or as the result of a technology malfunction.

Positional Blocking
Blocking without contact; positioning oneself so as to impede an opponent’s movement on the track. It may also be done unintentionally if the blocking skater is not aware of the opponent’s position behind the blocking skater.

A measure of distance for in-play skaters that is defined as skating not more than 10 feet (3 meters) in front of or behind the nearest pack skater.

A skater taking a position in front of an opponent who has already passed the skater.

The act of passing an opponent who has already been passed during the current lap. If the Jammer drops back behind an opponent that the Jammer passed illegally, by being reengaged or repositioning, the Jammer may attempt to pass the opponent again legally.

Relative Position
A skater’s location, when in bounds and upright, in relation to other skaters involved in the action. Relative position is said to be “gained” or “lost” if said location changes in a way that gives or loses some advantage (for example, one skater passing another, or being put down, out of bounds, or out of play).

Scoring Pass
Any pass a Jammer makes through the pack after the completed initial pass. Points may only be earned on scoring passes. A Jammer lap point is independent of this definition.

A skater whose buttocks is in full contact with the seat of the chair or bench.

Using one’s skates to move. This can include stepping in any direction, rolling, and sliding on the wheels, as well as stepping in any direction and/or sliding on the toe stops.

Slide Tackling
A skater who leaps and/or slides and extends their leg(s) or arm(s) in order to disrupt the movement of another opponent’s feet and/or legs.

A skater who is upright holding their body weight on their skates. When a skater is told to stand in the Penalty Box, the skater must stand fully erect and cannot maintain a crouched or hovering position over the seat. It must be clear to all Officials and spectators that the seat is now available for a teammate to occupy.

A skater not making any directional movement with their skates.

Straddling Skater
An out-of-bounds skater who is partially touching inside the track boundary line. Straddling skaters are considered “out of bounds”, except where otherwise noted.

Replacing a skater on the track or in the Penalty Box with a teammate.

The Star
The Jammer helmet cover, which has two stars on it, one on each side.

Target Zones
Areas of the body on an opponent that a skater may hit when performing a block.

Any skater who is not considered “down” (see Down).

A formal verbal indication from the referee that play is improper and that a skater must take corrective action.

Glossary (Generalized)

The Players

A skater whose job is to stop (or block) the other team’s jammer from passing while also enabling her own team’s jammer to score. Typically, there are four blockers per team on the track, including the pivot. The remaining blocker positions are often referred to by number: two, three, and four, usually with the pivot at the front and the four at the back.

The skater on the track who can score points. The jammer is identified by the star on her helmet. The jammer starts each jam behind the pack. After she has lapped the pack once (known as a non-scoring pass), she is eligible to score points for each subsequent skater hips she laps.

Lead jammer
The first jammer to emerge from the pack, without incurring a penalty, is designated by the referee as the lead jammer. She now has the advantage of being able to call off the jam if she wishes.

The mass of blockers, 4 from each team skating around the track together. Each jammer’s goal is to get through or around the pack.

Pivot (also known as position 1)
The blocker who stays to the front of the pack and regulates pack speed. The pivot can be identified by the stripe on her helmet. The pivot has the ability to swap places with the jammer. Each team has one pivot.

The Game

One game or match. A bout lasts 60 minutes and is divided into two 30 minute periods.

Calling off the jam
The lead jammer can end a jam at any time by tapping her hands against her hips. This strategy can help prevent the other team’s jammer from scoring points if the lead jammer loses the advantage.

False start
A minor penalty that occurs when a player crosses the starting line before the whistle is blown a blocker crosses the pivot line before the first jam whistle is blown, or a jammer crosses the jammer line before the second jam whistle is blown. This penalty can escalate to a major if the skater does not yield her advantage.

Four (4)
The blocker who plays the fourth position and usually stays at the back of the pack. This blocker is the first line of defense against the opposing jammer. Four can also refer to the accumulation of four minor penalties.

A two-minute period during which the action happens. The jam may last less than two minutes if the lead jammer call off the jam. There may be any number of jams in a bout.

Major a penalty.
"A foul that has a measurable physical force or effect which causes harm or adversely affects the game” (WFTDA). Examples include tripping or hitting a skater when she is down on the ground. One major will get a skater sent to the penalty box for one minute.

Minor a penalty.
"A foul that has a measurable physical force or effect but does not cause harm or adversely affect the game" (WFTDAExamples include skating out of bounds to avoid a block or elbowing an opponent but not causing her to lose her position. When a skater accumulates four minors, she is sent to the penalty box for one minute.

Nonscoring Pass
The jammer‘s first pass through the pack. During this pass, the jammer is eligible to obtain lead jammer status, but she does not score any points.

A rule-breaking offense observed and called by a referee.

Penalty Box
When skaters accumulate four minor penalites or one major, they skate off the rink and spend one minute per infraction before returning to play. The penalty box has 3 seats for each team, one of which is designated for the jammer. Thus, the most players than can be in the box at once from any one team is two blockers and one jammer.

Referee or ref
Also known as a zebra. An enforcer of the rules. Referees are dressed in black and white stripes and have whistles so that they can start and end jams and draw attention to penalties. Jam refs keep track of jammers, while pack refs (some inside the track boundary and some outside) keep track of the pack.

Scoring Pass
Any pass through the pack after the jammer‘s first pass (the nonscoring pass). At this time the jammer racks up points for each opponent she passes.

Swapping players in between jams. Unlike other sports, no call needs to be made by a coach or ref; the skaters simply exchange places and leave/enter the track as needed.

Three (3)
The blocker who plays the third position on the track.

Two (2)
The blocker who plays the second position on the track. Often this blocker teams up with the pivot (1) to control the front of the pack.

When two or more blockers skate side-by-side to create a multi-player block to contain another team’s player(s).

Other Terms

A motion administered by one player to help another player (usually the jammer) gain advantage. An assist includes pushing, pulling, redirecting, or whipping another skater.

Back block
A penalty that is incurred when a player makes contact with an opponent’s back, which is an illegal target zone.

Blocking zone
A part of the body with which it is permissible to hit another skater. Blocking must be done to a legal target zone. Legal blocking zones include the arms from the shoulder to above the elbow; the torso; the hips; the butt; and the mid- and upper thigh. Illegal blocking zones include elbows; forearms; hands; head; and any part of the leg below the mid-thigh.

A very powerful hit that is delivered by skating parallel to the target, then suddenly curving one’s skates (in an almost c-like path) toward the target, effectively connecting with the chest at the front of the target’s body.

The motion of crossing one leg/skate in front of another, particularly when going around turns in the track. This movement enables agile skating and also helps a skater maintain her speed around the turns.

Cutting The Track
A penalty wherein a skater goes out of bounds, passes an in-bounds skater, and re-enters the track in front of that skater. This is a minor penalty, but if a) the skater cuts multiple players, or b) the skater she cuts is the foremost member of the pack, then it is a major penalty.

Falling Small
Trying to keep your body as small as possible when hitting the ground to prevent other skaters from tripping over you. If you do not fall small, you may incur a major penalty by tripping another player.

Fishnet Burn
A form of rink rash that occurs when a skater is wearing fishnets and the resulting burn has the distinct criss-cross pattern on the skin.

Fresh Meat
New recruits.

Grand Slam
When a jammer succeeds in lapping the opposing team’s jammer.

Hip Check
A bump delivered using the hips while skating immediately next to the target.

Hip Whip
A form of assist in which a player (usually the jammer) grabs her teammate’s hips to swing herself forward.

When a skater makes forceful contact with another skater.

Jammer Line
A starting line on the track, located behind the pivot line, from which the jammers depart on the referee’s second whistle. Jammers may touch, but not cross, the line. If a jammer crosses the jammer line before the second whistle, it is designated a false start.

A powerful hit that employs an upward trajectory of the blocker’s body. The blocker stays low, and when she’s ready to hit, gets in front of her target, swoops her body low and then upward in a j-motion, and throws her shoulder into the target’s chest.

Lap (verb):
To make one full pass through the pack; noun: one full pass through the pack. Note that this may take more than just one trip around the length of the track. Can also be used to describe the length of the track (e.g., from jammer line to jammer line).

Protective gear required for skaters: wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. Skaters are additionally required to wear a helmet and mouth guard.

A stretchy helmet cover that is used to designate the jammer (with a star) or a pivot (with a stripe).
Passing The Star
A strategic play in which the jammer removes her helmet cover (the star) and gives it to the pivot, enabling the pivot to become the new jammer and thus score points.

Penalty Kill
When a team stalls or tries to slow down the action while waiting for a teammate (usually the jammer) to be released from the penalty box.

Pivot Line
The starting line for the pack that is in front of the jammer line. Only the pivot is permitted to start on the pivot line; all other blockers must be lined up behind her hips. The pack may cross the pivot line once referee blows the first whistle to signal the start of the jam. If any skater crosses the line before the whistle, it is designated a false start.

Positional Blocking
Using the body to obstruct another skater’s path rather than forcefully hitting her.

Power Jam
A situation where in one team’s jammer has been sent to the penalty box, and thus only the team with a jammer on the track can score.

Skates with four wheels positioned two in front and two in back, contrasted with inline skates. Players cannot wear inline skates, only quads.

When a set of two or more blockers rotate in a circular motion, sending one blocker after another to issue continuous hits to an opponent. This is also known as a waterfall.

Rink Rash
A burn injury that occurs when flesh is dragged against a rink surface. Ouch!

Roller Girl/Doll
A female skater.

A technique for slowing down or stopping in which the stance is widened and the toes are turned inward to decrease momentum.

The symbol on a helmet panty that indicates the jammer.

A technique for slowing down or stopping in which one skate is dropped behind the other skate and turned perpendicularly, and the wheels of the back skate are dragged.

Taking A Knee
If a skater is seriously injured on the track and the jam is called, it is common practice for skaters to drop to one knee while the injured skater is treated.

Target Zone
An area of the body which may be hit. Legal target zones include hands, arms, chest, abdomen, sides, hips, and the front and sides of the legs to the mid-thigh. Illegal target zones include the head, neck, back, butt, back of the thighs, and any part of the leg below mid-thigh.

Three Board
A slang term for a surface, usually a whiteboard, on which an nso writes the numbers of skaters who have accumulated three minor penalties, listed by team. This board is usually hoisted and visible to refs, skaters, and the bench.

Toe Guard
A device, usually leather or plastic, designed to protect the toe of the skate boot from damage.

Toe Stop
Hardware for the skate that is plugged in to the plate beneath the toes. Often used for starts and stops.

The oval-shaped surface demarcated by an inner and outer boundary wherein the action takes place.

The process of changing directions while skating from forwards to backwards or vice versa.

A major penalty in which one skater makes contact with another skater intentional or not in the no-contact zone below the knee, causing that skater to lose her balance and fall.

Truck and Trailer
When two teammates skate, one directly in front of the other, with the front (truck) pulling the back (trailer). Can be an effective method of getting a jammer through a pack.

A curve in the track. Usually these are referred to numerically. The first turn past the pivot line is turn 1, the second is turn 2, etc.

Turn Stop
A stopping technique in which a skater reverses the direction she is skating (transitioning from forward to backwards) before stopping, usually by going up on her toe stops.

Twenty (20) Feet
A referee call when a skater is out of the twenty-foot range of the pack and thus out of play. Blockers may not hit or assist and must immediately yield to opposing jammers upon reaching this point whether or not the call has been made by the ref. If they do not, they may earn an out of play penalty.

When a set of two or more blockers rotate in a circular motion, sending one blocker after another to issue continuous hits to an opponent. This process is also known as recycling.

Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. This is a regulatory body that organizes leagues and establishes rules and rankings.

An assist technique wherein one skater uses another skater’s momentum to propel herself. For example, a jammer may grab a blocker’s arm, and the blocker will use her power and momentum to pull the jammer forward.