Roller Derby as a Hobby: Rollin’ with the Punches

Roller derby as a hobby is not for the faint of heart.

It’s a fast-paced, full-contact sport that requires speed, agility, and a whole lot of attitude. But for those who are up for the challenge, roller derby can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering hobby.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, roller derby offers a unique opportunity to push yourself to your limits and become part of a tight-knit community of fierce and fearless skaters.

So why not lace up your skates and give it a try?

See Also: What Are Some Sports Hobbies?

What is Roller Derby?

If you’re looking for a thrilling, full-contact sport that combines speed, strategy, and athleticism, roller derby might be just the hobby for you. In this section, we’ll explore the history of roller derby, the different types of roller derby, and what makes it such an exciting sport to watch and play.

History of Roller Derby

Roller derby has a long and fascinating history that dates back to the 1930s. The sport was founded by Leo Seltzer, who wanted to create a new form of entertainment that would appeal to a wide audience.

The first roller derby games were endurance races that took place on a banked track, and they quickly became a popular form of entertainment across the United States.

In the 1950s, roller derby underwent a major transformation thanks to the influence of sports writer Damon Runyon.

Runyon introduced new rules and gameplay elements that made the sport more aggressive and exciting, and it became a sensation on television.

However, the popularity of roller derby waned in the 1970s and 1980s, and it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the sport experienced a resurgence.

Types of Roller Derby

Today, there are two main types of roller derby: flat track derby and banked track derby.

Flat track derby is the most common type of roller derby and is played on a flat, oval track. Banked track derby, on the other hand, is played on a steeply banked track that is similar to a velodrome.

In both types of roller derby, teams of five skaters compete against each other in full-contact gameplay.

Each team has a jammer, who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team, as well as blockers and a pivot, who work to prevent the other team’s jammer from scoring while helping their own jammer get through the pack.

Gameplay and Member Leagues

Roller derby is a sport that requires a combination of speed, agility, and strategy. It’s played on an oval track, and each game is made up of two 30-minute halves. During each half, there are multiple two-minute jams, in which both teams try to score as many points as possible.

One of the most exciting aspects of roller derby is the penalty box, where skaters who commit fouls are sent to sit out for a set amount of time. This means that teams must be strategic about when and how they commit fouls, as they don’t want to lose valuable players to the penalty box.

Roller derby has a strong following in the United States, with many member leagues across the country. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is the international governing body for the sport, and it has strict rules and regulations to ensure fair and safe gameplay.

Getting Started with Roller Derby

If you’re interested in joining the exciting world of roller derby, there are a few things you should know before lacing up your skates. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know to get started.

Joining a Team

The first step in getting started with roller derby is finding a team in your area. Most cities have at least one league, and many have multiple options to choose from. Do some research online or ask around in your local community to find a team that fits your needs.

When you find a team you’re interested in, reach out to them and ask about their recruitment process. Many teams have open tryouts or beginner boot camps where you can learn the basics of the sport and get a feel for the team dynamic.

Basic Skills and Equipment

Before you can start playing roller derby, you’ll need to master some basic skating skills and invest in the right equipment. Here are some of the essential items you’ll need:

  • Skates: Roller derby skates are different from regular quad skates. They have a low-cut boot and a wide wheelbase for stability. Look for skates that fit snugly and provide good ankle support.
  • Protective Gear: Roller derby is a full-contact sport, so you’ll need to protect yourself with a helmet, mouthguard, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads.
  • Clothing: Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for ease of movement. Many skaters wear leggings or shorts and a tank top or t-shirt.
  • Optional Gear: Some skaters choose to wear additional gear, such as padded shorts or shin guards, for added protection.

Training and Fitness

Roller derby requires a combination of endurance, strength, and agility. To prepare for the sport, you’ll need to focus on building your stamina and developing your skating skills. Here are some tips for getting in shape:

  • Cardio Training: Roller derby bouts are fast-paced and physically demanding, so you’ll need to have good cardiovascular endurance. Try running, cycling, or swimming to build your endurance.
  • Strength Training: Roller derby requires strong legs, core, and upper body. Incorporate strength training exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks into your workout routine.
  • Skating Practice: The more time you spend on your skates, the better you’ll become. Practice basic skating skills like stopping, turning, and skating backwards.
  • Team Practice: Joining a roller derby team is a great way to improve your skills and meet other skaters. Attend team practices regularly to hone your skills and learn new strategies.

The Community of Roller Derby

Roller derby is not just a sport, it’s a community. The members of this community are passionate about the game and the values it represents. In this section, we will explore the various aspects of the community of roller derby.

Leagues and Teams

Roller derby is played by member leagues that are organized into teams. These teams compete against each other in full-contact games. Each team has a roster of skaters who play different roles in the game. The jammers are the point scorers, while the blockers try to stop the opposing team’s jammer.

There are many resources available to help you find a league or team in your area. You can search online for local leagues or check out the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) website for a list of member leagues.

Volunteering and Officiating

Roller derby games require a lot of volunteers and officials to run smoothly. Volunteers help with tasks such as setting up the track, selling tickets, and providing first aid. Officials are responsible for ensuring that the game is played fairly and safely.

Volunteering and officiating are great ways to get involved in the roller derby community. You can learn more about these opportunities by contacting your local league or checking out the WFTDA website.

Resources and Recommendations

There are many resources available to help you learn more about roller derby. You can find books, online articles, and even podcasts that cover the sport and its history.

Some recommended resources include the WFTDA website, which has a wealth of information about the organization and the sport. Another great resource is the Roller Derby Athletics website, which offers training programs and coaching resources for skaters.

Inclusivity and Feminism

Roller derby has a strong tradition of inclusivity and feminism. The sport was founded by women and has always been a space for women to express themselves and compete on their own terms.

Today, roller derby is a diverse and inclusive community that welcomes skaters of all genders, races, and backgrounds. Many leagues have a feminist slant and work to promote gender equality and social justice.


In conclusion, the community of roller derby is a national sensation that has developed its own unique culture and values. Whether you are a skater, a volunteer, or a fan, there are many ways to get involved and be a part of this amazing community.