Monday, November 19, 2012

The New Rules

If you haven't read 'em...

Let's do the bad news first:  No improvement to the pack definition.  That's right, the sausage play, the standstill, all of that is still 100% legal.  As WFTDA rules are voted on, that means that the sort of derby that elicits booing from skaters and fans alike at major tournaments is totally condoned.  Unfortunate.

Also, WFTDA have made the usual unit of derby "10 feet (3m)"  Please somebody tell them those are not the same distance!  Ok, I'll admit, the difference is three inches.  Just annoys a numbers guy.

Good News

Much more of this.  First off, let's take a look at the pre-jam positioning rules. and are some of the more awkwardly written rules in the book, yet are some of the wisest at the same time.  As I read them, I picture a 30's gangster in his hat with his cigar saying "No funny business, say..."

That's what these two do.  They already outlaw pulling tricks to extend a no-pack start.  I had not even thought of having blockers start laid out on the track to delay the time until they're upright.  Now, that's already banned.  Great move, WFTDA!

Oh, and guess what?  Single whistle starts!  So, why even start in a no-pack anyhow?  The scrum became so standard that WFTDA have decided to release the jammers immediately.  When 90% of the game was single whistle starts, why the hell not?  So, a team wanting a scrum can crowd the jammer line, and a team not wanting one can start up the front.  Well done!


Seems when considering roller derby rules, skaters and refs alike naturally reach for the penalty section first.  When they heard that minors were to be excised, many were concerned that this would undermine the idea of safety.

Safety is protected in rule 6.3.9, for example, baring "habitual contact" that would constitute a no-impact-no-penalty low block.  Thus, that skater who would rack up minors from poor skating form still gets trips to the bin.  But now less paperwork needs to be done to send her there.

As well as protecting safety, they also explicitly enhance fairness to the individual skater.  Rule 6.3.2 states that a skater who "falls small" CANNOT be given a low block penalty for having been blocked to the floor.  She is protected by rule if she does her due diligence in tucking herself in.  This is one that I know a good number of skaters will be glad are cleared up.

Track Cut

No Minors?  Where will the minor track cut go?

Simple!  Cut one opponent?  Box.  Cut two teammates?  Box.

Re-enter the track from the penalty box in front of one in-play skater?  Box.

False start?  Box.

Keeps it easy on refs, skaters, fans, NSOs, announcers.  Hell, even the DJ can keep up with everything that's going on now!

Taking Effect

When do they take effect?  Well, if your league is WFTDA, then the next tournament will be done under these rules and all sanctioned bouts from 1 January.  If you're league isn't, then it's up to you and the leagues you're playing.  When bout contracts are negotiated, one clause covers the set of rules to be used.  Thus, it's up to your bouts organisation committee to decide when they take effect.

I would recommend practising with them right away.  Why not scrimmage in training tonight or tomorrow?  Give them a go, and start putting them into your contracts.  Won't it be nice to be able to reduce the number of NSOs?


WFTDA did well.  These were worth the wait, agonising as it was.  Are they perfect?  No, but they couldn't be.  Somebody would be unhappy about something in them, no matter what was done.  I would score WFTDA an 8/10 on this one.

Bloody good job!  Enjoy the rules!  Roll on!

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