Off-season Homework: Read the Rules!

My league may be on break for the month, but that doesn’t mean I should be stopping. At our last league meeting of the year, members of the training committee mentioned having skaters ref during bouts they aren’t skating. Obviously, most of us would rather be playing than reffing, but not everyone can skate every bout.

I’ve heard that it’s really good for players to try their hand at reffing because it forces you to learn the rules. I mean, we all know the basics–track cuts, legal hitting zones, the jam doesn’t end until the fourth whistle, et cetera–but some of the finer details of the rules get overlooked by skaters. I think this is a great idea, especially since we have so few refs that skate in my league. It would also allow skaters who aren’t playing to still be able to be on skates and participating in bouts.

A while back I saw a post on off-season “homework” a skater assigned herself like do plenty of squats, jog, and watch more footage. I want to borrow that idea. Since I can’t keep up actually playing (and man oh man, do I miss being able to hit), I need to find other ways of getting better at derby. So I’m assigning myself the homework of reading the WFTDA rules (my league isn’t a WFTDA league, but we follow their rules), which I need to do in bits and pieces as some parts are hard to visualize and take in.

I also found this really cool web app called the Roller Derby Test O’Matic. It quizzes you on rules and keeps track of your score per session (or you can create an account and it will keep track of it over time). I’m not sure if this is geared more towards players or refs, but either way it’s a fun way to reinforce the rules. I was surprised (and embarrassed) by how few I knew with the first handful of questions I answered. Lesson learned: I need to study harder!

Have you ever sat down and read the full rule set? If you’re a player, have you ever reffed (or even considered reffing)?

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