STOP It’s Jam Time

Hello you lovely bunch of people and welcome back to the PRG NSO blog! I know we have been a tad lazy for the past couple of months and haven’t written the blog for a while, but we are back and in full swing for the New Year!

There is so much to catch up on, so let’s start with the awesome news!

Preston Roller Girls are officially Tier 3! We have been promoted and will be skating in the Tier 3 North British Championships games this year, and as you can imagine we are super excited! With this though come some new challenges for our lovely NSOs and Refs, so we want to make sure that we keep everyone updated with what’s going on and telling you all about the roles YOU could do for PRG as an NSO!

So let’s get started shall we….

In the last instalment we told you all about scorekeeping and what is involved, this week we are going to be focusing on Jam Timing and what you need to know to make you the best whistle blower you can be!

So let’s start with the basics and have a look at what the main role of the jam timer is:

The Jam Timer is the most visible NSO in a bout. They start each jam with a whistle, and time the two minutes for a full jam.

And that’s just the beginning, the jam timer has a few different things that they need to make sure they do during a bout, so let’s get into the details. One of the main things the Jam Timer needs to do is time the jam (I mean it says it in the name!) and if the jam isn’t called off early by the Lead Jammer, then the Jam Timer will whistle for the end of the jam after two minutes. At the same moment, they start timing the 30 second period until the next jam. When there are 5 seconds remaining, they call “five seconds” to warn the skaters, then whistle to start the next jam.

The Jam Timer also stands on track and indicates a hand signal if either team or the officials call for a time out. Let’s have a look at what these signals are with some awesome pics of the lovely WFTDA officials!

  1. Team Time Out – As the Jam Timer you will stand on the Pivot line and make this signal (hands like a T) and then point to the team who are having the time out!

Time Out

Official Time Out – The Refs can call for an official timeout at any point during a game, this can be for a number of reason (like track repair, issues with the scoreboard or to have a discussion about the game between the refs). When an official review is called the Jam Timer should again stand on the Pivot Line and do this signal:

Official Time Out

  1. Official Review – During any bout each team has one official review for each half which can be used at any time. Again the Jam Timer will need to stand on the Pivot Line and do this signal, then point to the team who have called the official review (and then repeat the movement, don’t just stand there pointing, how rude!).

Official Review

So those are your basic signals for when any reviews or timeouts are called, pretty easy right (now don’t roll your eyes at me) it takes time to get used to remembering all of these, Dem’olisher always gets them wrong!

Some of you eagle eyed readers will be sat there wondering why we said whistles, what about the whistles (calm down it’s not a rave, although sometimes you might think the Refs are having one).

Again we will turn to the wonderful WFTDA for some help with this:

  • Jam-starting Whistle
    • One short
  • Jam Called Off/Ended
    • Four rapid
  • End of Bout & End of First Half
    • One long rolling whistle

Now letting you hear them is a tad more difficult to put on a blog (never worry though Dem’olisher is on it so watch this space for these to be added soon), but the simple answer is just to get in touch and one of fabulous HNSOs (even if we do say so ourselves) will show you exactly what you need to do!

There are only a couple more rules that we need to mention (I know this means that this instalment is nearing its end, noooooo I hear you all say!).

Firstly you need to make sure you have two stopwatches, the first is for timing the whole bout and the other is used to time each jam. As you can imagine this can get a bit complicated but the basic rules are, if an official review etc is called then the game clock stops and the same applies for half time. But in the general mix of things the game clock just keeps running!

And last but not least, the final role of the Jam Timer is to communicate with the Scoreboard Operator to tell them how long your game stopwatch has left when an official review or half time is called etc. This is done easily with hand signals (no running to and from involved, BONUS!), let’s have a look at what these are now:

  • Example – The game stopwatch is showing 26:30 left of the bout but when you check the scoreboard is showing as 26:35 left. You as the Jam Timer should get the attention of the Scoreboard Operator (they should be looking at your beautiful face anyway) and do the following signals:

Hand Signals

This signal just means Down by Five! Simple and easy. So the others are exactly the same (except sometimes you might need to use your hands and feet, ok this is a joke, don’t lay down on track and start sticking your feet up in the air!).

So now you know how to jam time! If you have any questions let us know by commenting below and someone will get back to you!

If you have any suggestions or things you want to know for future editions of Whistles and Clipboards then why not get in touch here.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading everyone but for now we will blow our whistles at you and call time with a long rolling whistle!

Dem’olisher and Iron Maeven


Let’s Tally Up The Score!

Well, well, well look who turned up landing here again… Now I gave you the benefit of the doubt last time in thinking you had stumbled upon our blog whilst looking at the beautiful PRG skaters, but this time no excuses, admit it you have a problem….you’re hooked on NSO’ing!

But you know what it’s one of the best obsessions you will EVER have! I mean who doesn’t want to look at skater’s butts when in the sin bin (wait who said that? Iron Maeven was that you!) Anyway back on topic. We are so glad you did end up here again because you know what we have got a surprise for you.

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This week we are going to be telling you all about NSO’ing at the Tier 3 champs game in Birmingham and starting to look at each NSO position in more detail…..ah but which one I hear you all shouting (ok ok I will tell you!), well today we are going to be focusing on, drum roll please……..Scorekeeping (Wooohooo, yeahhhhhhhh).

So I think we will start with Tier 3 playoffs and hand it over to Dem’olisher.

So after setting off at 4am on a cold Saturday morning from Preston (dedication of course!) looking like a zombie and basically snarling I finally made it to Birmingham and the venue for 7.30am.

I was super nervous as this was my first champs playoffs without anyone else from PRG there (ahhhhhhh!) but you know what I was ridiculously excited. I couldn’t wait to see what the day had in store for me and well it was amazing.

I got to NSO 4 games and see some of the best refereeing/skating I had ever seen. I also think that I can now say I can score keep like a pro! I am not going to lie it was intense and the pressure was hard to deal with at times, just to try and put this into perspective, you have 2 teams of skaters who are working their butts off to score points and you are the one recording what the ref’s are telling you and relaying it to the scoreboard operator. If we get it wrong, well it all gets a bit crazy!

So at times NSO’ing can be a bit difficult, but you can say that about anything that’s worth doing! And well the people you meet, the places you get to go and the amazing skating you get to see makes up for all the early starts, extra time and the effort you put in!

Now onto the nitty gritty. As we mentioned today we are going to be focusing on Scorekeeping in all of its glory.

So where to start, well how about a definition of what scorekeeping actually is in Roller Derby (you can also find this here on our website)!


Scorekeepers: The Scorekeepers (one for each team) record the points scored by the jammer for each scoring pass. The score is indicated to them with a (very simple!) hand signal from the team’s Jammer Ref.

Make sense? I mean it might not (and man those hand signals can change!) so let’s have a look at what the hand signals might be:

Hand signals

Now some of you eagle eyed NSO’s out there may have noticed that the Ref’s you have worked with don’t use these signals and you would be 100% right, the reason for this is that they are open to interpretation. So this means that one of the most important things for a scorekeeper to do is to speak to their Jam Ref before the bout and work out a signal system that works for both of you.

Ok so now we have the signals done what’s next? Hmmmm lets go for the paperwork and how you mark it shall we?

Now I know that when I first looked at a scoresheet I nearly had a panic but luckily my NSO buddies were on hand to explain! We want to be your NSO buddies so let us explain:

You will have 2 scoresheets, 1 for each half of the game and each one will be labelled with the colour and name of the team, and you will also need to put in the jam ref’s name and your name on the top of the sheet.

This ends up looking like this:

First score sheet

The 1 on the end means it is the first half of the bout, at half time things then change with the set up as you see it here and you will move to scorekeeping for the other team, your jam ref does the same, so the only thing that changes is the team, the scoresheet for the second half would look like this:

Second score sheet

So now we can see that the team name has changed and so has the colour, but everything else has stayed the same except it is now the second half.

Phew ok time for a brew….

And we are back! Now let’s get onto the actual scorekeeping, so first of all the form looks like this:

third sheet

Now don’t look so confused we are going to talk you through each column! So as promised:

Jam Column – number of the jam

Jammers Number – the number of the jammer fielded for that team in that jam

Lost – you mark this box with an X if the jammer lost the lead

Lead – you mark this box with an X if the jammer gets the lead

Call – Mark this box with an X if the jammer calls the jam

INJ. – mark this box with an X if the jam was called off due to an injury

NP – mark this box with an X if the jammer did not complete their initial pass

Pass 2/Pass 3 etc – this is where you put in the number of points the jammer got for that jam

Jam total – this is the total score for that jam

Game total – this is where you put in the total for the game so far for your team

Finally one of the most important roles of the scorekeeper is to keep the scoreboard operator up to date with the score, as this is how the teams know who is winning!

Hopefully that makes sense! But if not well you could just get in touch and we could help you face to face at one of our scrims (was that subtle or what!).

And that’s it for this week, but don’t despair we will be back next week with another instalment of Whistles and Clipboards!

Remember if you have a question, want to know more about something or just want to tell us something then why not get in touch!

NSOhhh Yeah!

Hello you wonderful, lovely person and welcome to the new feature from Preston Roller Girls; Whistles and Clipboards, written by the PRG NSO (non-skating official) team (don’t worry you will soon get to know all about us!), which is all about NSO’ing Roller Derby.

Sitting here writing this we are wondering did you extensively search on google to find our amazing blog (probably not, but we like to think you did!) or did you happen to stumble across it whilst looking at our beautiful skaters? Either way we are glad you are here, and well, not to boast but you are in for a treat!

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So what is this blog? NSO’ing is a HUGE part of Roller Derby and it is one of the most rewarding and satisfying hobbies you can have, we are here to tell you all about what NSO’ing is and how it works, are you excited yet? We know we are! So before we get into what NSO’ing is and how amazing it is let’s tell you who we are:

Our NSO team is made up of brilliant volunteers from across the PRG flock and on a weekly basis we can have any number of them helping out, really anyone we can get our NSO hands on!

PRG has 2 Head NSO’s (WARNING: Awkward ‘who we are’ profiles coming up);

maeveName: Iron Maeven

Number: 88

Started skating: January 2014

Position: Learning to be a jammer!

Dream job: I’m a student midwife – I can’t believe I’ll be getting paid to catch babies soon.

Career highlight: My debut for the PRG A Team at the British Champs, where we recorded the 4th highest score difference in European derby history!

Height: 5’5″

Hobbies/Interests: Derby and midwifery take up almost all the hours I have! Mostly I try to sleep in the ones left over

Dem'olisherName: Dem’olisher

Number: 13

Started skating: April 2015

Position: Dreaming about being a blocker/Co-Head NSO

Dream job: A mortuary makeup artist (sounds morbid but I would love to do this!)

Career highlight: Each training session I have something new!

Height: 5’4″

Hobbies/Interests: I have a little obsession with tattoos, I like all forms of craftiness and love English literature.

Origin of Derby Name? Everyone calls me Dem as my real name is Demelza so I just included it in my derby name!

Interesting Fact? I have over 40 tattoos and counting, 26 of them I did myself!

Now the politeness is out of the way let’s get to the point of why we are doing this. Well first things first we want to tell you about NSO’ing in all of its glory, why we do it, how it helps you become a better skater and why it’s so much fun, but I hear you say you can’t cover all of that in 1 instalment surely? And you fine person would be correct, so instead of rambling on about how amazing NSO’ing is which trust us we can do for hours, we are going to kick off this new blog with some of the basics.

There are lots of NSO jobs that need to be done at a bout, and we’ve got a little description of the main roles on our NSO sign up page.

NSO’ing is one of the most rewarding and fun hobbies that you can do in your spare time and the best thing about it is whether you want to skate or not you can still get involved (and if you do want to skate you can still NSO!)

We want to cover each position in detail so that we can inform you as best we can and we will also be giving you backstage (back blog? Is that a thing?) Access to the world of NSO’ing: from the recent tier 3 British Champs playoffs, to the perspective of NSO’ing from an A team skater. So we hope you come back for more!

Also why not get in touch? Maybe you have a question or a subject we can help you with, you never know we might just feature it in one of our blogs!

But for now we wave our panties (not the ones you are thinking of!) at you and say goodbye! Till next week

Iron Maeven and Dem’olisher

Preston Roller Girls: Ready to Take On 2015!

BRC Logo2015 is set to be a really big year for us here at PRG. In fact, the entire world of roller derby is an unbelievably exciting place to be at the moment. This year we will be taking part in the British Championships and we can’t wait to get started!

Our team has been grouped into the Tier 4 Local North Division along with:
Spa Town Roller Girls
Voodoo Roller Dollies
Fierce Valley Roller Derby
New Town Roller Girls

You can see our team profile and fixtures on the British Championships here. All of the teams will be playing each other throughout the year and it’s going to make for some amazing events, both home and away. We are really looking forward to developing and bettering ourselves as a team, as well as having some wonderful road trips and making lots of new derby friends!

We have worked super hard in the last year, and the team has grown so much that we finally have enough members for a B team! We’ve already got plenty of scrims and bouts lined up. In addition to this, our first new intake of the year will begin in April, registration is now open. We’re always looking for new members, if you are interested take a look at our join us page – keep an eye on the blog in upcoming weeks for interviews with PRG members who’ve been already through our amazing Sinners to Winners course. It’s great to be growing our numbers and knowing we are getting bigger and better than ever, so we’re hoping to continue this onwards and upwards throughout the year!

Our first bout of 2015 is on the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day! We will be playing the Central Belters (Bairn City Rollers), so please come check us and bring plenty of loved ones!

PRG Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Derby Nutrition – Part Three

So, a slightly delayed update. Last week was just crazy both in and outside of work so barely had any time to sleep let alone talk about nutrition and see if anything has changed for me. Anywho, better late than never I guess!
Week two saw me challenging myself to eat 5 a day of fruit or veg which I am really happy to say that I managed 6 out of 7 days and the only day I failed to meet this target I had 4, so all in all I don’t think I did too badly. The main thing I noticed in week two was how full up I was ALL the time. I was forcing myself to eat fruit when I really wasn’t hungry, just to meet my five a day target. This is something that weirdly, I really didn’t expect, though it was a greatly welcomed effect as it meant less snacking in the evening and I ate much smaller meals. I decided to keep this habit up in week three as there were definite positives to this diet modification. I also felt like I had a lot more energy and felt a lot leaner (if that makes sense?) so all in all, I guess some things that the government recommends CAN actually be good for you. I am shocked.

Week 3 saw me tackling an extremely hectic week where mid-week I ran out of fruit and veg (due to my now somewhat excessive consumption!) so for 3 days as I had NO time to run to the supermarket, I couldn’t make my target which I was fairly gutted about. I managed 8 hours of training this week and continued with a protein shake after my work out. This is a dietary modification that I am STILL not yet sure of the benefits, as I don’t yet feel any particular benefits, yet the amount of pro-protein shake literature out there is extensive that I feel I need to continue with this just on case the effects are noticed later down the line.

I broke my no-chocolate rule ONCE by having some Malteasers bunnies (3) but god damn they were good! However, I managed nearly 2 weeks free of chocolate which I am extremely impressed with!

I am now about to start week 4 and from what I have learnt thus far in my journey, my targets for the following week will be to continue with the five a day fruit & veg as this gave me so much energy and I felt much healthier for it, continue with the protein shakes post-workout to see if this increases my muscle recovery time and reduces the effects of any DOMS. I will continue to try to eradicate chocolate from my diet (so impressed with my discipline on this one) and introduce a final goal that I no longer eat junk food i.e. chips, pizza etc……I think this one may be the hardest of all :'( however, as it is generally more of a treat for me, I think this last target will take a couple of weeks to really see the benefits….if any!

Summarising my experience though, increasing my daily intake of fruit and vegetables and significantly decreasing the amount of chocolate in my diet have left me feeling much more energetic and in general, just ‘healthier’. I am full pretty much all the time and it becomes difficult to make myself eat to meet the five a day target. I can only begin the think of the internal effects these small diet changes are having on my body. For example body fat percentage, cholesterol, blood pressure. Perhaps it might be good for me to get a check-up with my GP to measure all these parameters and see if these readings improve as I move forward with my experiment?

Luvya Schlong Time

Derby Nutrition – Part Two

So after the first week, definitely not as difficult as I thought it was going to be- though obviously I have started small annnddd as a confession I partied hard this weekend, so I can’t really expect much of a difference can I? Though, as I initially thought when undertaking this challenge, I very much doubt I will feel the benefits to my body and performance until around 4-6 weeks in *sigh*. I think for more noticeable changes (whatever these may be) I should aim for dietary alterations that are a bit more difficult. My challenge for this week is no chocolate and to get my 5 a day. This is something I am already OK at doing as my usual is 3, but it could do to be better. Plus I learnt that trying to ration myself doesn’t happen so I am avoiding the chocolate wagon completely. One thing that I DID notice was that I had more energy after training when I made sure I had a protein shake and a banana beforehand. This may be a coincidence (I am not making definite claims of anything here, just my theories!) or it COULD be due to the documented benefits of a higher protein intake. Seriously, just type it into google. There are numerous amounts of literature available documenting the benefits of increased protein intake and how athletes need a higher protein intake than the RDA. Based of my own experience, I am going to stick to this change and see if there are any other effects of taking protein supplements that can aid in my training regime.

Sadly, as of yet, I have yet to find any scrummy healthy food….I am determined to prove these exist! Though I have received a link to a recipe to make your own flavoured water as a post training treat which I think I am going to have to try!! If this is actually nice, I’m gonna share the hell out of it!

Therefore to summarise, for week two, I will be ditching the chocolate completely :'( continuing on my protein supplements before training with a view to potentially upping these in week three and to make sure I get my 5-a-day. Here’s hoping I am super peppy and full of energy and not disgruntled at my lack of Galaxy.

Luvya Schlong Time

Derby Nutrition – Part One

So! An introductory blog post…on nutrition in roller derby. Hmmm…. Not the most exciting subject really is it? And why is it that no matter WHERE you turn in life, there is always something/ someone telling you that you need to eat ‘healthier’? This message is literally everywhere we look in society and, being from a scientific background, I totally get why this message is effectively rammed down our throats, and I understand the theory behind it.

On paper it all makes so much sense! Yet why is it no matter how much we read about the plethora of health benefits attributed to good nutrition and no matter how hard we try to follow diets/guidelines, our life is never complete without that sinful binge on junk food?

The whole time I have been involved in roller derby, I have been aware of the advice; proper nutrition can and will benefit and aid your training and gameplay. Aware, but never fully taken this message on board.

When I was subsequently asked if I wanted to write a blog on sports nutrition I thought initially thought ‘Why the hell not?’. Then reality set in and my thought process drifted to ‘I eat crap! Who am I to tell people to eat better and reap the rewards, of which I know nothing about?!’ I was then struck with the notion, that I could potentially create such a blog, but angle it from the average individual taking steps to improve their nutrition, develop a healthy eating plan and then identify the exact benefits that this in turn had on my gameplay and training.

As is stands, I have devised a p***s easy plan that starts by making minimal changes, so that I am more likely to stick to this thing in the long-run. Week one begins today (18 Feb 2014) and I will record my diet, training, struggles etc. to see if the reality of good nutrition lives up to the hype. My goals/aim for this week and basic- introduce a pre workout protein shake and cut my chocolate intake to <100g (hey, I am a self-confessed chocoholic…baby steps ok?!). My plan is to then up the game and cut junk food completely by week 2/ 3 (eek!) so please forgive the wimpy start on this journey!   So…there you have it. Stay tuned to updates/ musings (and if they DO really exist) ideas for healthy AND tasty treats.

Luvya Schlong Time