The World Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) have a strict set of criteria that must be met before new skaters are deemed bout-ready. The Minimum Skating Skills test assess skaters on their ability to skate safely and if they can perform certain moves required in a live game, e.g. whips, blocks, and pushes. There is also a written test where knowledge of the roller derby game play rules are assessed to ensure players are aware of legal and illegal procedures, so they can play a fair and safe game.
With a lot of our Fresh Meat and Intermediate skaters about to sit their WFTDA written test, I thought I’d pass on some tips that helped me pass back in August.
The test consists of 45 questions, of which an 85% pass rate is required. Leagues tend to assess their skaters in batches (maybe by testing ‘intermediate’ skaters before they can progress to ‘advanced’ training sessions where more game play takes place). Often, leagues will continue to assess their skaters on rules knowledge after passing the test, but a level of self-study is expected.
I need help!
If your referees are as supportive as ours, then they will always be on hand to explain any rules you are unsure of. On more than one occassion when we’ve been scrimming, a referee or skater will often stick their hand up to ask why a call was made, or not, when we find ourselves in an odd situation!
WFTA Rule Book
The rule book itself is available as a PDF download from the WFTDA website, or you can always buy a paper copy from them to keep in your kit bag!
There is an extremely informative article on the Fishnet Burnns blog, where the study approach is broken down to make sure you’re able to digest the rules properly and gain a good level of understanding of the sometimes ‘wordy’ rules.
Test Your Knowledge
The WFTDA also provide a mock exam to give you an idea of the types of questions that will be asked in the test. Again, anything you’re unsure of, run past experienced skaters in your league or ask your referees.
If you prefer a more interactive approach, rather than reading the rule book from cover to cover, Pro Profs provide an online test, with feedback on any wrong answers you get. At the very least, they’ll direct you towards the WFTDA section of the rule book from where the answer is explained.
My last few words of advice would be: prepare, but don’t cram. If you feel like you’re struggling, ask for help – it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be the only person who can’t understand that ‘destruction of the pack’ rule, or whatever may be stumping you. If you don’t pass the test this time round, don’t worry! Your assessors can provide you with feedback, then maybe you can grab some of your referees’ time to ask for a bit of tutoring, then next time around you’ll ace it!
Good luck! 🙂