Who are the Zürich City Rollergirls (ZCRG)?
ZCRG is a skater-run roller derby league based in Zurich, Switzerland. We are recruiting and training now for our first bout in 2010. For more information about our league, please see our ‘about us’ section.
What is roller derby?
ZCRG plays womens flat-track roller derby. It is a sport played on quad roller skates (no inline skates) by two competing teams of 5 on 5 skating around an oval-shaped track. Each team has one girl who can score points (the Jammer) and 4 Blockers (who make up the pack). One of each team’s blockers is designated as the “Pivot Blocker”, she is the team leader on the track and coordinates her team’s strategy.
The pack (made up of the 8 Blockers) starts moving on the ref’s whistle while the Jammers wait 20 feet behind behind the pack for a second whistle blast. Jammers then sprint to catch up and attempt to pass through the pack. The first girl to break through and legally pass the entire pack may become the lead jammer. The second time around (and every lap thereafter) each jammer scores a point for every opposing team member that she passes. Blockers (the pack) try to stop the opposing jammer from passing while assisting their own jammer to pass through. Each round (jam) goes for 2 minutes unless the lead jammer decides to ‘call it off’ early.
For a more complete list of rules and game play, please take a look at the WFTDA rules. For those who prefer, we also have a copy of the rules translated into German, thanks to Riff Reff from our sister league, the Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz.
Can skaters get injured?
Roller derby is a full contact sport played on quad roller skates. The injury rates for derby are similar to other full contact team-sports such as hockey or football. Since the game is full contact and falls are frequent, all players wear protective equipment and referees ensure the game is played fairly and safely. The most common injuries in roller derby are bruises, sprains and rink rash (minor scrapes), although more serious injuries can and do occur. We train all of our skaters on proper stretching, skating and falling techniques to reduce both the frequency and severity of injuries.
What type of insurance do I need?
In addition to your regular health insurance you will need to ensure your liability insurance includes coverage for team sports (many specifically exclude team sports, so double check your policy).
What type of equipment will I need?
To be able to skate with us you will need to have the following: one pair of quad roller skates (no rollerblades), a full set of protective gear including helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guard, and mouth guard. We wear full protective gear for safety during all practices and games. Approximate costs are outlined below.
What is your training schedule?
Right now we train twice a week in 2 hour blocks. Should you decide you want to develop skills and fitness more quickly, we offer a routine of extra drills and exercises that can be practiced at home to both build and maintain your derby muscle.
Who can join?
This is an all-female sport played by women of at least 18 years of age. All skill and sport levels welcome – no skating background is necessary.
What if I’m a guy and want to join the league and skate?
We are always looking for committed referees. Unlike most sports, Roller Derby referees belong to the leagues as much as players. Officials are professional and fair during games, but train, skate, and attend all league events with their home leagues. Reffing takes almost as much time and training as playing, but it is a fun way for both men and women to get involved in this sport. Anyone over the age of 18 (male or female) who is interested in reffing should contact us through the forum or via email for more info. No skating experience is necessary.
Do I have to know how to skate?
No. If you have skating experience it is always a plus, but it’s not necessary. We have a team of trainers that can train beginning skaters from the ground up (starting with lacing up your skates). Being a derby girl is more than just being able to skate – a positive attitude, commitment, and team work go a long way!
Do I have to be in good shape?
Part of the appeal of roller derby is that there is no specific shape or size that makes the perfect derby girl. Petite to extra-large, there is space for everyone. You don’t even need to have a sports background. We welcome and encourage you to join us – we will whip you in to shape in no time.
How much free time do I need?
In order to get the most out of roller derby, you need to put in the time to develop the proper skills. We meet twice a week for 2-hour practice sessions and once a month for a league meeting. The most successful skaters spend extra time between league practices focusing on building their skating skills. In addition to practices, there are other times you will be asked to meet or help out with the league including but not limited to – fundraising events, recruitment, league field trips and other team building opportunities. Derby is a DIY (do it yourself) sport and it takes the commitment of the entire league to make it happen.
How much will it cost?
Like most sports, you need some basic equipment to play. The following is a break down of some of the costs to expect when joining:
> Skates (we use quad roller skates not rollerblades) – CHF 150 – 300
> Full set of protective gear (this includes knee, elbow, wrist, and mouth guards as well as a helmet) – CHF 75 – 150
> Shipping fees and VAT – Varies. We order our gear from Canada and the USA.
Please talk to us before ordering gear as we have advice that will ensure you get the skates and gear you need, at the best price possible.
‘Sign up’ fee – CHF 50
Annual dues – CHF 200
Your first 3 months are free (after ‘sign up’ fee), with no committment to join. As a player-run sport, we keep our dues as low as possible. Dues and league fees help us cover the cost of renting practice space, putting on a bout, league promotion and merchandise.
When and where do you practice?
Information about upcoming training can be found here.
Sounds great, how do I join?
> send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
> come to a recruitment meeting
> join us at a practice
> sign up for our forum
I want to be involved but I don’t know if I want to be a skater – how else can I help?
Putting on roller derby bout is hard work and it takes volunteers like you to help get the job done. There are plenty of behind the scenes jobs that we’re always happy to have assistance with. Anyone can volunteer to help us with promotion, recruitment, sponsorship, fundraising, statistics (during games), bout production and set up or even by simply attending events. Email us at email@example.com to let us know how you’d like to help out.
I’m still not sure if this is for me, what now?
Email us your questions, check out our forum for more information, join us at our monthly recruitment meeting or come check out a practice. Let us know how we can help you decide if roller derby is right for you.
How can I find out more about the history of roller derby?
We recommend starting here: Derby News Network
You can also check out our links page for other useful and interesting roller derby related websites.