You Should Be Analyzing More Derby :: London v. Gotham {2016 WFTDA Semi-Finals}

By December 1, 2016Analysis, Blog

We all hear that watching derby is the single best way (off-skates) to get better at playing it. And derby is hecka fun to watch, right? But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you mostly don’t do it.


High level derby can be hard to watch if you’re not used to it. Plus watching derby and analyzing derby are two different things.

  • How do you know what to pay attention to?
  • How do you think about what’s happening on the track and apply it to what you might do on the track?
  • It’s all moving so fast. HAAALLPP!

Here’s my contribution. The next installment in my “You Should be Analyzing More Derby” series.

This Champs installment features:

London v Gotham in the 2016 WFTDA Semi-Finals

The questions (and comments) below are to help you home in on specific parts of the game and get you thinking like a derby analyst. These questions are by no means ALL OF THE THINGS that you could glean from this bout, but it’s a good place to start. You can download them in PDF version HERE.

The First Half

Jam #2 –>London’s braced walls are a little bit more stretched out than other teams. It will be interesting to see if that causes problems with sealing up the middle.

Jam #4 –> At the end of the jam, Gotham’s pivot makes a huge, almost desperation hit with perfect timing. It allows her jammer to come through and score before London can call it off.

Jam #5 –> Gotham’s jammer gets sent to the box and London immediately goes on the offensive by grabbing a goat. That is some serious track awareness and ability to shift gears!

Jam #3 –> Gotham comes out swinging with their wall tightened down and forcing apart the Rose City blocker core to give their jammer some room.

Jam #6 –> London demonstrates their defense-to-offense switch speed again. It helps that when they move to offense, they still stay together. Beautiful sweep!.

Jam #7 –> Gotham’s really stretching the pack back to try and pull a cut on London’s jammer. It also gives the Gotham jammer plenty of time to get around and re-enter the pack. Good on-track, clock management.

TEAM TIMEOUT –> Gotham. The way the momentum is swinging is this game is a huge testament to how well these two teams can adjust to each other.

Jam #15 –> Gotham’s wall backs up on the start whistle to really sit on the jammer. I like this strategy a lot.

Jam #19 –> Look at the way the blockers from both teams are moving on the track! Gotham and London are both able to maintain blocking control while moving around opposing blockers (and even using them to assist).

Jam #19 –> Gotham is the subtle master of positional offense. They just kind of stand in the exact place that messes up your whole day.

END OF HALF –> Both teams seem to executing strategies that are working. It will be interesting to see what they decide to tweak during the half. What one thing does Gotham need to improve upon to keep this lead? What one thing does London need to improve upon to win?

END OF HALF –> *drools over penalty graphic*


END OF HALF –> *listens to insightful breakdown from announcers*

HALFTIME SCORE = London 61 Gotham 80

The Second Half

Jam #1 –> Gotham uses their pivot as O for their jammer enabling the star pass when necessary. Surprised it didn’t happen a little bit sooner, actually.

Jam #2 –> Interesting call by London to let the jam run against one of Gotham’s biggest powerhouse jammers. I’m not sure I’d risk it.

Jam #5 –> London’s jammer shows some serious trust in her blockers by coming in just as her blockers knock the Gotham pivot that got her. Amazing timing! Does London have a hive mind, too?

Jam #8 –> London’s defense demonstrating why they’ve been winning these last few jams. What are they doing that Gotham is struggling with?

Jam #8–> Gotham’s pivot wisely staying in front of the pack to make an easier star pass, if necessary. (It was.)

Jam #10 –> What’s going on between the jammers at the start whistle?

Jam #10 –> London’s jammer uses the positioning of the Gotham blockers to open up a line for herself. Beautiful track awareness. (Watch the replay to see it in slo-mo.)

Jam #11 –> Gotham is a little slow to transition during this jam and London takes huge advantage.

Jam #12–> Both teams are super handsy with their own teammates. Watch how a little extra push or grab from a teammate can get a blocker that extra millimeter they need to get on the jammer/opposing blocker.

Jam #13 –> Such a quick, on-point star pass by London. So important in such a class game!

Jam #13 –> Gotham has lead and is going to run the clock. Why is this their call right now?

Jam #14 –> Incredibly well-timed offensive sweep from the back Gotham blocker just as her jammer enters the pack. (Even better because she runs up quickly to escape being a point for the London jammer.)

Jam #16 –> Saving a jammer with a different style than what you’ve been fielding for the rest of the game is a wise strategy for Gotham to try to pull away from London.

END OF GAME –> London’s defense wakes up and tries to regain momentum a jam or two too late. Gotham moves onto the final. (I can’t wait to see London next year!!)

FINAL SCORE = London 163 Gotham 189

Want more?

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Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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