You Should Be Analyzing More Derby :: Gotham v. Rose City {2015 WFTDA Final}

By November 3, 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 pre-Champs installment features:

Gotham v Rose City in the 2015 WFTDA Champs FIRST PLACE GAME

The questions (and comments) below are to help you hone 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

It’s hecking loud in here.

Jam #1 –> Interesting start by Rose City — two 2-walls. This strategy seems to be effective as Rose City blockers are utilizing the opposing blockers to slow down the Gotham jammer.

Jam #2 –> Rose City flawlessly transitions to offense after Gotham’s jammer receives a penalty and executes a beautiful sweep to get their jammer points.

Jam #2 –> Rose City illustrates how effect timely offense in the pack can be, essentially tearing apart the Gotham 4-wall as the Rose jammer comes through.

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 #3 –> Rose City executes a legal star pass, but then tries to un-pass it. Ouch. Power jam Gotham.

Jam #4 –> Why did Rose City choose passive offense this time?

Jam #5 –> Lack of communication between Rose City’s jammer and blockers essentially wastes the power start. Rose blockers also seem to be taken by surprise as Gotham’s jammer shoots out of the box.

TEAM TIMEOUT –> Rose City. You can really see Gotham’s experience helping them in the first 15 minutes. They didn’t have momentum in the beginning, but quickly pulled it together. Rose City has less experience in games like this and will need to find a way to do that. (Also penalties…)

Jam #12 –> Gotham with a beautiful star stash/pass. Having the pivot and jammer within proximity forces Rose City to widen their awareness and gives the pass a better chance to succeed.

Jam #13 –> Love this fast pack strategy from both teams! Watch as Rose City takes advantage of being in the back of the pack to give their jammer some extra speed into the opposing blockers.

TEAM TIMEOUT –> Gotham. Not a surprise. It will be interesting to see how both teams come out of this second timeout.

Jam #16 –> Rose City does a great job combatting Gotham’s offense without losing hips on the jammer.

Jam #17 –> Why is Rose City’s jammer starting so far back from the pack? What are the pros/cons?

Jam #18 –> Jammer-on-jammer!! <3 Love the Gotham jammer’s awareness of the pack and her ability to take advantage of Rose City’s jammer running away just a little too early.

Jam #19 –> Gotham runs a beautiful passive screen in the middle of Rose City’s tripod!

Jam #19 –> Both teams have iced each other’s jammers multiple times this game. Why is this a solid strategy? What do you think about it?

END OF HALF –> What will each team talk about in the locker room to stay in control of this game?

HALFTIME SCORE = Gotham 114 Rose City 81

The Second Half

Jam #1 –> Gotham uses a strategic star stash to immediately free their jammer. Why did that star stash work so well?d strategy.

OFFICIAL REVIEW –> This is probably not a bad decision by Rose City. After all, they lost by only 3 points in the last champs…

Jam #2 –> Whatever the teams talked about at the half seems to be working so far. Both defenses on lockdown.

Jam #3 –> Rose City’s jammer with that helmet cover is amazing — just casually putting it back on as she falls. NBD.

Jam #4–> Rose City blockers grab that goat to get their jammer points with Gotham’s jammer right behind.

Jam #7 –> Textbook jam for watching teams cycle quickly between offense and defense. The jammers are just far enough apart that the teams have time to switch focus from one to the other.

Jam #10 –> Great offense by Rose City’s jammer. She tried several different approaches until she found one that stuck.

Jam #11 –> On Rose’s second scoring pass, the blockers seem to be working at cross purposes. What does this allow Gotham to do?

TEAM TIMEOUT–> Rose City. Gotham is doing an amazing job taking advantage of Rose City’s continuing penalty trouble.

Jam #17 –> Rose City is sticking to their 3-1 wall strategy. This seems to be hit-and-miss for them. What do they need to do to make it successful for the last part of the game?

JAM #18 –> Rose City chooses to run the jam rather than call it off and reset. This is a huge move. What happens if this backfires for them? What happens if it goes right?

TEAM TIMEOUT –> Gotham. What are you talking about during your team timeout if you’re on Gotham? What situation are you hoping for in these last jams if you’re on Gotham? What about for Rose City?

Jam #20 –> Another decision by Rose City to run the jam. The last time they ended up only 1 point up. What made it more effective this time?

TEAM TIMEOUT –> Gotham. Wow.

TEAM TIMEOUT –> Rose City. Double Wow.

Jam #21 –> Rose City’s jammer plays the slow and careful game to avoid the box and her defense locks it down. Gotham’s defense is also tight, but doesn’t prevail. Why not? Triple wow.

FINAL SCORE = Gotham 195 Rose City 206

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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