Archive for June, 2013


Training for Multiple Player Blocks

   Posted by: Bitches Bruze    in Rules, Strategery, You Make The Call

The WFTDA released a new ruleset for 6/15/2013. For newer skaters, getting new rules 6 months after getting the last set of new rules may seem blasphemous, but for those of us who have been around for a while, it was weird to not get the 6-month version with clarifications and tweaks. Many moons ago, when our rule sets were numbered, there was a 2.0 and a few months later, after it had been used for a bit, a 2.1 (there was also a 1.0 and 1.1, and a 3.0 and a 3.1) to incorporate the clarifications into the rules so people didn’t have to print out (or remember) pages of clarifications. 6/15/2013 is just that and I really welcomed it! Felt like the old days.

One part of the rules which seemed to get a lot of traffic on social media was the part about multiple player blocks (MPBs). I couldn’t understand why because I’ve been referencing the clarification from September 2010 since it came out.

Here’s a flowchart on multiple player blocks:

Multiple Player Block Flowchart

Multiple Player Block Flowchart

In the following examples I’ll be referencing the diamonds in the order they appear in the above graphic.

Test One: How many skaters are blocking the opponent.
Two or more – go to Test Two

Test Two: Is there a LINK being created between the two or more players?
Yes – go to Test Three

Test Three: Is the LINK forming a WALL or providing an ASSIST?
Wall – go to Test Four
Assist – NOT MPB

Test Four: Has an opponent attempted to pass through the WALL created by this LINK?

For some it takes examples to really help this set in.

A 2-wall blocking an opponent

A 2-wall blocking an opponent

Here’s scenario one: two skaters blocking an opponent in a wall formation.

This passes test number one – there are two skaters blocking the opponent. Which means we need to look at test two – is there a LINK between these two skaters? If either of these skaters is creating something that can be defined as a link:

  • grasping teammate’s clothing
  • grabbing the teammate such as holding the outside of their opposite leg or the inside of their closest leg
  • crossing legs
  • hooking elbows

Then this is a multiple player block. We have a link and we have a wall.

If there is no link, a wall alone is not a multiple player block. Examples of “not a link” include:

  • Touching with an open hand without grabbing or pulling
  • Having hips touching
  • Having side of body touching

Here’s another scenario:

Only engaging one blocker, not testing link

Only engaging one blocker, not testing link

This scenario will never be a multiple player block. This fails test number 4 because the opponent is not attempting to pass through the wall. More importantly, it doesn’t pass test number 1 because the opponent is only engaging with one skater. The engagement between the two red skaters can be any kind of linking or not linking.

Arms in back are a form of linking

Arms in back are a form of linking

It has been determined that if you put an arm behind your teammate, it is a link. If the opponent attempts to go through this area, then it will be a multiple player block. You do not have to be grabbing or grasping. The act of putting your arm behind your teammate means your arm is impenetrable – because an opponent would have to break your arm to get through it. If an opponent doesn’t test this link, then it is not a multiple player block.

Truck and Trailer - Engaging Rear

Truck and Trailer – Engaging Rear

This is a classic truck and trailer arrangement for the red blockers. In my training I call this an “Assisted Block”. Assists are legal under the MPB rules. This fails to be a multiple player block with test one because the opponent is only engaging one skater and engaging her hips. But if that is not clear, test two says it is a link so we have to go to test three. In test three, the link is creating an assist. The front blocker may be slowing the rear blocker or she may be acting as an anchor for the rear blocker to swing. It is not possible to consider this a wall in this arrangement. There is a wall, but it is not the wall or the link itself that is blocking the path of the yellow skater. Consider if every skater in this picture turned 90 degrees to the right. Then this would look like my second example! And, you’ll probably find that the reasons this is not a multiple player block are exactly the same reasons for scenario 2.

Truck and Trailer - through the arms

Truck and Trailer – through the arms

Here we look at the Truck and Trailer formation in much the same arrangement as scenario one. Again, the same rules apply. If there is any kind of link here:

  • The rear red skater is grasping the front skater’s clothing
  • The rear red skater has her left arm on the left side of the front skater (would be like having behind if they were 90 degrees to the right)
  • The rear red skater is grabbing the front skater’s hips on the side or front
  • 99% of scenarios like this

Then this is a multiple player block.

If (and this is a big and unusual “if”) the rear skater ONLY has her hands placed on the front skater’s back so the front skater can slow her and there is no form of grasping or linking which impedes the yellow skater, then this is not a multiple player block. From a coaching perspective, it will be a very special referee who can determine this is NOT a link at the pace of normal derby. I’d advise a rear skater who is about to have her (in this case) left arm test by an opponent to completely remove her left arm and make sure her right arm is clearly not grasping or grabbing.

T-Walls - scenario One

T-Walls – scenario One

Here we see a typical T-wall. Keep in mind, it does NOT matter which direction skaters are facing in regards to multiple player blocks. This is illustrated in this fashion only because it is a common formation.

The WALL in this scenario is the two forward facing skaters. This, however, is not and never will be a multiple player block because it doesn’t pass test one – there is only one red skater blocking the yellow skater. That red skater may be assisted by EITHER of the other red skaters by pushes or pulls. Those links do not matter because the yellow skater is not being engaged by a WALL.

T-wall Scenario 2

T-wall Scenario 2

Here the yellow skater is attempting to move through the wall created here so tests one and four are true for multiple player blocks. This means we have to look at tests two and three.

If there are NO links this does not pass test two and this is not a multiple player block. Example of not links include:

  • rearward facing skater resting palms on forward facing skaters and only providing slowing assistance
  • forward facing skaters having open palms on rearward facing skater for slowing assistance
  • forward facing skaters not linking in any of the manners listed in scenario one

If there are no links which link the wall of the forward facing skaters together, this is also not a multiple player block. Examples of links which would not create a wall:

  • rearward facing skater grasping only one forward facing skater and the other forward facing skater not linked at all
  • only one of the forward facing skaters linking with the rearward facing skater and the other forward facing skater not linked in any manner

These connections are merely duplicates of the Truck and Trailer and there is no link connecting the third skater to the Truck and Trailer. A secondary, unlinked wall does not a multiple player block make. From a coaching perspective, any kind of linking in this arrangement can easily be mistaken for a multiple player block. Since referees do not have x-ray vision to assess the impact of all links, I recommend keeping connections to only speed adjusting assists which do not link or appear to link whenever possible.

T-wall Scenario 3

T-wall Scenario 3

This is still a T-wall and MPB rules apply here. All the MPB rules between B & C are covered in the first scenario. We are now looking at the links between B and A or C and A.

It is very unlikely skater A will be responsible for a multiple player block until the opposing skater gets between Skaters B and C – but that can happen quickly! Skater A slowing and providing resistance for B and C is an assist. If B or C is linked with A then we have a Truck & Trailer scenario and with yellow’s position, it will not be a multiple player block.

As a coach, I recommend skaters B and C avoid linking with skater A unless one of them needs to briefly help A slow down. If A is simply assisting with breaking, there’s no need for cross-reach grabbing or uniform grasping to slow down the rear skaters.

Edit: for additional graphics, there’s an additional post which provides a scenario chart available.