OMG you guys, I can’t divulge my source, but this diagram was emailed to me today, along with part of the new rule summary that is currently being beta tested by at least one big name league. What it means for you is that the changes coming in 2014 are going to make the no minors/one whistle 2013 rules changes look like nothing in comparison.
From what I’ve been told, the primary reason for the change in track configuration is that WFTDA’s lawyer thinks “left turn only” derby means the possibility of a class action lawsuit due to uneven development of players’ muscles on the two sides of their bodies. Basically they’re scared they’re going to get sued by girls who can’t walk in a straight line anymore because their right leg muscles are so much bigger than their left.
Black arrows indicate skaters, colored arrows are refs.
From the official beta test instructions:
"Summary: The infield(s) will now be composed of two 30 foot circles with their centers 45 feet apart. The track will then describe a figure of 8 around those two infield circles. (see diagram)
All references to “counterclockwise” and “clockwise” will be replaced with “derby direction” and “anti-derby direction”. Relatedly, since the track will now be longer, the minimum skills will be revised to 25 laps in 5 minutes for the same approximate distance as 27.5 laps under the previous track configuration.
Right turning crossovers will be added to minimum skills, as well as taking no more than two non-turning strides between going from right turning to left turning crossovers (and vice versa).
These rules revisions will be released on 2/1/14 and go into effect on 4/1/14.
The width of the skating lane will remain the same, as will the overall footprint of the track. Most current bout venues will be able to accommodate the new track configuration.
Envisioned impact on play: Blocker strategy will be to slow the pack in the intersection area so that opposing jammers will have to fight through the pack twice per lap.
Benefits will include faster reformation in no pack/bridging scenarios. Blockers will have the option of cutting half a lap to rejoin the pack faster after falling behind.
Penalty box and bench locations will now be proscribed to the outside of the track, in line with the center cross area (see diagram). Skaters returning from the box will never have to skate more than 1/4 lap to rejoin the pack. Going to the box will always be 1/2 lap or less.
If jammer A falls half a lap behind jammer B they can block jammer B in the intersection. There will be no additional track cutting penalties due to jammer-on-jammer blocking. Refs will have to remember which skaters are half a lap ahead/behind when assessing cutting penalties.
Pack scenarios and the engagement zone will be judged by absolute, ie ‘as the crow flies’, distances rather than linear on-track distance.
All NSOs and white boards will be outside the track perimeter.
Ref positions: (see diagram)
Two Outside Pack Refs will remain outside the track, one on each side. (blue arrows)
Inside Pack Refs will remain inside each of the two infields, each spinning in an opposite direction. (yellow arrows)
Jammer refs will be the only officials to cross the track during the course of normal gameplay, going from outside the track on one side to inside the track on the other. Each jam ref will start from opposite sides, so they will never occupy the same infield. (red and green arrows)
Pivot and jam lines will be located in the track intersection.
When these rules go into effect on 4/1/14 the name of this sanctioning body will officially change to The Women’s Figure Eight Derby Association or WF8DA.”
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