Roller Derby 101

If you're new to roller derby and the WFTDA, this page will give you all of the information you need about our sport and our organization.


Introduction to Roller Derby



The sport of roller derby was first conceived in the 1930s, and was played on a banked track and was popular in the United States until it fizzled out in the 1970s. In the early 2000s, modern women’s roller derby got its start in Austin, Texas. Starting with the Texas Rollergirls, flat track roller derby leagues began forming as businesses run by the athletes themselves. The flat track version of the sport spread like wildfire in subsequent years, as the ability to mark track boundaries on a skating rink floor or other venues, rather than building and storing a large banked track, made it possible to play the game just about anywhere. Today, several hundred leagues exist all over the world.

While the original version of the sport eventually became more of a spectacle with fights and other staged theatrics, today's roller derby is a legitimate sport played by true athletes.

LEARN MORE: Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby


The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) is the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. The WFTDA sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determines guidelines for the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues. With more than 400 affiliated members worldwide, WFTDA is the largest roller derby organization in the world.

The governing philosophy of the WFTDA is “by the skaters, for the skaters.” Female skaters are primary owners, managers, and/or operators of each member league and of the association itself. Operational tasks include setting standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determining guidelines for the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues. The WFTDA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and is governed by a seven-member, volunteer Board of Directors.



Each WFTDA Member League has a Charter team that competes with other WFTDA leagues in sanctioned games that determine placement in the WFTDA Rankings. The top ranked teams as of the June 30th Rankings compete in Playoff tournaments in the fall, with the top finishers advancing to the Championship tournament.


WFTDA Rankings Policy

International WFTDA Playoffs and Championships


Interested in getting involved in roller derby? Visit our leagues page to find a league in your area. Contact them to ask about their beginner/fresh meat program if you're interested in skating, their officials program if you're interested in being a referee, or their volunteer program if you want to get involved in any of the multitude of other opportunities to join the roller derby revolution.

Women's Flat Track Roller Derby is a full contact sport for women ages 18 and up (or 21 and up, depending on the league). The WFTDA has a very inclusive view on gender and our member leagues provide a welcoming and accepting environment for anyone who wants to play women's flat track roller derby.

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.