A lot of skaters get very hung up on the stats from a particular bout. They pore over the spreadsheets, looking at every possible angle, checking out their PPJ, lead jammer percentage, points for/against, etc. And in case you were curious about looking at your own (or someone else’s) stats from playoffs and other recent bouts, you can find them here: https://stats-repo.wftda.com/. If you aren’t sure what you’re reading, you can also find a great stats explanation on this blog post.
Although stats are neat and seeing charts/graphs is super cool (to some people), it is important to remember that derby is unbelievably complex and can’t possibly be wrapped up in a nice little stats box.
I have skated with several jammers that get stuck on points. If they don’t score more points than their teammate, they see that as negative. I tend to focus more on my own Total +/- (how many points I scored vs how many points were scored against me). I might have scored 50 points during the game, but if I went to the box 5 times and had 70 points scored against me, then I was not a very effective jammer. Conversely, if I score 30 points during a game but only have 5 points scored against me, my overall Total +/- will be much higher, and my impact on the overall outcome of the game is more positive.
However, all points aside – one part of being an effective jammer is being able to leave the track better for your next jammer than it was for you. It’s kind of like cleaning up after yourself – you always want the next person in your space to be happy. For roller derby, this usually means having more of your blockers on the track (and less of the opposing blockers on the track) at the start of the jam.
For example – Jammer 1 continually goes out onto the track with a full pack of hard blockers. The jammer fights for 1 minute, finally getting out right after the other jammer gets lead. During this fight, they send 2 opposing blockers to the box – one for a multiplayer and one for a low block. Although Jammer 1 might not score any points this jam, the next jam might start with a 4-2 blocker advantage for their team. Their fellow jammer can then get lead and score points before calling it off. If this pattern happens again and again (Jammer 1 is great at forcing penalties on the blockers), Jammer 1 may end up with barely any points, while Jammer 2 has scored quite a few. After the bout, Jammer 2 may be praised for scoring so many points, while Jammer1 may feel like she did not perform as well as she should have.
Basic stats like points scored during a jam cannot reflect everything that happens during a game. Sometimes, you come away feeling like you did not play well, even when you look good on paper. And sometimes, you played the game of your life but the stats don’t reflect this at all.
Although I love numbers and stats are a great tool, it is important to remember that derby is so much more than a spreadsheet of numbers. So go out and play your best, and don’t let your stats weigh you down.