How to become an NSO

July 14, 2020

Hey! Hey you! Yeah, you! Do you want to participate in roller derby, but don’t want to be on skates? Or maybe you don’t have the time to be at every practice? Guess what! There is still a place for you in derby!! Welcome to NSOing!

What all do you need to have a bout happen? Go ahead… I’ll wait…

Courtesy of Photobossi Photography

I heard skaters, teams, a venue.

Refs? Yep, need refs for sure.

Medics! Can’t have a game without them. What about NSOs?? Yep! Need them too!

What is an NSO? You know those people that look all official with the clipboards and the whistles that stand in the middle of the track? THOSE are NSO’s. NSO stands for non-skating official and they are super important to the sport.

NSOs make the whole game run on time, maintain the score, manage penalties, and keep everything in order. Without them, there would truly be chaos on the track. So, if you want to be a part of the sport (a super important part) and aren’t keen on getting smashed while on eight wheels, NSOing is for you!!

There are several places that you can work as an NSO. There is the jam timer (keeps track of the official time, time outs, jam start, and end, as well as time in between jams).

There are scorekeepers (they keep track of the scoreboard and also maintain contact at all times with the jammer refs to record points for each jam).

Penalty Box keepers, (they keep track of penalty times and who is in the box), penalty trackers (they track each penalty that happens for official record-keeping). Each job has one to several people working together at a time. Communication and knowledge are key! But, don’t worry, it is easy to learn.

If you are interested in learning how to be an NSO, reach out to your local team. I GUARANTEE there are people there that would LOVE to train you. You can shadow an NSO during scrimmages and practices to learn the basics. You can also learn hands-on during scrimmages and bouts. The rules are listed online on and can be reviewed. Once you are ready to be certified you can do that on the WFTDA site as well. There are different levels of certification and different requirements for each. There are courses and tests to take for each certification level. 

I hope that you will consider a career as a Roller Derby NSO, the sport needs you and seriously can not go on without you!! 

Also, if your team would like to shed some derby love on your volunteer NSOs, we have a super awesome pack dedicated to those amazing people that make our sport happen. Check it out at



See ya on the track!

Derby Love, Night Witch  


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