Derby Info

WFTDA rankings: how are they calculated and what do they mean?

The Classic City Rollergirls are an official member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), the international governing body of women’s roller derby. For all you sports fans, WFTDA is like baseball’s MLB or football’s NFL. WFTDA is in charge of ranking all official teams and all the best teams are a part of it. WFTDA leagues are divided into three divisions. Division 1 (often referred to as D1) includes the top teams, those ranked 1-40 globally. Division 2 (or D2) has traditionally included teams ranked 41-100 globally, although only teams ranked 40-60 are eligibile for D2 playoffs. And finally, Division 3 (D3) encompasses the majority of WFTDA teams, those ranked lower than 100. There are currently 420 WFTDA-recognized teams, though that number is quickly growing! CCRG started this year ranked 114, which puts us at the high end of D3. Our goal is to move into the D2 range, ranked higher than 100, by the end of this year!

In order to determine rankings, many sports only consider win/loss ratios, with the best team being the one that wins the most games. However, because skill level varies so widely among the 420 official roller derby teams, WFTDA uses point differential to calculate teams’ strengths. It’s all about how many points a team wins or loses by, and how strong their opponents are. That means that an undefeated team could be ranked lower than a team who didn’t win any bouts. If an undefeated team won all of their bouts against low-strength opponents, they wouldn’t have as many ranking points as a team who played super strong opponents and only lost by a little bit to each of them.

Another rankings factor is how long it has been since a game was played. Bouts that happened more than 6 months ago are worth fewer points than recent bouts, and bouts over a year ago no longer contribute at all. CCRG dropped 10 spots in the rankings since the beginning of this year, not by losing any bouts, but simply because we had old games drop off our strength ranking.

As an example of strength and rankings, let’s consider our first and upcoming bout. CCRG is currently ranked 124, and we will be taking on Appalachian Roller Derby, ranked 120. If Appalachian was ranked much lower than us, we would need to win by a large number of points in order to move up at all in rankings. If Appalachian was ranked much higher than us, we wouldn’t need to win at all; we’d just need to come close to their score in order to move up in rankings. However, since we are ranked almost equally, we will need to win (or tie) this bout in order to move up in rankings. The more we win by, the higher up we will move!

For more detailed information on the WFTDA rankings system, check out these sites:
Rankings Policy and Strength Factor Challenge Program from WFTDA
Calculating a Team’s Ranking from WFTDA
How Do Rankings Work by Papa Whiskey
Math is Easy: Lessons from the WFTDA Ranking Structure from Roller Derby Inside Track

Big thanks to CCRG All Stars captain, Cirque du Slay, for writing this post!