Dodgeball Rules

  1. The Team
    1. Six (6) players will compete on each side; others players will stand on the side of the court to rotate in when needed.
    2. Teams are not allowed to add players from other teams to play for them at any time, even if they have fewer than 6 players. The minimum number of players a team can start playing with is two (2). Players who show up after the game starts can only be cycled in when a ball is caught and there are 5 or fewer players on the court.
    3. Teams are encouraged to be at the gym 15 min prior to the start of their first match. In the event that a court is running ahead of schedule, matches can start up to 5 min before the scheduled time.
  2. Games / Matches
    1. Each team will play two (2) matches per night.
    2. Each match consists of three (3) games.
  3. The Object of Dodgeball
    1. The object of Dodgeball is to eliminate players on the opposing team by getting them “OUT”.
  4. Definitions
    1. LIVE BALL: A ball that has been thrown.
      1. A THROW is defined as when a player who has possession of the ball throws (not taps, kicks, rolls, places, etc.) a ball toward the opposing side. A ball must be released before the whistle to count as a throw.
      2. POSSESSION, while ultimately a ref’s call, is defined as the ability to exert control over a ball. This is the ability to block, throw, and drop a ball at will. 
    2. DEAD BALL: A ball that has touched the floor, hit an opposing player then hit the floor, hit a LIVE ball, hit a player that is already out, hit an official, or hit any other fixture outside of the playing field (wall, ceiling, basketball hoop, etc.).
    3. A CATCH: A LIVE ball that is in possession of a player where the player is in bounds (please see below the section THE GAME / BOUNDARIES for an explanation of being in bounds).
      1. Note: Trapping a ball against the floor is not a CATCH.
  5. A player is defined as “out” if…
    1. The player is hit below the shoulders while standing upright with a LIVE ball that eventually dies. Clothing is considered an extension of the body (i.e. if a LIVE ball brushes a player’s tee shirt and the ball dies, they are OUT).
    2. The LIVE ball that they threw is caught by the opponent before it is DEAD.
    3. The player crosses the center or boundary lines as defined by Section 8. Boundaries.
  6. A player is defined as “in” if…
    1. The player is not OUT.
    2. A teammate catches a LIVE ball and the player is the first one to rotate in. Note that players can be cycled in only when there are 5 or fewer players on the court.
  7. The Game / Opening Rush
    1. Dodgeball game begins by placing the 4 dodgeballs along the center midcourt line.
    2. On the west court (the back court), prior to the first game of each match, a coin toss will determine which team plays on which side.
    3. Players then take a position behind their end line. Following a whistle by the head ref, two players from each team “rush” the centerline to retrieve only the 2 balls to their right of the center of court.
    4. During the “rush”, the center line will not be a hard boundary.  If a ball-retrieving player crosses the center line, they will NOT be called OUT.  Once the balls have been “cleared” the center line cannot be crossed; doing so will immediately result in that player being OUT.
    5. Once a ball is retrieved, the ball must be taken behind the back line (this is called “clearing” of the ball) before it can be legally thrown as a LIVE ball.
    6. “Clearing” must be done by a player; the player cannot bounce the ball against the back wall back to him/herself to count as “clearing.”
    7. Once the balls have been “cleared,” all players must be inside the boundaries and gameplay can begin. 
  8. The Game / Boundaries
    1. During play, all players must remain within the boundary lines.
    2. If any player crosses the boundary lines (back and side lines) with one or more than one whole body part, they are OUT. That is, if one player’s whole body part is completely outside the court and touches anything other than a ball, then the player is OUT.
    3. If any player steps over the center line then they are OUT.
      1. By stepping over the center line it is understood that a player is out if any part of the body touches anything past the center line other than a ball. A player is in if they are ON the line and do not cross it. 
  9. The Game / Timing
    1. Each game will last 5-minutes.
    2. During the Game: time-outs, 5-second countdown
      1. Each team is allowed ONE time out per game (remember: one match has three games).
      2. ONLY the captain can signal to the head or assistant referee.
      3. The time out is NOT in effect until the referee signals for it.
      4. The clock will STOP during each time out.
      5. If a team signals for a second timeout in a single game and play is stopped, then one player from that team will have to leave the court; in other words, a player is OUT.
      6. Only referees are allowed to call additional timeouts.
    3. To keep gameplay moving, referees will initiate a 5-second countdown, at the end of which the team with the majority of the balls must throw a ball. The ball must be live as it crosses center court to count as a throw.
    4. The countdown will go: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, WHISTLE.” Failure of the team with majority balls to throw by the WHISTLE blow will result in a player from that team being called OUT by the referee. The captain decides who is OUT of the people who had a ball. If nobody had possession of a ball, the captain may pick any player.
      1. If both teams have two balls, then BOTH teams must throw a ball within the 5-second countdown.
      2. Ball collisions (or other unforeseen interference) that prevent thrown balls from crossing the center line while live may count as throws and stop a countdown at the ref’s discretion.
    5. Ending the Game: winning, final whistle, sudden death
      1. If neither team has been eliminated by the end of 5 minutes, the team with the greater number of players remaining wins.
      2. The game is over when the final whistle is blown AND all balls are DEAD. If a ball is LIVE in mid-air when the final whistle blows, that ball is still LIVE until it becomes DEAD (see Section 4). If a LIVE ball hits a player after the final whistle, that player is OUT.
      3. In the case of an equal number of players remaining from each team when the final whistle blows, a 1-minute “sudden-death” overtime will be played. Each team selects one player to be added to the court. The first team to eliminate a player wins.
      4. If no team has eliminated a player by the end of the first one-minute round, one player gets added to each team and the sudden-death continues for another minute, and so on.
      5. If two players from opposing teams get out simultaneously during a sudden-death round, the clock does not stop. The remaining players will play until one person gets out or until the end of the minute when another player will be added, and so on. 
  10. The Game / Cycling In
    1. When a member of your team catches a ball thrown by your opponent, a member of your team who is OUT can come into the game. Players will rotate into the game in the same order they were called out. A team can never exceed 6 players on the court.
    2. Players waiting to rotate in cannot interfere with the game in any way.
    3. When a member of a team is injured and would be considered IN, a player who is OUT may substitute in for said injured player. The substituting player must be the next one in the rotation. Substitutions can only be made when play has stopped. No other substitutions will be made for injured players.
  11. The Game / Balls
    1. A team holding the majority of balls must throw a ball (within the 5 second countdown as warned by referees). No ball can be placed by a player anywhere on their opponent’s court.
    2. Pinching the ball (where a player squeezes rubber to rubber inside the ball, or exerts excessive squeezing deemed close enough to pinching by a ref) while THROWING at an opponent will not be permitted. If a referee sees a player pinching, that ref can issue a warning. A player hit by a pinched ball thrown at them is IN. A second pinching call results in an out for that player. The impacted player may be caught back into the same game.
    3. Pinch BLOCKING (where a player blocks by squeezing rubber to rubber or excessive squeezing deemed close enough to pinching by a ref) will not be permitted. If a referee sees a player pinch blocking, a warning is issued. A second warning results in an out for that game. The impacted player may be caught back into the same game.
  12. Scenarios
    1. If a LIVE ball hits one teammate, then bounces off that teammate and hits another, and the ball dies, then BOTH teammates are OUT.
    2. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, bounces off that ball and hits another(s) teammate(s) and the ball dies, then that(those) other(s) teammate(s) is(are) OUT.
    3. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, bounces off that ball, is caught by another teammate and then it dies, then the person who threw the ball is OUT, and one player can cycle IN depending on the number of teammates on the court.
    4. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, bounces off that ball without knocking the first ball out of the player’s possession, and then it dies, neither the thrower nor the opposing teammate are OUT.
    5. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, and knocks that ball out of their possession, then that player is OUT. Players are not out if they drop a ball first to catch a LIVE ball thrown by an opponent player.
    6. A LIVE ball deflected off a teammate can be caught by another teammate, resulting in the person that threw the ball being OUT, and one player being cycled in depending on the number of teammates on the court.
    7. A LIVE ball caught by a player who is in the air will only be considered a CATCH if said player lands with at least one foot fully in bounds before going out of bounds.
  13. Code of Conduct
    1. HEADSHOTS:​ A direct headshot (that is: a ball that travels directly from an opposing player’s hand to a defending player’s head) will result in the ball immediately becoming a dead ball and will not result in an OUT.
        1. When a player has more than 2 points of contact with the floor when hit in the head, that player is OUT.
          1. Any part of their body counts as a point of contact
          2. If a defending player’s ball is in contact with them and the floor, it counts as a point of contact
        2. When the ball has been previously deflected off of another body part, player, or ball into the head, that player is OUT.
        3. A player may not deliberately block the ball with their head. They will be called OUT.
      2. Players struck with direct headshots are not OUT unless they are struck simultaneously (or nearly simultaneously) with other live balls
      3. A ball caught against a player’s head is not considered a headshot and will count as a catch.
    2. HIGH BALLS:​ A high ball is defined as a ball thrown above an opposing player’s shoulder level when said player is standing upright. A player who throws a high ball will be given a first warning. Should said player throw a second high ball at any point during the same game, they will be called out. High Ball warnings reset after each game within a match.
        1. If a ball is thrown above the shoulder level, even if not near an opposing player, a high ball warning will still be issued.
        2. If a defending player jumps to dodge and a ball thrown passes above shoulder level of the person in the air, it will be called a high ball and a warning will be issued.
        3. If a defending player jumps to dodge and a ball thrown passes in an area not above shoulder level of the person in the air, while still passing above the shoulder area of another nearby player standing upright, it will be called a high ball and a warning will be issued.
  14. NO KICKING BALLS: Flagrant kicking of balls is not allowed on the dodgeball court. A player that kicks a ball during a game will be called out.
  15. SHAGGING: When players are shagging a ball that is out of bounds, they must place the ball in bounds on the side of the court in which the ball is out. The ball must be placed on the ground and can be moved in a forward rolling motion to bring the ball back into play. Balls cannot be taken from the opposing sides of the court and thrown to players.
  16. The head referee has the final say on all rulings.
  • SportsmanshipBig Apple Dodgeball, Kickball, and Bowling Leagues strive to create an inclusive environment for all participants. All players are expected to conduct themselves with the highest level of sportsmanship.
    1. Sportsmanship is defined as: fairness and respect for one’s opponents, teams, and referees, as well as exhibiting graciousness in winning or losing.
    2. Threatening language, verbal threats, or slurs against race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
    3. In the gym or at any league function, any player who deliberately tries to harm or intimidate another player through the use of force, threatening language, or verbal threats will be subject to league consequences including warnings, ejections from the gym, suspensions from games, and expulsions from the league without any refund of his or her paid player fee. The level of penalty imposed is at the sole discretion of the Board and will be based on the severity of the infraction, as decided by the Board.
    4. It is expected that all players will be allocated equal playing time per day of play.
      1. Captains are responsible for starting players an equal number of games (as even as possible) per match per night for all regular season games and regular season tournaments. No player may be seated out two games in a single match before another player has been seated out at least one game.
  • Attendance / Eligibility
    1. A player must attend at least 50% of regular season games to be able to play in the final tournament.
    2. A player must attend at least 60% of the season (including the final tournament) to retain “vet status” for subsequent season registration.
    3. Special circumstances must be presented to the Board in advance.

Updated: March 25, 2019