The intent of this wiki is to provide both new and experienced players with a comprehensive listing of what rules should be enforced during a competitive dodgeball match.

The Rules

1.  'Dead' ball.  If a thrown ball makes any contact with any non-opponent surface during its trajectory, it is a 'dead' ball.  This means if it hits you, you are NOT out.  Surfaces include but are not limited to:  the ground, any other player, another ball which is not held by you, a wall, etc.

2.  If a ball thrown by an opponent makes contact with 'you', and it is not a CATCH, you are OUT.  The expectation is that you call yourself out and leave the playing field.  'You' includes everything about you:  your body, your face, your hair, your clothes, your shoes, your shoelaces, etc.  The exception to this is you may block a ball with another ball used as a 'shield'. 

3.  If a ball makes contact with your 'shield' followed by ANY part of you before becoming a 'dead' ball, you are OUT.  If your shield is knocked out of your hands or dropped due to the contact, you are OUT.  If the ball makes contact with the fingers/hand/arm holding the shield, you are OUT.  This often happens quickly and is difficult to judge.  The expectation is that you call yourself out and leave the playing field.  

4.  Once you are out you should walk off the playing field at a reasonable pace.  You may attempt to swat / block shots during your travel, but not to the extent that your progress toward the sidelines is hindered.

4b. Players who are OUT should form a line on the sidelines in the order they were taken out. This is the 'first out, first in' rule.

5.  Two balls.  At ANY time (including while out of bounds during ball retrieval) that you have possession of two balls, you are OUT.  

6.  "BAD REF CALLS" - Referee calls are judgement calls.  If a ref calls you out, you are OUT.  Yes, even if the ball thrown at you totally missed, etc.  

7.  There should be a minimum of two refs for each match.  Please volunteer to help ref matches that you are not actively participating in.  There should never be more than 4 refs.  

8.  Start of a match.  One of the refs will raise their hand to signal that they are going to call the start of the game.  If your team still needs time to organize, please ask them to hold or wait.  A ref may use any of a variety of signals to start the match.  (Examples:  go, start, dodgeball, begin, hi-ya...)  It is not required that they lead with "Ready....".  

9.  Start of a match.  Runners may only retrieve the three balls to the right of their playing field. You may have any number of runners, including zero.  After approximately 10 seconds into a match, all balls are fair game for either side.  

10.  Start of a match.  No player may throw an attack at the opposing team until either they or their ball has crossed the red line approximately 5' behind the middle of the court.  If you break this rule, you are OUT and your attack is ignored.

11.  Players must remain on their half of the play area unless they exit through either of the two back 'gates'.  Contacting the floor OVER the line with any body part as part of a dodge or not means you are OUT.  If you intentionally or accidentally exit a gate as part of 'dodging' a ball, you are OUT.  During the 'initial rush', players may step over the line while retrieving their team's ball. This is the only exception to this rule.

12.  Players may exit the 'gates' to retrieve ONE ball.  You must bring it all the way back to the gate before passing it to a team mate. You may, however, pass as many balls as you like to the opposing team in order to facilitate game play.

13.  Players are encouraged to 'play what you have'.  Example:  If your side has 2 easy to reach balls in the boundary, toss those before going out to retrieve additional balls from out of bounds.  This helps with keeping the games moving, especially when you are the last one left.

14.  NEW RULE.  Once a ball has been launched, it is a live ball.  It does not matter if the player who threw it goes OUT before it reaches it's target.  A player who is OUT before releasing a throw is throwing a dead ball.

15.  Catching any live ball thrown by an opponent has two effects.  First, the player who threw it is OUT if they are not already OUT.  Second, a player from the catching team may return to the field as long as this does not cause the max number of players for a match to be exceeded.  (Normally six.) This applies even if the player who threw the catch was OUT before the catch was secured. Returning players must follow the 'first out, first in' rule (4b).

16.  A CATCH must be fully secured before it counts.  Thus an attempt to catch that results in you landing out of bounds, does NOT count.  (Also, UNSAFE.)  The ball must not become a dead ball (rule #1), and the catcher must not go OUT before the catch is secured. Additionally, using the ground to directly assist with trapping the catch does NOT count as a catch. (And thus that player is out since the ball contacted them before contacting the ground.)

17.  A player may not drop a ball after being hit to secure a catch.  Intentionally dropping a ball before attempting a catch is acceptable.

18.  Head / face shots.  A person's face / head should never be intentionally / maliciously targeted.  A decision of maliciousness will always be a ref call, not a players.  Generally, most hits of this type WILL count as the player being hit as OUT. Malicious / intentional face shots may result in a lifetime ban from dodgeball at the discretion of the judge.

Other Information

  1. During season play at least three of your players must be from your team in order to avoid forfeit.
  2. During double-elimination playoffs: ALL players on your team must be from your team.
  3. You may play with fewer than six players.
  4. If you are fielding six players, at least one must be female at the start of a game. If you start a game without a female player, you are limited to at most five players on the field at a time.