8.5 Dodgeball Rules

Table of Contents

  • Definitions

  • The Start

  • Match Structure

  • Gameplay (Basics)

  • Gameplay (Finer Details)

Key Definitions:

  • Live Ball - A live ball is a ball that is in play and can get a player out. This includes:

  • Any ball within the bounds of the court that is in the possession of or thrown by an active player and has not been defined as a dead ball.

  • If the throwing player throws a ball then subsequently gets out while the ball is still in flight, the ball will still be considered LIVE until dead. 

  • A live ball may get multiple players out (e.g., ricochet that does not involve a head shot) till it is deemed DEAD.

  • Dead ball is defined as any ball that has

    • hit the floor, wall, ceiling or any object outside the court

    • been caught

    • collided with another thrown ball not in possession by another player (ie. not blocked)

    • been deemed as a headshot

  • Ball Control - Is a quality attributed to the team that has the majority of balls on their side of the court.

  • Blocking - A defensive act of deflecting a thrown live ball with a held ball.

    • Note - no portion of the player’s body may make contact with the thrown ball for a successful block.

    • If the ball is blocked then hits any player’s body while it is live, the player is out.

  • Valid throw - Good faith effort to throw the ball towards a player (ie., not a roll or a ball that was intended to land far from a player especially when 1 or 2 players are left on the court.) 

  • Shagging - act of collecting balls

  • Soft Lines - You can make contact with the line, but cannot make contact with the floor exceeding the bounds of the line (ie. you can pick up a ball beyond the line, but not use the ball to stabilize yourself) 

  • Hard Lines: You are out as soon as any part of your body contacts the line.


The Start

  • At the beginning of each match the captains will meet and do “rock, paper, scissors” - the winner will choose either the side of the gym or ball control, the loser getting the left over option.

    • If the captain is not at the game that day, the designated person who does the “rock, paper, scissors” is deemed the captain for the day and all captain duties apply to them.

  • At the start of the game, 5 balls will be arranged on the centerline dictated by the exchange in #1.

    • 3 balls for one team, 2 balls for the other

      • Initial ball control will be determined at the start of each match and alternates each game.

  • 6 players will start at the back of each court *behind the back line or with their hand against the back wall.

    • To director’s discretion - if this is with a hand against the wall or just behind the back line

  • The game will start with a max of 2 players rushing for their team’s balls to the right.

  • If starting behind end lines, the team can enter the court at the ref’s whistle.

  • Each ball must be “cleared” before use by bringing them to the back line.

    • A ball thrown without being cleared is a dead ball - no outs or catches

Match Structure:

  • Each match will last a total of 15 minutes. 

  • Within each match, teams will play as many games as possible in the allotted time. 

  • Each game will end when an entire team is “out”

  • The match will have a hard stop at the 15 minute mark. If neither team has won, the game will not count towards the total.

  • At 2 minutes, no matter the status of the game, no-blocking will begin. No games will start at 2 minutes of less.

    • If there is a throw line violation, the throw cannot get anyone out, but it does satisfy burden and catches will count.

  • The team with the most game wins at the end will be awarded the match win.

  • A match will end immediately in a mercy if a team is losing by 10 games.

  • Time is stopped when:

    • Refs need to deliberate on a call or calls a time out due to a ball being off court (ref discretion on whether this is needed, e.g., if a ball is stuck to a ceiling or falls behind a bench and needs to be retrieved, resulting in material loss of game time)

    • A captain calls a time out

  • Only a captain may challenge calls with the refs or call a timeout. Each captain has two (2) time outs per match. 

Season championships will be determined by 1) Number of Match Point Wins -> Head to Heads

Gameplay (The Basics)

  • A game is won when every player of the opposing team is “out” .

  • Players are out if:

    • They are hit by a live ball thrown by the opposing team.

    • They throw a ball and it is caught by the opposing team while still live.

    • They break the boundary rules of the court.

    • They throw 2 highballs.

    • They receive a Yellow card.

    • They are called out by the referees for infractions of other rules.

  • If a player catches a live ball while their team has fewer than the maximum number of players on the court, they may add a player to the court. 

    • Players enter the game after catches in the following order:

      • Additional players that were not part of the initial starting 6 players .

      • First-out, first-in order for players that were part of the starting 6 players.

  • If a catch is made while there is already a maximum number of 6 players on the court, no additional player will be added to the court. The player that threw the catch will be out. 

    • A player that is out, but has not yet left the boundaries of the court will be considered “on the court”. If a catch is made after this player got out, but before this player has left the court’s boundaries, this player will still be out and no additional player will be added given there is still a maximum number of players present on the court.  

  • A team wins the game if all players of the opposing team are eliminated.

Gameplay (The Finer Details)

Burden & Stalling

  • The team with the majority of balls (team with “burden”) is required to throw enough balls over the center line so that the opposing team can obtain the majority.

  • * To prevent stalling of the game, there will be a 10 second burden countdown. The countdown begins once all balls on the burden side of the court are either on the court or in a player’s hands

  • * If a team with burden loses the majority possession as a result of balls rolling over outside of the control of the players (ie., not as a result of players’ throws; e.g., as a result of a ball naturally bouncing back and rolling beyond center line), burden resets to the other team

  • * If there is only one player left, burden can be relieved with just one ball being thrown and passing the center line 

  • * If a team does not satisfy the burden before the end of the countdown, the game is stopped, and all balls except for one ball are given to the opposing team.



  • Boundaries will be categorized into “hard lines” and “soft lines” defined as follows:

    • Soft Lines: You can make contact with the line, but cannot make contact with the floor exceeding the bounds of the line (ie., you can pick up a ball beyond the line, but not use the ball to stabilize yourself) 

    • Hard Lines: You are out as soon as any part of your body contacts the line

  • The center line is considered a hard line (except during the initial rush, where it is considered a soft line)

  • The side, back, and attack lines when used are considered soft lines.

  • You may not make contact with any object out of bounds of the court other than a ball - this will count as stepping off the court.

    • A ball out of bounds of the court may not be used to stabilize a player

    • A ball in the possession of the player is subject to “soft line/hard line” rules.

  • Throw lines are soft lines. If a throw is made in violation of the soft line rule, the thrown ball is considered immediately dead (ie., catches or outs will not count) 


  • Blocked balls are still considered live, and can be caught or get other players out.

  • A ball blocked back to the team that initially threw it is considered dead once it passes back over the half court line.

  • 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 and the ball remains LIVE. * * * Players are not out if they intentionally drop a ball first to catch a LIVE ball thrown by an opposing player.

  • Hands and fingers still count as OUT when blocking.


  • A LIVE ball that hits another ball in a player’s possession is still a LIVE ball (e.g., in a blocking situation) and may be caught or ricocheted to get others out. 

    • If the player loses possession of their ball as a result of the LIVE ball hitting it, the player is out. If a catch is made subsequent to this event due to the ricochet in this case, the catch is valid,the thrower of the LIVE ball is out, and the player who dropped their ball is still out.

    High Balls

  • Balls should be thrown at a height below the opponents’ shoulders.

  • If a ball passes near a player at a level above that player’s shoulder while that player is standing upright, it is considered a high ball.

  • Players will receive a warning if they throw a high ball. If they throw two (2) high balls within one game, they are out.

    • If a player is out due to high balls, they may still be caught in during that game.

    • High balls reset every game.

  • Headshots count as a highball when a player is standing upright when hit. 

    Head Shots

  • Similar to high balls, head shots will be called at the refs’ discretion

  • If a player is hit in the head while having fewer than 3 points of contact (ie. two feet and a knee, two feet and a hand, sitting down, or leaning against the back wall in a crouched position) with the ground, they are safe. 

    • In the event a headshot disorients a player to where they need to step out of the game, that player may be substituted with the first player in the queue.

    • If a player is in a position where 3 points of contact is not fully visible to the refs, the refs will have the final call on whether or not the player is out.

  • If a throw is deemed a “headshot”, the ball is immediately dead and any results from the play of this ball do not count (ie. Ricochet outs or catches)

  • If the player is bending over or otherwise not standing upright, the headshot is still valid, but will not count as a highball. 

    Equal Play Time Rules

  • If there are more players present than the maximum number on the court, players must sit out equally.

    • No player may sit out an additional time before all players have sat out equally throughout the night of matches.


  • Players who are out may “shag” balls for their teammates still in the game. These players who are out must remain on the left and/or right side of the court in the out of bounds area on your team’s side when waiting to shag a ball.

    • At no point should a player be standing in the out of bound area behind the back line, unless attempting to return a ball stuck out of bounds at that specific time. Once the ball is returned, the player must return to the left or right side of the outbound area on their team’s side of the court.

  • Players can only shag balls that are fully out of bounds, and may not …

    • step into the opposing team’s out of bounds area to collect any ball(s). Any ball(s) retrieved from the opposing team’s out of bounds area, will be returned to the opposing team to the ref’s discretion of fairness (ie. returning a ball that was stuck out of bonds on one side, but ws returned too forcefully and went to the other team).

    • reach beyond the sideline on the court  

  • Shagged balls must be returned onto the court immediately. They may be passed to their own players.

  • If a ball in active play (i.e. on the court) is interfered with by a player who is out, the ball will be required to be sent to the other team.



  • In a season where substitute players from outside of the league are permitted to play, the following rules will apply:

  • A non-league substitute is permitted to play only if there are less than 6 registered players present. You can up to 7 active players total with subs.

  • A non-league substitute may play no more than two days (2 matches per day) per season.

  • A non-league substitute may not play during the final tournament.

  • All non-league substitutes must sign the online anti-harassment/non-discrimination and injury waivers prior to playing.