Rules (as per Dodgeball UK)


Copyright Dodgeball UK, 2011

There are many variations of dodgeball rules throughout the world. Here are the Dodgeball UK rules which we hope are simple but also the most fun!
The Court
The court is divided into two areas, with a ‘neutral’ area separating the two sides at the centre of the court. It is a similar size to a volleyball court but can vary depending on the venue. Players must remain in the court at all times unless they are out – they are not allowed to go and fetch the balls from outside of the court – there will be ballboys/girls to do this.


6 official Dodgeball UK dodgeballs; 4 of 8” diameter, and two small spongier balls which only the female team members may throw. The main balls are not as hard as on the film “Dodgeball”, but they are not foam either. They generally don’t hurt – honest!


Each team normally consists of 6 players, with a minimum of two female players in the league – other events depend on the specific tournament rules. Teams may change their personnel in between sets but not during, except in the case of injury when they may use a substitute.


Each match consists of a pre-defined amount of sets (normally best of 3), which are usually timed (2.5 mins per set). Once the time is up, the team with more players remaining wins the set. If it is level, the team to get the next person out wins the set! The court is shortened when it is down to one-on-one.

The ‘Rush’!

Each team stands behind the baseline. Six dodgeballs are placed along the centre line. On the referee’s whistle, players rush to get the balls in the centre. Once you have a ball, you have to return that ball to the baseline before it is in play, you can’t just pick it up and throw it. YOU MUST NOT SLIDE IN OR USE YOUR FEET, THIS WILL RESULT IN A YELLOW CARD! You can get the ball back to baseline by either running back with it yourself or throwing it back to someone who has waited there. Once it has reached the baseline, you can start to throw at your opponents. You cannot venture further forward than the neutral zone, although you may follow through into this area after throwing the ball from behind it. You may also enter the neutral zone to collect a ball during the set (at your own risk!)


A player is ‘out’ when:
• a LIVE ball hits their body (shoulders or below) or their clothing
• an opposition player catches a LIVE ball they have thrown. So if you throw it and your opponent catches it cleanly then you are out and one of their team comes in. If you catch it then it is your job to call in your teammate who is first in the line. The referee will not necessarily do this for you. If you are caught please leave the pitch straight away.
• Once you are out, you must leave the court immediately and go to the queue of players already eliminated from your team OUTSIDE and BEHIND the court area. If someone on your team catches a throw and you are first in the queue, you go back in via the baseline.
• Please be honest. If a ball brushes your clothing you are out. Please don’t try to cheat. Just be honest and enjoy the game. Anyone seen blatantly cheating will receive a red card and be suspended from the next match.
A “LIVE” ball is one that has not bounced or hit a wall/ceiling. Any ball that has bounced does not count and play continues as normal. It is like cricket/rounders – until the ball bounces you can still catch someone out.You could be hit with the ball but if one of your team-mates catches it before it touches the ground then the thrower is out. However if the ball touches you and other players then bounces, you are all out! In venues where there are walls constituting the court area, if it hits the wall (or ceiling) first then that ball is not LIVE. If you parry the ball onto the wall or ceiling you are out even if you catch it after it has hit the wall. 
A player can block a throw with a ball they are holding and play carries on as normal. If however the player blocking drops the ball they are holding, that doesn’t count as a block and they are out. A player can parry the ball away with their ball, and if they or a team-mate catches it then the thrower is out. If it hits the blocker’s hand(s) holding the ball they are blocking with, that is not out. Once it hits the ball you are holding, or the hand holding it, you and your teammates are safe for that play, and only the thrower can potentially be out.

Out Of Bounds

Players must stay inside the court at all times unless they are out, when they must line-up appropriately. If you catch a ball and momentum takes you out of the court area, you are out. If you momentarily go outside the baseline but are not dodging a throw in the process you will not be out as long as you come straight back into the court. If however this is a regular occurrence the referee has the right to warn you and then call you out. If you leave the court area in the act of dodging a throw you are immediately out. If the game has reached the shortened court stage, you must stay within the baseline at all times. There is no leniency on this, and no exception.
Players have to be hit at shoulder height or below to be out. If a male player hits a female player in the face, he receives a yellow card. If a female player hits a male player in the face, we all laugh and the game continues!

Yellow & Red Cards

yellow card is given for reasons stated above and also for jumping the queue when a catch is taken, using your feet or sliding in the ‘Rush’, or at the referee’s discretion. The player shall join the back of the queue but can come in again as per normal with a catch. A red card is given for the following reasons: Foul & Abusive Language to a referee or another player; Any kind of threatening behaviourBlatant Cheating – where a player is caught or hit, and knows it, and tries to stay in, or when a player comes back into play knowing they should not be in play; or at the referee’s discretion. A red card means the player is out of that whole match and potentially suspended for more matches. There is no place for any of this behaviour in dodgeball, it is a FUN game!

Respect For The Ref

The ref’s decision is final. They will always give the benefit of the doubt to the person being thrown at. You must not remonstrate with the ref during a game. If you want to chat please do so after the set has finished, as the ref needs to be concentrating on the game. Finally, please enjoy the dodgeball – it’s great!

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