The Different Rules of Dodgeball

Different leagues have different rules, but they have similar basic aspects in every game dodgeball. In a game, you can use up to three and less than 10 dodgeballs. Six is the number of balls you must have when conducting a game and having the rule enforced. The ball has a material of foam based and is the size of a volleyball and has a plastic shell. People usually use a standard size for all their balls or they can use multiple sizes in a match. The game is usually played on a volleyball court, basketball court, a fenced area or other areas. There is no specific dodge ball court design, but whatever court they use, they must have a center line.  At the beginning of a match, the balls are lined up on the center line. Once the whistle blows, the players rush toward the center line and try to grab the balls backwards to their teammates in the back of the court. The players cannot pick up the ball and throw it right away. That is considered as an opening rush. As soon as the balls are cleared from the center of the line, the players may then throw the balls at the opposing teams and try eliminating the other players.  When a different player on the opposing team has been hit by a dodgeball and no one catches it before it becomes a dead ball, that player is out and must move to the team’s benches. This rule also applies to if someone tries to catch the ball and the ball is dropped. You can hit people in the head depending on the rules and what type of game you are playing.  If a player catches the ball that is being thrown by the other team, then the player who threw the ball is out, and the player who has been out the longest on the team who caught the ball is back in the game. As long as the ball has been caught and it has been held in their hands for at least two seconds, the thrower is out. All players can pick up the dead balls and throw them back at the other team and can leave the court to gather the balls that have rolled out of bonds, but cannot throw the ball until they are back in the court. A player can use their ball in their hands to block the different balls that are coming in their direction. Depending on the rules of the game you are playing, if a ball in the player’s hand is knocked out their hands as the opposing team throws or the ball is dropped when using to defect the oncoming balls, the player can be eliminated. The game is over once all the players on the team are out.  A three-minute time limit has been established for each contest. If neither team has been eliminated at the end of the three minutes, the team with the greater number of players remaining will be declared the winner.


Different terms used in the game of dodge ball are according to the WeHo Dodgeball League:

attack line– The center or half-court line, which is the furthest either team can attack from.

ball control – Keeping the majority of the seven balls on your side of the court, and systematically attacking.

buddy up – Offense: Synchronized throwing with one or more teammates. Defense: When catchers pair up with snipers or throwers to block the opposition, and to protect teammates from direct counterattacks.

deflection – When the ball ricochets off a ball or player. Offense: Deflections can be a major weapon because they can get multiple players out on one throw. Defense: Players often use a ball to deflect another up, hoping a teammate will make the catch.

dead ball – A dodgeball that has touched the floor, wall or ceiling.

fault– Any action other than being hit that results in a player being ruled out, including stepping over the attack line, going out of bounds or repeatedly making high throws.

headshot – A thrown ball that hits a player anywhere above the neck. If the player is standing, he/she is not out and the thrower is given a warning for high throws.

opening run – The initial run to get the balls at the attack line.

pump faking – An act done to fool the opposition into believing a ball is coming their direction.

suicide – Jumping over the attack line, and in effect sacrificing yourself to hit another player.

10-second count – An edict issued by the referees to the team holding a majority of the seven balls in play. They have 10 seconds to throw however many balls they hold more than the opposition. If a team does not comply with the count, they must give the opponent all of their balls.

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