Dodgeball is a team game in which the goal is to get the opposing team's players out. Players can get out by stepping out of bounds, being hit by a ball, or having their throw caught by the opposing team. This game was first played in Africa over 200 years ago. Although now the game is played with friendly rubber balls, originally it was played with rocks. Now, this game is commonly played recreationally between friends, but there are much more serious levels. There are numerous dodgeball organizations around the world. These include the National Dodgeball League (NDL), International Dodgeball Association (IDA), and the World Dodgeball Federation. Each of these organizations sponsor tournaments throughout the year. The largest tournament every year is the Dodgeball World Championships, put on by the World Dodgeball Federation and Federación Mexicana de Dodgeball. Tim Fullerton, Nate Krieter, Justin Payan are some of the best players in the world.
In any dodgeball game, there are strict boundaries. A rectangular court is used with a line across the center, splitting the court in two halves. The court size differs on the location and regulators of the game. A player is not allowed to exit their half of the court (stepping over the centerline or sidelines) or they will be considered out. Sometimes a referee may allow players to cross the line to shorten the court and speed up the game if there are only a few players lasting a long time. Similarly, when a certain number of players remain, a referee may decide to shorten the boundaries on each side to force players to be closer together. However, these are only special occasions and do not occur in every game.
When a player of one team throws a dodgeball and directly hits the body of a player on the opposing team, the opposing player is out. Once hit, the player must drop any balls he was holding and exit the court. If a ball hits one player but is then caught by a teammate then the thrower is out. The person hit by the ball is not considered out until the ball hits the ground or a wall. Referees are on site to try and ensure no one cheats, but often times it is up to the integrity of the players to call each other out. Headshots are allowed if they are unintentional. If a player repeatedly hits their opponents with headshots the player may be punished.
If a player throws a ball and it is caught by a player on the opposing team, then the thrower is out. The ball must be caught before the ball touches the ground. If the ball bounces or hits the ground in anyway, the thrower remains in the game. A ball is considered caught when a player secures the ball with one or two hands and maintains possession. If a thrown ball hits a player's hands and the player fails to secure the ball, then that player is out. When a thrown ball hits an opponent but is caught by their teammate before the ball hits the ground, the thrower is out. When a thrown ball bounces off of a wall or ceiling and then caught, the thrower is not out.
A ball is considered dead if it hits the ground, wall, ceiling, a teammate or if the referee announces it to be dead prior to hitting an opponent. If someone throws a ball and hits their teammate before it crosses the center line the ball is considered dead. When a ball turns dead it can no longer get anyone out. A ball becomes live again when a player picks up the dead ball off of the ground and throws it. When a player is hit by a live ball, they are out. If a dead ball touches someone that player is not out. To begin the game, all balls are considered dead. Once players pick up the balls and throw them, they become alive again.
When a ball hits you or your throw is caught by the opposing team you are out. Once out, you go and stand in your team's line on the side of the court, outside the boundaries. Each team has a line for their players who have gotten out. Players must line up in the order they got out. When a teammate catches a ball, one "out" player is allowed to return to the game. Every time a player catches a ball a single teammate is allowed to re-enter the game. They must re-enter in the order they were eliminated. While out, teammates are not allowed to assist their team in any physical way. They cannot run and get overthrown or out of bounds dodgeballs, catch, or throw towards the other team.
If a player has a ball in their position they can use it to block balls thrown at them. If the player uses the ball to ricashe the ball away from them before the ball makes contact with the player, then the person is not out. However, if the ball ricochets off of the blocking ball and hits the player holding the ball, the player holding the ball is out. Similarly, if the player loses the blocking ball when attempting to block, then that player is out. So if a player is holding a ball and the ball is thrown at him, he may attempt to block with the ball he is holding. If he successfully knocks the thrown ball away, then he will remain in the game. If the thrown ball makes contact with the blocking ball and causes the player to drop it, then that player is out.
There is a large variety in dodgeballs used depending on who is playing. The most common dodgeballs used are made of rubber and include balls with an 8.5 inch diameter and 5 inch diameter. Games should include 4 blockers (8.5 inch) and 2 stingers (5 inch). The larger balls are a little more difficult to throw, but are great for blocking incoming throws. Meanwhile, the stingers are easy to aim and throw at high speeds across the court. When balls are overthrown or make their way out of bounds, players are not allowed to run and chase them. The balls will remain out of bounds until a referee gets them or a team's retriever gets the ball. Teams are responsible for bringing their own retrievers so the game can keep a fast pace.
The game will begin with all players behind their endline. The dodgeballs begin on the centerline. There should be 6 balls spaced evenly across the line. When the referee blows the whistle or begins the game, players from each side run to the center and attempt to grab as many dodgeballs as they can for their team. Each team can send any number of players to the center line to retrieve. A player can grab as many balls as he can and is not limited to a certain number. Similarly, teams are not restricted to a certain number. Players that step or lean over the center line are out. Players are not allowed to physically force or drag opponents over the line.
Depending on where the game is played, the ending of the game may change. In a majority of recreational games, the game is over once only one player remains. Following this the game will and one team will become victorious. In the World Dodgeball Championships, the game lasts 40 minutes. There are two 20 minute halves. Within this timeframe, the teams will play as many games as they can. After the 40 minutes finishes, whichever team won the most games within the time will be considered the winner. If playing a timed game and it is tied at the end of the allotted time, teams will play an overtime game to determine the winner of the match.
The most important part of dodgeball is being able to dodge the ball. When a ball is thrown towards you, as long as you don't go out of bounds, you can do anything to dodge the ball. Jumping, sliding, flipping, rolling, and ducking are all legal to do in games. When dodging, as long as the ball does not hit you, you will remain in the game. Dodging is the reason that this game is possible. If players were unable to avoid incoming throws, the game would be much less fun. Further, if opposing players are unable to hit you because of your dodging skills, then it will be impossible for them to get you out, aside from throws.