What Are The Rules Of Dodgeball?

Dodgeball Rules and Regulations

Dodgeball is a fun and exciting game that incorporates your focus, agility, and coordination! The general objective of the game is to eliminate all of the players on the opposing team in order to win. 

The most common way to eliminate a player is to throw an 8inch diameter foam ball targeted for them, and if the opponent is hit and does not catch the ball, then the opponent is eliminated. If, however, the player throws the dodgeball at the opponent, and the opponent catches it before it touches the ground, then the player that threw the ball is eliminated.

Players at all times must be focused in the game watching where all of the balls are being thrown at, must be agile to not get hit from the opponent’s throw, and also must be coordinated to catch the ball thrown without dropping it in order to eliminate the opponent.

Dodgeball Basics

Dodgeball is played on a standard basketball court, using the same outer boundary lines. To begin the game, teams are placed at the opposite ends of the centerline. The centerline has six foam balls lined up, and the players of each team must be touching the back wall of their side. The referees of the game will shout out, “3, 2, 1, Dodgeball”, and then the game is officially in play.

The players of both teams will run towards the centerline trying to retrieve a ball, and usually retreat once they have a ball. This beginning sprint to retrieve the ball is called the opening rush.  Players are not allowed to cross the centerline once the game is in play, with the exception of retrieving the ball from the centerline at the start of the game. If a player crosses over the centerline besides the exception or goes out of bounds, the referees will call the player out and is eliminated.

Both teams have their own half of the court to move around in and to try eliminating the opponents while still dodging the opponent’s thrown balls. A thrown ball that has yet to hit the ground and has the ability to eliminate a player is called a live ball. A dead ball is when a ball has hit a surface, like the ground, and can no longer eliminate a player. A ball is also dead after it has hit a player and eliminates them. Once the ball is dead, it must roll to the back of the wall and hit it before being activated as a live ball before a player can throw and eliminate an opponent. 

Catching the Ball

Dodgeball Catch

Catching the ball is important in dodgeball because it affects both teams. If a player has thrown the ball towards the opposing team and a player catches the ball, the thrower is eliminated. The player must have full control of the caught ball in order for the thrower to be eliminated. This includes remaining right side up on both feet, and if landing from a jump, the player must land on both feet. If an athlete tries to catch a thrown ball and fumbles with it before the ball drops to the ground, this is not considered full control, and the player is out. Not only does a caught ball eliminate the thrower, but it also allows the catcher’s team to bring one eliminated player back onto the court and play. The player that returns to the game is in an order of who is first eliminated gets to go first back into the play. Players that are eliminated must stand on the sideline’s wall and wait for a teammate in play to catch the ball. To consider themselves a player again, the player must go from the sideline to the back of the wall and touch it, just like a dead ball, to reactivate themselves into the game.

Blocking the Ball

Dodgeball Blocking

Players can block incoming balls by either moving away from the ball, or holding a live ball to deflect another incoming live ball. In order to successfully block, the player must make sure that no parts of their hands holding the blocking ball touches the incoming ball first, and if so, the player is out. Additionally, players cannot use a dead ball to block other balls. If this is done, then the player who used the dead ball is eliminated. 


Is dodgeball a professional sport?

Dodgeball is a professional sport, with 18 teams competing under the National Dodgeball League. Each team is based around a city in the United States, similar to other professional sport leagues. There is also a World Dodgeball Federation with teams representing countries from all over the world competing to win the World Championship title. 

What is the 10 second rule?

The 10 second rule in dodgeball refers to the length of time that a player can hold the ball before the ball being declared a dead ball. Once the ball is declared dead, the ball must then be turned over to the opposing team. A crucial point is that it is the player’s responsibility to know the length of time they have been holding the ball.  This rule was implemented to have the game play without major stalling or stopping from the players.

What is a showdown?

A showdown occurs when there is only one player remaining on each team. When this happens, the referees will pause the game by counting down from 10 seconds and then exclaiming “showdown!” The rules of the game adjust slightly; there is no more centerline that a player cannot cross and each player is given two balls, with the last two balls at each end of the centerline. The referees will commence then the showdown, and whoever is hit first loses and the thrower’s team wins. In a showdown, the 10 second rule does not apply.