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Classic Dodgeball Rules

The Game

Dodgeball is played by two teams, each made up of seven players. Each game consists of 5 rounds with a 4-minute limit on each round. All players must abide by the Gay Ball Society Code of Conduct.


Each team may field up to seven players on court during a round using a rotating bench. The Game Manager may elect to reduce the on-court players to six if the gym space does not allow for seven.

Rotating Bench All inactive players are to line up at a pylon located on the side of the gym opposite the gym entrance and once eliminated, players are to proceed to the end of the inactive players line. The first seven players in the inactive players line are to start each new round. Failure to properly rotate players may result in a 2-point reduction by a Game Manager or GBS Executive.

Player Substitutions Captains may opt to add substitute players to their team for a maximum of six total players. The team shall incur a two-point penalty per player added per game with all added players requiring approval by a Game Manager.

Court Markings and Boundary Rules

The playing court is a rectangular surface free from obstructions at least 50 ft. long and 30 ft. wide (volleyball court) and are marked with sidelines, end lines, a centre line, and attack lines. Attack lines are parallel to and 9 ft. from the centre line.

During play, all players must remain within boundary lines. Players can leave through their end-line only to retrieve stray balls. A stray ball is one that has not been picked up and is laying on the ground. When retrieving a ball, the player must also immediately re-enter the playing field only through their end line. A player may be declared OUT if they don't immediately re-enter the playing field.

A player may not cross the side lines to catch a ball that has struck them and is still live.

A player outside the playing area cannot legally throw at an opponent and cannot be eliminated by a live thrown ball.

If a player crosses the centre boundary line while outside the playing area or as an inactive player. An active player who crosses the centre boundary line while outside the playing area is immediately declared OUT. An inactive player who crosses the centre boundary line while outside the playing area will result in an active player being declared OUT.

During the final 60 seconds of play of each round and during over time, teams may advance to their opponents attack line. A player crossing their opponents attack line will be declared OUT.

A player may be declared out for the following:

  1. Have any part of their body contact the playing surface on or over a side line, exit or re-enter the field through their sideline;
  2. Have any part of their body cross over the centre line and contact the ground on their opponents side of the court;
  3. Leave the playing field to avoid being hit by or attempt to catch a ball.


Only the official balls provided by the league are to be used. (8.5" rubber ball)

There are six balls in a regulation game.

Participants must wear non marking shoes, shirts, and shorts/pants.

All clothes and or uniforms are considered part of the players body (exceptions may be made for theme or costumed games).

Game Play

The games will begin with the teams lining up at the end line.

The time limit per game is 20 minutes with a series of five rounds at 4 minutes each.

Teams will switch ends at the half way point of each game: after round 2 in a 5-round game, after round 5 in a 10-round game.

There is one 30 second time out allowed per team per game. A timeout can only be called if the team controls half or more of the balls on the court.

The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players by getting them out

An out is scored by:

  1. Hitting an opposing player with a live thrown ball below the shoulders.
  2. Catching a live ball thrown by an opponent.
  3. Causing an opponent to lose control of a held ball as a result of contact by a thrown live ball.
  4. An opposing player stepping out of bounds.

A live ball is one that strikes or is caught by an opposing player without/before contacting the ground, another player, a ball, official, or other object.

A kicked ball is not considered live.

If a player catches a live ball thrown by their opponent, in addition to the thrower being declared out, using a rotating bench, a player from the catchers team enters the game to the player limit. The player must remain in-bounds and in-control of a caught ball until contact with the ground is made.

A player may block a thrown ball with a ball being held, provided the holder does not lose control of the held ball as a result of the contact with the thrown ball. The held ball needs to strike the ground to cause the holder to be out.

A live ball becomes dead as soon as it comes in contact with a held ball.

Once a player is out, they must drop any balls in hand and exit the playing field at the nearest sideline. They must not interfere with the game.

Head Shots

Balls must be thrown in such a way that they will strike the opposing player below the shoulders, regardless of the players physical position on the court.

In the event a ball is thrown and hits an opposing player in the head, the player who threw the ball is automatically out and must leave the court immediately.

The player who was hit in the head is out and must leave the court immediately, no exceptions. If the player was in a fully upright and standing position, as determined by the referees and Game Manager, the team may replace that player according to the rotating bench. If there are no inactive players available, no player shall be substituted in and the player struck in the head will be out.

If any player or team is found to deliberately be throwing head shots or attempting to be hit in the head for a game advantage, that players team will immediately forfeit the game and the player in question will be suspended in accordance with the Code of Conduct at the Game Managers discretion. Regardless of the standings or score in the ongoing game, the official score will read 10-0 for the non-offending team.

A game cannot be won by hitting a player in the head. In all instances, if the last remaining player is hit in the head, regardless of body position, they are out and a new player may enter the game according to the rotating bench. The player who threw the ball is declared out. If the the player who threw the headshot is the last remaining a player, a new player may enter the game according to the rotating bench.

Players struck in the head may be removed from further play in subsequent games or rounds by the Game Manager.

Start of the Game

The game starts by placing six dodgeballs along the centre line; three on each side of the centre hash mark.

Players take a position behind their end line. If there is a back wall, players must touch the back wall at the start of the game.

At the starting countdown of "Ready. Dodgeball." teams approach the centre line to retrieve the balls

A false start will be called if players cross their end line prior to the officials signal and all players must reset to try again.

Restarting a Game

To restart a game, only players present when the game was held may re-enter play. Each team is given three balls to start with. All players must take position behind their end line and the starting countdown is given. No extra time will be added to a game.

Opening Rush

Players must remain on their feet when retrieving a ball on the centre line.

Once a ball is retrieved at the start of the game it has to be taken behind the attack line before it can be legally thrown across the centre line.

Once a ball is moved beyond the attack line it may be thrown from anywhere including in front of the attack line.

During the opening rush, players may cross the centre line provided one foot remains on their side of the centre line. If both feet cross the centre line, that player is declared OUT.

Fouls and Referees

All players are subject to the Code of Conduct at all times. The league will not tolerate game delays, the deliberate targeting of players heads, or unsportsmanlike conduct.

All games are self-officiated by the playing teams. Referees are provided to mediate on-court disputes. The referees decision is final - NO EXCEPTIONS.

Referees may make proactive calls on the following ONLY:

  1. Stepping out of bounds (except the end line)
  2. Stepping over the centre line or side lines
  3. Delay of game

The Game Manager, in consultation with the referee, may make decisions on the following:

  1. Deliberately throwing a ball at a players head
  2. Unsportsmanlike conduct
  3. Delay of game

Declaring a Winner

The first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner

If neither team has been eliminated at the end of regulation, the team with the greater number of remaining players will be declared the winner.

If an equal number of players remain on each side after regulation play the game continues into Overtime:

  1. The game continues as it was when time ran out;
  2. Time outs are not allowed during Overtime;
  3. Every 30 seconds after regulation time a new player enters the court for each team according to the rotating bench, until the maximum number of players is achieved;
  4. The first legal out wins the game;
  5. The game ends and no points will be awarded if neither teams can eliminate an opposing player within 4 minutes of extra time.

Stalling, 5 Second Violations, and 10 Second Violations

No player may be in possession of a ball for more than 10 seconds. The violating player must immediately roll the ball to an opposing player.

No team can hold all six balls on their side for more than five seconds. The violating team immediately loses possession of 4 balls.

Balls rolled or given to the opposing team must pass the attack line for team-possession to change.

Points System and Standings

A team will be awarded two points for winning a round by eliminating all opposing player.

One point will be awarded for winning a round by the clock or in overtime.

The team was the most points will be seeded first for the playoffs.

If two or more teams are tied, the team with the most points scored against the teams they are tied with will be awarded the tiebreak.

If still tied the team with the most round wins will be awarded the tiebreak.

The team that won the last round will be the final tiebreak.

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