Dodgeball Rules

Dodgeball Rules


Dodgeball Rules

Game Duration

  • Games will start sharply at their scheduled time. Please arrive early to ensure you are dressed for play and ready to start on time.
  • Games will be 55 minutes long with a 5 minute warm-up. Use this warm-up time to stretch your body (arm especially) and get ready for some heavy throwing.

The Court

  • The dodgeball playing court is bounded by the court volleyball lines. Anything outside the court volleyball lines is out of bounds.
    Due to the size of the gyms we use the side and back lines may be crossed to pick up a ball and when dodging.  If a referee sees anyone standing outside the side and back line they will be tld to step inside the court.
    The center line can not be crossed at any time or the player will be out.
  • The center line divides the opposing sides. Any player who has a part of their body touch the other side of the center center line will be out.
  • The attack line is a minimum of 6’ from the center line. This line will be designated at the beginning of each season.


  • 6 regulation rubber coated high-density foam balls will be used.
  • All players must also wear non marking running shoes.
  • Game set-up includes a ball layout of alternating balls, based on colour on the center line at the start of each match.


  • Teams consist of a min of six players no real maximum (typically 6-12 players per team).
  • Six players are in play in each game.
  • A minimum of 1 female player is required for each game. There is no maximum of female players (teams may have 6 female players if they choose to do so).
  • A maximum of 4 male players are allowed on the court at one time.
  • In the event that a team does not have 1 female player, they will forfeit unless the opposing team and referee both decide to let them play this way.
  • If a team is short they can play with a min of 4 players, one of whom has to be a female.
  • A Forfeit will be a 40-0 loss for the forfeiting team.
  • All players must be registered with Niagara Rec Sports and sign the waiver in order to play.

During the Game – Players

  • If at any time a team is to be found in violation of the minimum and maximum player limits
    ie.A team has more than 6 players on the court
    More than 4 males
    No femalesThe game will be stopped and 6 points will be awarded to the opposing team.


Substitutions must be made between games, and be complete prior to the start of the game. No substitutions can be made during a game, except in cases of injury.


  • Retrievers are individuals designated to retrieve balls that go out of play and direct the ball back in to the court.
  • Retrievers may not cross the centre line.
  • Only players that begin in play at the start of the match and become “out” may function as a retriever.
  • Players not in the match will remain on the bench and shall not be permitted to touch any ball.
  • Retrievers may not enter the court at any time.
  • If a team has all six players still in the court, one team member from the bench may retrieve the balls out of bounds for their team.  As soon as a player on the court is deemed “out”, the team member must return to the bench for the rest of the match.
  • NOTE: With the gyms we are currently using retrievers are not required until a 1 vs 1 situation due to the proximity of the gym walls to the court boundaries.  Players are allowed to step out of the court briefly to get a ball and must come back into play.  they are still able to get hit when they are out of the court.


  • The first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner.
  • The winning team will receive one point for every player remaining in the court.
  • Matches continue until the 55min game is over.
  • The team with the most points wins.

Playoff Scoring Rule

  • There can be no ties in the playoffs, one team must advance.
  • If the game is within 6 points after the previous round and time is almost up the referee will call last round to let the players know this is the last round of the evening.

Playoff Stalemate Rule – Not tied when stalemate is called

  • If there ends up being a “stalemate situation” where any competitive game play by either team would be detrimental to either team the stalemate rule comes into effect. The team that is already in the lead (by overall points) going into the final round will get the win.
  • The stalemate rule can only apply when one of the two teams has only 1 player remaining.
  • Example: Team 1 is loosing by 4 points going into the final round.  The game gets to the point where Team 1 has only 3 players on the court and Team 2 (the team up by 4 points) has only 1 remaining player.  Team 1 does not want to hit the remaining player on Team 2 as they will loose the round by one point and Team 2’s player does not want to throw the ball at Team 1 for fear of a catch being made.  At this point any competitive game play is detrimental to either team, a Stalemate is called and team 2 gets the win.

Playoff Stalemate Tie Rule – Tie when stalemate is called

  • If there ends up being a “stalemate situation” where any competitive game play by either team would be detrimental to either team the stalemate rule comes into effect. If the resulting score ends up with an overall tie the referee will call Stalemate tie and a final 4 player round with 2 males and 2 females will take place.
  • The stalemate rule can only apply when one of the two teams has only 1 player remaining.
  • Example: Team 1 is loosing by 3 points going into the final round.  The game gets to the point where Team 1 has only 3 players on the court and Team 2 (the team up by 3 points) has only 1 remaining player.  Team 1 does not want to hit the remaining player on Team 2 as it will end up in a tie (not a win) and Team 2’s player does not want to throw the ball at Team 1 for fear of a catch being made loosing them the game.  At this point any competitive game play is detrimental to either team, a Stalemate tie called and a 4 vs 4 sudden death game will be played.

Time rules

  • Games will be 55 minutes long with a 5 minute warm-up. Use this warm-up time to stretch your body (arm especially) and get ready for some heavy throwing.  ie. 6:30 game on the schedule will have a 5min warmup and the game will begin at 6:40, game will end at 7:30.
  • If one team is ready to play and the opposing team is not ready after 5 minutes have passed the team that is ready to play will receive 6 points.
  • If one team is ready to play and the opposing team is not ready after 10 minutes have passed the team that is ready to play another 6 points.
  • If one team is ready to play and the opposing team is not ready after 12 minutes have passed the team that is not ready to play will forfeit the game and a 40 – 0 win will be given to the team that was ready to play.
  • No round can start if there is less than 5 minutes remaining.

Beginning Play

Play begins when all players are positioned behind their team’s end line (back boundary line) and are touching the wall.

The Rush

  • The Rush occurs at the beginning of each game or reset.
  • Players must be behind the end line and touching the back wall before the referee will start of the game.
  • The referee will call out the starting countdown: “3 ,2, 1, Dodgeball!” Upon hearing “Dodgeball!”, teams approach the centre line to retrieve their balls.
  • A team may rush with as many or as few players as they want, but at least one person from each team must rush.
  • Players may only retrieve the 3 coloured balls assigned to their team at the start of the game.
  • Players may not slide or dive head first into the centre line or they will be called out.
  • Crossing over the centre line will result in an “out.”
  • Players may not physically grab and pull another player across the centre line or prevent them from returning to their side of the court.

Putting a Ball in Play – Ball Activation

The throwing player must have possession of the ball and at least one foot behind the attack line to activate the ball.

A ball that hasn’t crossed the attack line is considered a dead ball; any hits or catches are voided plays.  The player that threw the ball is out.

The ball must be activated before it may be thrown at an opponent.  There are 2 ways to put a ball into play (activate the ball) following/ during the rush:

  • A player has possession of the ball and has at least one foot behind the attack line.
  • A player passes the ball to a teammate who has one foot behind the attack line.

Balls Left Behind After the Rush

  • Any balls not retrieved after the rush can be picked up and activated by any team.
  • Any non activated ball must be carried, rolled or thrown past the attack line before it can be put in play
  • Any player that throws a ball before it is activated is out.

Live and Dead Balls

  • Once thrown (or passed to a teammate intentionally or unintentionally) a ball is live until it touches the ground ceiling or walls at which time it will become a dead ball.
  • Any player that gets hit by a live ball is out.
  • Passes that are dropped or hit other team mates are live balls and the players(s) that are hit are out.
  • If the ball hits one or more player while live and then becomes a dead ball (not caught by that players teammate) that/those player(s) is/are out.  It is possible for the ball to bounce off one player, in the air hit a player on an  opposing team and then the floor.  If this happens both players form either team are out (it has happened).


  • A player may pass a ball to a teammate at any time.
  • The passed ball is a LIVE ball, all standard rules apply with the exception that the player making the throw (pass) is not out when the ball is caught by his/ her teammate.
  • If the ball touches any player (intentionally or not) and the ball is not caught the player is out.
  • This also goes for putting a ball in play during the “rush”


There are no team time-outs.


  • The player that is out must exit the court not to block/ shield other team mates from getting hit.  They must walk to the closest edge of the court (left side, right side or back) and make their way to the bench around the court.  Out Players may not walk across the court.
  • If a player that is out intentionally or unintentionally blocks/ shields any other player form getting hit the shielded player will also be out.
  • A player shall be deemed “out” when a live ball hits any part of the player’s body (except above the shoulders), clothing, or uniform.
  • A player is out when they attempt to catch a live ball but drops it or fumbles.  This includes a ball that is passed to them by a player on their own team.
  • An out occurs if a player is hit by a live ball rebounding off another player. If both players are hit, they are both out.
  • When a defending player catches a live ball, the opponent who threw the ball is “out”.  The team who caught the ball is then permitted to bring in a player who was previously “out”. Players shall return from the queue in the order they were “out” (i.e. first “out,” first “in”).
  • A player may not be in possession of more than one ball at a time, if a player picks up or catches a 2nd ball they are “out”.
  • If a player is holding a ball and uses their hand to pass a ball on the ground to another player this will be considered 2 balls and the player will be out.  They can use their foot or the ball they are holding to pass the ball on the ground to another player and they will not be called out.
  • If a player holding a ball attempts to block a ball thrown at them, but they lose possession of the ball they are holding in this play they are “out”.
  • If any part of a player crosses the centre line and touches the ground they are “out”

Special Circumstances

  • Possession – A player is considered to have possession of a ball when they are holding on to the ball with one or more body part(s) and they are in complete control of the ball.
    A player can use their feet to “juggle”  the ball,  pass the ball to themselves or another team mate.   The ball being juggled is  not considered to be in the players possession unless they have it controlled and stopped with a part of their body (hands, arms, knees etc.)   At no time can you kick the ball (with force)  at anyone or in any general direction.
  • At no time can a player make a catch to get him/herself back in the game.
  • A ball that is thrown into the opposing team’s court, then crosses back over the line in the air into the court of the team that made the throw is considered a dead ball.  Even if a catch is made the ball is dead, no one goes out and no one comes back in.   This usually happens as a deflection off the opposing player and or a ball that the opposing team is holding to block with.
  • The Suicide Throw:  This takes place when a player intentionally jumps over the center line throwing the ball in the air at the opposing team.  Once the player lands on the other side of the line the player is out.  As long as the bal is released before the player lands the throw is live and any player hit by the ball is also out.

No Kicking The Ball

  • At not time is any player allowed to kick the ball either at or towards the opposing team or in frustration.  If this takes place the team that kicks the ball will be called out.
  • Players may use the side of their foot to pass the ball to another player either on their team or the opposing team.  the passed ball is a dead ball and can not cause an out.


  • Players that are out will use the bench across from the referee, all other players will use the opposite bench.
  • When going out players will line up in order of being out from closed tot he center of the court being the first out and farthest form center of the court being the last out.  This way the referee can see better who is next to come on when a catch is made.


  • If a ball is thrown by a player on the opposing team and then caught before hitting the ground, ceiling or wall the player that threw the ball is out.
  • The team that made the catch will have a player that was was already “out” come back into the game.  If the team already has 6 players in the game no player comes back into the court.
  • Upon a catch being made the player coming back into the game must promptly touch the back wall before they are active and eligible to play.  They can not make a throw, catch or be hit by the opposing team until they touch the wall.
  • At no time can a player make a catch and get themselves back into the game.


  • To speed things up a little when both teams are down to only one player a side after a minute of play (and both players are still in) the referee will instruct both players to use the smaller badminton courts.
  • Players may not step out of bounds as they will be strictly enforced.
  • Teammates that are already out will retrieve balls that are out of reach for both players.


  • Players may defend themselves by blocking the ball in flight with another ball, but must retain control over the ball they are using to block Any successfully blocked ball rebounding off another ball is considered live.
  • A player dropping or losing possession of the blocking ball is deemed “out.”
  • Any player hit by the rebounding ball is deemed “out.”·
  • If the ball at any time hits the defender’s hand, wrist, arm or any other part of their body (including head) during blocking the defender is “out”.
  • If a teammate catches a ball in the air that has been blocked the thrower is “out”.


The act of squeezing the ball in order to alter the thrown or blocked ball is not allowed.  A regular grip is ok but anything beyond that will be called.  It is referees discretion.


  • No team shall have all 6 balls in their side of the court at one time.  If this happens the referee will order the “hoarding” team to roll (or throw) one or more ball(s) to the other team.
  • If some time has passed and no one is out the referee can tell the team with all the balls to roll two, or three over to speed up the game.


  • The act of intentionally delaying the game and/ or refusing to throw the ball.
  • If a referee determines that a player or team is stalling, the referee will warn player or team. If the stalling continues, at the referees discretion, the referee may require the player or team to throw one or more the ball(s) immediately.
  • ie. One team has all the balls on their side, places one ball just over the line and then sits back to wait for the opposite team to attempt to get that ball just over the line.  This is stalling and the referee shall instruct the team that is stalling to send more balls over and/ or start throwing.

Out of Bounds Rule

  • If any part of the player’s body crosses the center line the player shall be deemed “out”.
  • The courts we typically play in have the walls close to the side and back lines, based on this the rules for out of bounds will be as follows;
  • Players must remain inside the side and back lines at all times unless retrieving the ball.  Players may still be hit by balls while retrieving the balls.
  • Players may not “hide” out of bounds to avoid being seen or hit.  if a player is doing so the referee will instruct the player to step in the court and continue play.


  • A headshot occurs when a player is hit above the shoulders while standing in the upright position.  It is the referees discretion for all headshot calls.
  • If a player is crouching down, or bending down to dodge or pick up a ball this is NOT a head shot.
    An exception to this if the referee deems the thrower had intention to hit the head of an opponent crouching down or ducking.  This will also be called a head shot at the referees discretion.
  • Any thrower committing a headshot will be deemed “out.”
  • A hit player remains in play, unless wanting to substitute with an “out” teammate due to the injury.
  • No player may intentionally allow the ball to hit them in the head. Doing so will not result in an out of any player involved in the play.
  • If a ball is deflected off of another ball a player is holding (and changes direction) resulting in the player getting hit in the had, this is not a head shot.

Dead Ball

  • Any ball that touches the ground, ceiling, wall or floor is  a “dead ball”.
  • A player hit with a dead ball is NOT “out”.
  • If a thrown ball bounces off a dead ball on the floor the thrown ball will also be dead and anyone hit by the ball after it bounces off the dead ball on the floor is NOT out.

Rule Enforcement

  • The referee will rule on any play that he/she physically sees as well as any situation the teams cannot agree upon.
  • For plays that the referee does not see, the “honour system” is in play.  In this case the players are expected to rule whether or not a hit was legal, or whether they were legally eliminated.  If players cannot agree on a rule, the referee will have final say on all calls.

Overall Standings Tie Breakers

  • If there is a in the standings based on points the following will be used as a tie breaker.
  • Total Most Points  (standings 3 points for a win, 1 for a tie)
  • Plus minus
  • Points for
  • Points against
  • Head to Head (if applicable)
  • If everything is equal a coin toss


  • Niagara Rec Sports offers team shirts as an option as part of registration at cost to our players.
  • Uniforms are not mandatory but sure do look good. Matching team shirts are recommended, if your team does not have team shirts they can be purchased through Niagara Rec Sports for 9.00/ shirt.
  • Head bands, wrist bands are encouraged as Patches O’Houlihan would want it that way.
  • Good quality shoes must be warn.
  • Shoes must be non marking. If you are wearing shoes that leave marks on the floor you will be asked to take them off and wear non marking sole shoes.  If you do not have shoes with non marking soles you will not be permitted on the court.
  • Halloween or Christmas themed costumes are also encouraged.  Just remember that your uniform is an extension of your body and any part of the uniform that gets hit will count as a hit against you.

Code of conduct

Unsportsmanlike conduct

  • No abusive or foul language is to be used and/ or directed at the opposing team.  If abusive or foul language is used the referee will give the team/ player a warning, after which if the language continues it will result an in out.  If the abusing or foul language comes from a player on the bench one of the players in the game will be forced to take an “out” as a result.  If the abusive or foul language is still being used the player may be asked to leave the game and a subsequent suspension will most likely follow.  The referee reserves the right to forgo the warning and issue a direct “out” if he/ she decides to do so.
  • At no time is any player allowed to cross the centre line into the opposing teams court for any type of rule dispute or otherwise.  Players must remain on their side of the court at all times.  If a player does cross the cernter line for the above reason they will be forced to sit out the next round and potentially asked to leave by the referee at the referees digression.  Congratulating an opposing player for a good play is allowed but must be done in a friendly manner and not to obstruct current play.
  • Physical altercations are not allowed under any circumstances.  Any player(s) involved in any physical altercation will be banned from the league at the discretion of Niagara Rec Sports.
  • Ejected players will receive a minimum 1 game suspension (potentially more) and a $20.00 reinstatement fee before they can play in the league again.   During this time they are not permitted into the gyms.

Forfeit Fine – Less than 24hrs notice

All teams must give min 24hrs notice if they are not able to field a team or they will be charged a $50.00 late notice forfeit fee.  The team will not receive any league points in the standings until the $50.00 fee is paid.  Points not received during this time will not be reinstated.  No team can play in the playoffs with an outstanding fine.  If you owe a fine at the time the playoff schedule is being made/ updated your game will not be scheduled.

If a team fails to pay the $50.00 fine within a week the league can look for another team to take their place.

This is to ensure we are able to give opposing teams and referees enough notice that your team will not be able to make it to the game.  No one likes going to a game only to find out the other team did not bother to show up.

This normally is not an issue as most teams respect each other enough to give proper notice, this fee is for those that don’t.

We are very lenient with this policy and as long as you have a few people show up and can form a team with other players playing before your game at the diamond, field and/ or court so the opposing team has a game to play your team will not be fined.

At the end of the season any money collected from the forfeit fine will be donated to a local charity such as project share.

  • If a team forfeit’s 3 times during the season they risk removal from the league.
  • If a team does not pay the fine within a week they risk removal from the league.
  • No points will be awarded to to the team in the standings until the fine has been paid.
  • A one week grace period may be implemented for teams to pay the fine.
  • No team can enter the playoffs with an outstanding fine.

Team Roster – Player Eligibility

  • A roster list can be found on the website under the regular season schedule.
  • If your name is not on the team roster you are not eligible to play in the league.
  • Team captains are responsible to ensure all team members (including themselves) are registered and eligible to play.
  • To be eligible to play in the league each player must
    1. Register online and complete all 3 steps (via a link given only to the team captain)
    2. Completely fill out, sign the waiver a part of the registration process.
    3. Final step is to pick your league and team.
    4. If completed correctly you will see the players name on the team roster.  If the player is not on the team roster they did not complete registration fully and will have to re-register.
  • Once players have completed the above they are added to the team roster on the team roster page and they are eligible to play in the league.
  • Anyone not on the team roster page is not eligible and playing illegally.
  • Teams caught playing with unregistered players. The player(s) will be removed form the field immediately and the team will automatically lose their current game and the next game on the schedule.  (The teams can still play this game minus the illegal player(s) but it will be a loss on the schedule.)
  • If teams are short at the game they can borrow players from another team ONLY if the opposing team captain agrees to it BEFORE the game begins.  Borrowed players must be registered with another team in the NRS league.  Outside players are not allowed and must fully register with the team before playing

Process for challenging player eligibility

  • All players must carry some form of picture ID and be ready to show the referee or the opposing team captain if asked.
  • The team captain of the team challenging the eligibility of an opposing team’s player(s) must pull up the team rosters on the phone and approach the opposing team’s bench and speak to the team captain regarding the player in question with the roster.
    If the team captain refuses to do so the team will get an automatic loss and the player in question will be removed from the field immediately.
  • The team captain (of the team in question) must verify the player in question is in fact on the roster and ID must be shown by the player to verify they are in fact the person listed on the roster on the website.
  • If the player is found not to be on the team roster and/ or does not show ID to prove they are who they say they are, notify the referee and they will be removed from the game and the offending team will take a loss for that game.
  • Teams have until the beginning of their game to register players.  All registrations are time stamped in our back end.
  • This process can take place until 5 minutes after the game is complete.

School board rules – Children
The school board has a no children policy that states children are not permitted to be at the gym at any time before, during or after the games are being played.  Please respect this rule and teams in violation risk forfeiting their game.

Team captains are responsible for bringing a first aid kit to each game.

Niagara Rec Sports reserves the right to remove or disallow any player from the league at any time throughout the year.  No refunds will be given if/ when players are removed from the league.

Niagara Rec Sports reserves the right to add, alter, remove rules either verbally or on any rules page at any time as we deem fit, any rule changes will be effective immediately.  Rules discussed at the team captains meeting are to be considered part of the league rules.

For other league rules visit this page.

General Code Of conduct.

  • Respect the integrity and judgment of game officials and NRS staff.
  • Understand, appreciate and abide by the rules of the game.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of game officials and NRS staff.
  • Respect your opponent and congratulate them in a courteous manner following each match whether in victory or defeat.
  • Be responsible for your actions and maintain self-control.
  • Have fun!