Dodgeball Rules

Dodgeball League Rules

Main Rule Set = USA Dodgeball

We follow USA Dodgeball rules, with some adaptions. This is the need to know;

(last update 2/13/24)


  • Teams consist of 6 players per game. 
  • Legal Line-Up: There must be always at least 2 girls on the court 4M/2F to start a game (subject to change based on sign-ups and will be detailed in Week 1 email). Free agent teams may not need to adhere to gender rules.
  • If a team cannot produce a legal line-up that team will be allowed to play short-handed (less than 6 on the court)
  • A female player can play in place of a male player but not a male player in place of a female.
  • During the regular season, subs are allowed in the case that players cannot play. For subs during the postseason contact the league director before the night of playoffs.
  • On a catch, the players come back in from the order in which they were out with the subs from the team being the first players in while following gender rules. 


  • All Teams will arrive at the same time and play 4- 10-minute games each night. To stay on time teams must line up as quickly as possible.
  • Each game will be played with a 10-minute timer. You will be able to fit as many matches as possible within the 10 minutes for each opponent. 
  • No new game will be started with 30 seconds or less left. 
  • In the event of any 1 v 1 situation where nobody is throwing the ball, we will go to a no-blocking rule that is at the discretion of the referee. 


  • Each game will start with players touching the backline with a side ready countdown. All players can start running after hearing “dodgeball” in the “side ready, side ready, dodgeball” countdown.
  • When the referee starts the game, the team may only go for the balls on their right side of the court.
  • For balls to be thrown during opening rush, balls must be cleared back 5 feet (at the discretion of the refs) before throwing the ball on opening rush. After clearing the 5 feet once, players may then go up to the centerline to throw the ball.
  • If there is a false start, each team will receive their 3 balls and then the game will resume when all balls are cleared.

Throw Clock/BURDEN- Which team has to throw.

  • 'Burden' is to prevent teams from stalling when they have the majority of the balls.
  • Once the burden is established, count starts. Burden is established when all balls on the burden side are on the court or held by teammates along the sidelines.
  • If balls are off the court, the throw clock will start when balls are possessed by players of the team that is playing, whether that be playing or shagging. The throw clock will start even if the side without burden is waiting for balls to return to the court.
  • The throw clock starts at 10 seconds counted down at the discretion of the referee
  • Failure of a team not resetting burden before the throw clock reaches zero seconds will forfeit all balls to the opposing team
  • How to determine Burden-
  • The home team has burden first to start games
  • The winner of the game prior will start with burden the next game
  • Burden only resets when the side with burden throws a ball. It does not reset when the defending side throws during the burden countdown. 
  • Burden is determined by
  • Majority of balls (more than 3 on one side) 
  • Majority of players(if both sides have 3 balls)
  • Whoever didn't throw last(if both sides have same amount of balls and players and Team A threw last Team B has to throw)
  • Burden Resets when a ball is thrown by the attacking team


  • A player will be deemed out when: 
  • They are hit with a live ball. (Clothing is considered part of the body.) or
  • They are struck by a ball that bounces off a teammate or a ball a teammate possesses or
  • They throw a ball, and it is caught before it hits the floor, the wall, or the ceiling or
  • They step or fall outside of the boundaries including, Sidelines, backlines, and the centerline( HARD LINES, Stepping on a line means you are out) or
  • They drop the ball they are possessing when trying to block a ball thrown at them (see blocking) or 
  • Trapping a ball- a trap is when the ball hits a player and the ground at the same time 


  • Players can defend themselves from a ball by blocking with another ball
  • No part of the thrown ball can hit any part of the players’ body (including the hand and fingers)
  • The player must also maintain control of the ball they blocked with
  • A player that drops the balls as a result to the block, will be deemed out.


  • The dimensions of the court will be the size of the volleyball court. 
  • Players must remain in the dimensions of the court at all times. 
  • Players that have been knocked out or teams that are not playing are expected to retrieve balls. It will be strongly encouraged for active players to always stay within the boundaries. 
  • When returning in from a catch, players are eligible to get hit once they have one point of contact in bounds and must enter through the back line. 
  • A player must make first contact within the boundaries when catching a ball and land in bounds. If the catch is made while falling out of bounds the catch will count and they will be out.
  • Players may only step over the centerline on opening rush


  • Have fun, play fair.
  • Respect the integrity and judgment of the referees
  • Be responsible for your actions and be honest
  • If rules are not followed, Cards can be given out verbally.
  • Players can receive cards at the discretion of the league director for arguments with the referee.
  • Yellow Cards:
  • Arguing with Refs
  • Ignoring Refs calls and staying in the game 
  • Cursing at refs other teams 
  • Throwing a ball at the other team after clearly being out already
  • Red Cards
  • Continued arguing with refs
  • Making contact with opposing team members or refs
  • Continued verbal aggression
  • Penalty for cards
  • Yellow card
  • You are automatically out
  • You cannot play the next game 
  • Your team has to play down a player on the court for the next game during the 10 minute match
  • Red Card (2 yellows) 
  • You are automatically out 
  • You cannot play for the next two ten minute matches 
  • Your team has to play the remainder of the 10 minute match down a player
  • Multiple Red Cards
  • If you get more then one red card during a night you will be asked to leave for the remainder of the night. 
  • Any red card after 3 on the season will result in automatically being asked to leave 
  • If you average one red card a week for an entire season you may be unable to play in future li kick leagues or face league suspension.
  • If a rule is in question, the league director or league coordinator will provide clarification and assist the refs in their call.


Key Rule Changes/Most Confused Rules:

  • There are no momentum catches
  • All lines are hard lines stepping on a line(even a toe) will result in an out(Includes sidelines, backlines and center line) 
  • Every throw by the attacking team will reset burden count but if a defending team throws burden count does not reset.
  • Arguing with refs, not respecting calls will result in cards that can be given out at league director or coordinator discretion based on recommendations of referees. 
  • Games will not start with less then 30 seconds left on the play clock during the regular season