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Dodgeball Rules

National Amateur Dodgeball Association (NADA)
Official Rules and Regulations


Rule 1 Players, Field, & Equipment

Section 1: Team

Art. 1 Teams will be made up of 6-10 players. A minimum of six players will compete on a side; others will be available as substitutions.

Art. 2 Co-Rec teams must start all games with no more male players than female players: 3 male and 3 female, 2 male and 4 female, etc.

Art. 3 Substitutions may enter the game only during timeouts, or in the case of injury. Co-Rec teams may not substitute male for female players.

Section 2: Field Dimensions and Markings

Art. 1 The game may be played indoors or outdoors.

Art. 2 The playing field shall be a rectangular surface free from obstructions at least 50ft long and at least 30ft wide. Ideal measurements: 70' x 40'

Art. 3 The playing field shall be marked with sidelines, end lines, attack lines, and a center hash mark.

There shall be at least 3 feet (preferably 10ft) of unobstructed space outside of boundaries. It is recommended that the centerline be 8 inches wide.

Art. 4 A restraining line will be located 6-8ft outside and parallel to each end line. Only active players (those not out) will be allowed to pass through the area between the end line and restraining line.

Section 3: Boundaries

Art. 1 During play, all players must remain inside boundary lines.

Art. 2 Players may pass through their end line only to retrieve stray balls. A stray ball is one that has not been picked up and is lying on the ground.

Art. 3 When retrieving a ball, the player must also immediately re-enter the playing field only through their end line.

Note: A player not immediately re-entering the playing area may be declared out.

Art. 4 A player may be handed a ball, provided the player receiving the ball remains completely within their team's field boundaries. Players may be handed a ball while standing out of bounds.

Art. 5 A player shall not:

A. Have any part of their body contact the playing surface on or over the sideline.

B. Enter or re-enter the filed through their sideline.

C. Leave the playing field to avoid being hit by, or catching a ball.

D. Have any paRt of their body cross the centerline and contact ground on their opponents' side of the court.

Note: A player may, without penalty, step on the centerline.

Penalty for Article 5 violation: Player will be declared out.

Exception to 1,3,5d: During the opening rush, many players cross the centerline. Officials should refrain from calling players out unless a definite advantage is gained by the action.

Section 4: Equipment

Art. 1 The official ball used in tournament and league play will be an 8-inch rubber coated ball.

Art. 2 The standard number of balls for a 12-player game is six on a side.

Art. 3 Participants must wear shoes. No metal cleats are allowed.

Art. 4 Participants must wear shirt and shorts/pants.

Rule 2 Game Play

Section 1: The Game

Matches will begin with the flip of a coin.

Art. 1 The team winning the coin flip will have a choice of sides to begin the match.

Art. 2 Teams will alternate sides after each match.

Art. 3 The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players by getting them out.

An out is scored by:

A. Hitting an opposing player with a live thrown ball below the shoulders.

Note: If a player ducks, and this clearly is the cause for the player being hit above the shoulders, the player is out and the throw is legal.


B. Catching a live ball thrown by an opponent.

C. Causing an opponent to drop a live ball as a result of contact by another thrown live ball

D. An opposing player stepping out of bounds.

Live (defined) - A thrown ball that strikes, or is caught by an opposing player before contacting the ground, another player or ball.

Art. 4 A player may block a thrown ball with a ball being held provided the held ball is not dropped as a result of the contact with the thrown ball.

Note: A ball deflecting off a held ball and striking the holder is no longer a live ball.

Section 2: Timing, Time-outs, and Substitutions

Art. 1 A 7-minute time limit has been established for each game.

Art. 2 Each team will be allowed on 60-second time out per game.

Art. 3 Only the court judge's whistle starts and stops the clock.

Art. 4 All players are in jeopardy until the court judge recognizes and signals the beginning of a time out or end of regulation time.

Exception: All live balls in flight at the time of an official's signal to end regulation time or begin a time out remain live, and may eliminate an opponent, until they become dead.

Art. 5 During time outs, teams may substitute players. Substitutes may be players who did not start the game, or players who wish to re-enter after having been declared out.

Note: Co-Rec teams may not substitute male for female players.

Section 3: Beginning the Game

Art. 1 Prior to beginning a game, an equal number of dodgeballs are placed along the centerline on each side of the center hash mark. A standard game consists of 6 balls, 3 on each side of the hash mark.

Art. 2 Players then take a position behind their end line.

Art. 3 Following a signal by the official, teams may approach the centerlines to retrieve the balls. Teams may only retrieve balls placed to the right (as they face the center line) of the hash mark. If balls remain on the centerline after a team has retrieved and moved their balls beyond the attack line, either team may retrieve those balls.

Section 4: Opening Rush Rule

Art. 1 Each and every ball retrieved at the opening rush must first be taken beyond the attack line and into the team's backcourt before it may be legally thrown at an opponent.

Example: Following the opening whistle, a player rushes and is the first to secure a ball from the centerline. That player must then carry or pass the ball into their backcourt before it may be legally thrown at an opponent.

Section 5: Declaring a Winner

Art. 1 The first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner.

Art. 2 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.

Art. 3 In all overtime periods, the first team to legally eliminate any one opponent will be declared the winner.

Section 6: Overtime*

Art. 1 If an equal number of players remain after regulation play, a 3-minute sudden death overtime period will be played.

Art. 2 To reduce time required to finish an overtime game, team captains may choose to add an equal number of players prior to the start of the first overtime. Sudden death still applies. Both captains must agree to the number of players added. If not, overtime will begin with the number of players left standing at the end of regulation time.

Art. 3 All overtime periods will begin with an equal number of "balls in hand" behind a team's end line.
The first team to legally eliminate any one opposing player will be declared the winner.

Art. 4 No time outs are allowed during overtime.

Art. 5 Substitutions and/or additions are permitted only prior to the start of any overtime period.

Art. 6 At the end of each overtime period, if no players have been eliminated, an additional player from each team - to a maximum of 6 - will be placed back into play.

Art. 7 The sudden death format continues through all extra periods.


Section 7: Stalling and 5-second violation

The following procedure will be used to prevent overtime.

Art. 1 A team trailing during a regulation game must be given the opportunity to eliminate an opposing player. This requires a ball to be at the disposal of the trailing team.

Art. 2 It is illegal for the leading team to control all the balls for more than 5 seconds. If the leading team controls all the balls they must make a legitimate effort to get at least one ball across the attack line and into the opponent's backcourt. If this is not done within 5 seconds, a violation will be called. A team may avoid a 5 second violation by throwing or rolling a ball into the opponent's backcourt. This does not mean throwing the ball over and through an opponent's end line.

Note: Only a court judge or official may call a 5 second violation.

Penalty for a 5 second violation:

First violation: Stoppage of play and the balls evenly divided between the teams. Play continues with "balls in hand."

Second violation: Free throw for the opposing team - a penalty in which one player is allowed an unobstructed throw at their opponents without risk of elimination. This is possible because a caught free throw does not result in an out for the thrower.

Third violation: Ejection of one player from the offending team.

Note: The stalling rule does not apply to overtime periods.

Rule 3 Officials and Their Duties

Section 1: Court Judges and Officials

Art. 1 All contests will be supervised by a court judge.

Art. 2 Rules will be enforced primarily through the honor system. Players will be expected to rule whether or not a hit was legal or they were legally eliminated.

Exception: During tournament play, all semi-final and final round matches will be officiated by no less than 3 officials. These officials will rule in all situations.

Art. 3 The court judge's responsibility will be to rule on any situation in which teams cannot agree. A team may appeal to the court judge if they feel a player has violated any rule. THE COURT JUDGE'S DECISION IS FINAL.

Art. 4 Court judges may warn players and technical fouls on those who display unsportsmanlike conduct. Any player receiving 2 technical fouls in a game will be ejected and suspended a minimum of one game. Suspensions will begin with their next scheduled game. Severe infractions or multiple technical fouls may result in suspensions from matches or tournaments.

Note: A court judge is not required to warn a player before calling a technical foul.

Section 2: Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Unsportsmanlike conduct may include but is not limited to:

1. Foul language

2. Hits above the shoulders

3. Unnecessary roughness

4. Arguing with officials, staff, participants, or fans.

5. Abuse of the honor system.

Section 3: Protests

Protests will only be accepted in cases involving use of an ineligible player. Protests of judgment calls will not be accepted.

Rule 4 Tournament Format and Tie Breakers

Section 1: Match Play

Art. 1 Matches will be decided using a best-of-three format in which the first team to win 2 games will be declared the winner of the game.

Art. 2 During pool play, or round robin play, all three games will be played regardless of the results of the first two games.

Art. 3 The format used to determine a champion in a particular division will be decided by tournament officials, based on the number of teams registered.

Section 2: Scoring

Art. 1 A +/- score will be assigned to each game based on the number of team members left standing at the end of the game.

If Team A eliminates Team B and still has three players left standing, Team A receives a game win and +3 rating, and Team B receives a game loss and -3 rating. Any team winning an overtime game receives a +1 rating. Losers of an overtime game will receive a -1 rating.

Section 3: Tie Breakers

In the case of teams finishing pool play with identical win/loss match records, the following tie breaker procedures will be used:

Step 1: Head-to-head match record between tied teams.

Step 2: Games win/loss record between tied teams.

Step 3: Total +/- rating between tied teams.

Step 4: One game playoff.

Code of Conduct

1. Understand, appreciate and abide by the rules of the game and the honor system.

2. Respect the integrity and judgment of game officials and staff.

3. Respect your opponents and congratulate them in a courteous manner following each match, whether in victory or defeat.

4. Be responsible for your actions and maintain self-control.