Welcome to Skyline Athletes Dodgeball rulebook, any questions or clarifications can be talked over with league manager and/or referees at the beginning of each match, rules will apply for league games and tournaments. Not knowing the rules does not excuse a player/team from abiding by these rules. Please read and become familiar with the rules before league starts, if you are unsure of any scenarios/rules examples can be given and all questions will be answered and addressed in a timely manner.
Live Ball: A ball is considered a live ball after it has been thrown and remains a live ball until it (a) the ball touches a dead object; (b) collides with another live ball in mid-air; or (c) has been caught by an active player on the opposing team.
Dead Objects: Anything that is not an active part of the match; i.e., the ground, ceiling, permanent fixtures, dead players walking off the court, referees, and spectators. Unused balls (i.e. untouched by players) that are on or off the court are also considered to be dead objects and dead balls.
Dead Ball: A ball that is no longer a live ball for any reason described in the “Live Ball” section.
Out: A player is out if the player (a) is hit anywhere including hair/clothes/body by a live ball which subsequently touches a dead object (b) throws a live ball which is caught by a player on the opposing team; or (c) steps/touches the ground outside the designated boundaries of the court (d) drops a blocker ball due to live ball impact.
Set: The duration it takes to get ALL 8 players of the opposing team out. Each set is worth 1 point for the match.
Match: The entire league play between two teams to accumulate the most number of sets/points within two 20-minutes halves.
Block: When a ball is used to hit/deflect a live ball that is thrown from an opposing player and fingers holding the ball will be considered part of the ball. (If a ball hits above the wrist it will be considered an out, not a valid block.)
No blocking: Is the time when game time expires at the end of the half and the no blocking rule is put in place and if a player blocks (ball touch an incoming live ball) that player will be called out.
Attack line: Line marked on the court a ball has to go behind to become live at the rush.
Half court line: Line men are allowed to go up to throw, if stepped over he will be considered out.
Head Hunting: Purposefully throwing at people’s heads on purpose.
Pause of game: When a foreign ball enters the court the current game is paused (no throws/no outs count) until the foreign ball leaves the court. The whistle will be blown in this case.
Women’s line (opponents attack line): Line women are allowed to go up to throw, if stepped over she will be considered out.
Ricochet: A live ball that has been blocked, or a live ball bouncing and hitting multiple players before hitting a dead object.
Queue Line: Line on the side of the court near the back line, where players line up in the order they got out and may reenter the game when a catch is made. (First player hit out will be the first player back in, must be in line and prepared to go in within 5 seconds of the catch.)
Double Catch: When a player SIMULTANEOUSLY catches two live balls at the same time, the two throwers are out and the catch brings ALL players in the queue line back into the game. A valid double catch will be at referee’s discretion.
Pinching: Squeezing the ball to manipulate it in an unnatural way causing the ball to lose its shape when released. Pinching is NOT allowed and can result in verbal warnings to being ejected from the entire match.
Suicide Play: This occurs when a player jumps over the center line to throw out a player on the other team before landing. This is NOT a legal play. The player who attempts the suicide is out and will be assessed a warning.
Spin Throws: This is a special offensive technique that can be used during a game. The concept involves performing a 360 degree spin while holding the dodgeball with your arm straight and releasing the ball at the end of the spin in a backhanded motion. These are NOT allowed.
The object of the game is to score points by eliminating ALL 8 players on the opposing team by getting them out. This may be done by:
1. Hitting an opposing player with a live ball anywhere on their person, including their clothing, with such live ball subsequently hitting the ground or a dead object. A player that has been hit by a live ball is not out until that live ball touches the ground or hits a dead object, (a) if a live ball hits an opposing player and ricochets to strike another opposing player before hitting the ground or a dead object, then both players are out. (b) If a live ball is blocked by an opposing player and strikes another opposing player before hitting the ground or a dead object, then that player will be out. (c) If a ball blocked by an opposing player hits a player on the throwing team while still a live ball, the hit player on the throwing team is out. The ball is still a live ball and may yet be caught by the opposing team until it hits the ground or a dead object. (d) If a live ball ricochets off a dead player exiting the court and hits another player, the ball is deemed a dead ball and the hit does not count. (e) Since a player that has been hit by a live ball is not out until that live ball touches the ground or hits a dead object, any action that the player performs following the hit, but before the first ball touches the ground or a dead object, shall be deemed as “in play.” (f) A ball must be thrown to eliminate a player from the opposing team. In other words, the ball has to leave the hand and be airborne to be a live ball, so tagging a player with a ball in hand will not result in the opposing player being out.
2. Catching a live ball thrown by your opponent before it touches the ground or a dead object. The instant a live ball is caught, the person who threw the ball is out. To complete a catch, the catching player must have complete control of the ball and be touching the ground inbounds. In addition, catching a live ball will revive the player next in the queue line (first player out of the match will be the first player in on the catch). A player has 5 seconds to re-enter the court after the catch and it is at referees discretion to either allow or not allow a player back in the game if deemed too much time taken to return. (a) If a live ball ricochets off an opposing player and is caught by another opposing player before hitting the ground or a dead object, then both opposing players are safe and the player that threw the ball is out. (b) If a live ball that is blocked is caught before the live ball hits the ground or a dead object, then the player that threw the ball is out. (c) If a player is hit by a ball and steps off the court prior to that ball being caught by a teammate, that player is out. The player in the queue line will be revived by the catch. (d) If a live ball is thrown at an opposing player and is blocked or ricocheted back to the throwing team while it is still a live ball, catching that live ball does constitute a catch. (e) When a player SIMULTANEOUSLY catches two live balls at the same time, the two throwers are out and the catch brings ALL players in the queue line back into the game. A valid double catch will be at referee’s discretion.
Rules will be enforced primarily by the “honor system”. Players will be expected to act honestly and rule whether or not a hit was legal or whether they were legally eliminated. While they will at times let you know if you are out, a lack of call by a referee does not remove your obligation to abide by the Honor System. However, because of the fast-paced nature of the sport, sometimes a player would not feel a ball skim their clothing or hair. There will be up to 4 game-officials, whose responsibility will be to rule on any situation in which teams cannot agree. THE GAME OFFICIALS’ DECISION IS FINAL – NO EXCEPTIONS. Blatant dishonesty or failing to adhere to the officials’ decision may result in penalties.
A Match consists of 40 minutes of game play divided into halves with 5 minutes reserved for halftime and 5 minutes reserved for sudden death/tie breaker. The game clock will run continuously during each 20-minute half of game play—the clock does not stop between each set. As long as time remains on the game clock in either half of play, a new set may be started, however, any set in progress when time expires shall go into Sudden Death, whether it is at the end of either half or upon the expiry of extraordinary time allotted for a tie breaking match. Teams switch sides of the court after halftime. The referees shall maintain the official match time and have discretion to stop the clock for any sudden break, injury, etc., or shorten/forego a halftime break in the event the match begins late or if the first half overruns. There will be no ties at the end of matches, so whichever team wins more sets when the game clock expires will be the winner of the match.
A game begins by placing 6 dodgeballs along the centerline – 3 on one side of the center hash and 3 on the other. Players then take a position behind the baseline, with at least 1 foot touching the baseline. The referee prior to blowing the whistle will say “this side ready” looking toward one side of the court and then repeat the same statement looking towards the opposite side of the court. Following the starting whistle by the referee, teams may approach the centerline to retrieve the balls.
Teams may only retrieve the 3 balls to the right of the center hash on the opening rush. Once a ball is retrieved it must be taken behind the attack-line before it can be legally thrown.
Only the ball has to travel back behind the attack-line, not the player. So a ball can be reached or passed back behind the attack-line and thrown as a Live Ball immediately, as long as the ball itself travels behind the attack-line. Any ball thrown before it crosses the attack-line is considered a dead ball, and would not count towards a kill or a catch.
NOTE: All players must have at least one foot touching the baseline when the referee blows the whistle at the start of each set. At the discretion of the referees, teams may be penalized for false starting or if they are deemed to have blatantly cheated by not having at least one foot on the baseline.
Pinching is not allowed in this league. Pinching the ball purposely will result in the captain and player to receive a verbal warning and may be yellow and/or red carded. If a referee sees consistent pinching and warping of the ball to manipulate it will be deemed a dead ball and the player may be ejected from the game. Pinching is not allowed when blocking a ball either, to ensure the ball doesn’t come loose.
Head hunting is NOT allowed, and will be at the referees discretion, if caught head hunting a warning will be issued; if head hunting continues the player may be kicked out of the half.
Players may use the ball(s) in their hands to block an incoming ball. A successful block is one where the player retains control over the ball that is used to deflect the oncoming ball. If the player drops the ball used to block, the player is deemed out even if the live ball did not otherwise hit that player. In instances where a player is using more than one ball to block and in doing so drops one or more balls used to block a live ball, the blocking player may still be out even if he/she drops a ball that was not used to block if that ball was dislodged directly or indirectly by the impact of the live ball. The referees have the final say on whether a ball was dislodged on account of a block. Blocking is not allowed in Sudden Death. Balls that are blocked in Sudden Death will be deemed to have hit the person using a ball to block.
Teams will consist of 8-10 rostered players. A minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 active players per team will compete during any given set. Player substitutions are only allowed between sets. If a team makes a catch, it may only revive players who started in that particular set. Inactive players and supporters may assist in ball retrieval as active players cannot leave the court during the game without being eliminated.
COED MALE TO FEMALE RATIO
In each coed dodgeball set, at least 2 of the starting 8 players must be female. A team without an eligible female player for a given set must compete with no greater than 3 players in such set.
Active players is set by the ratio of 3:1 (males to females). At the start of each set, each team can field 3 males for every 1 female. Making sure that their team complies with this ratio is the responsibility of each team’s own captain.
During the regular season teams can bring in subs. Teams must follow the male to female ratio rule. Players interested in subbing in a league match must meet the following criteria:
1. Must not currently be on another active team playing the same night.
2. Must be authorized by the league manager.
3. Are responsible for knowing the rules.
4. May only play in one match per night.
5. A signed waiver and a small fee will be the substitutes and captains responsibility.
6. Substitutes will also be responsible to check in with league manager at the beginning of the night.
League managers are responsible for all final rulings on eligibility of subs, and NO subs are allowed during the playoffs.
Players are expected to wear non marking tennis shoes (toe sock shoes are allowed) to prevent injuries. If a players shoes mark up the floor they will be warned not to bring those shoes again, and will be asked to help the referees clean off those marks after the match is over. Wear comfortable clothing that you can move around in be aware that baggy pants and shirts will count as your person, and if clothing is hit by a live ball it will be an out. Tying long hair back is also encouraged if you get hit in the hair by a live ball you will be called out. NO catching gloves (football/kickball/dodgeball gloves) are allowed. Taping of the fingers are allowed with athletic tape.
Games will be clearly marked with tape to distinguish boundaries and will be divided into two equal sections by a centerline and attack-lines (6 feet from and parallel to the centerline). The queue line will be marked and the order in which you line up will be the order you go in on a catch. If a player is not in the correct area and a catch is made, they forfeit their chance to go in on the catch. Court dimensions for half-court games may vary by venue.
Active players must remain within the court boundaries, and should an active player step, fall or otherwise touch with any part of his/her body on or beyond the boundary lines, that player would be deemed as out the instant any part of them touches out of bounds. The forward boundary in a game is the center line for men and the opposing team’s attack line for women. A player may legally step over the centerline only during the opening rush. A thrown ball released BEFORE a player steps on or beyond one of the boundary lines will be deemed as a live ball and all action from the ball counts even though the throwing player is out. A thrown ball released AFTER a player steps on or beyond one of the boundary lines will be deemed as a dead ball as the player is out the instant he/she stepped on the line.
Each match will consist of two twenty minute halves and to keep the game on pace, the referee will count down 10 seconds to initiate the team with the burden to throw to keep the flow of the game. Burden is as follows:
1. If both teams have an equal number of players and each team has three balls after the opening rush, the team that won the last set is obligated to throw first.
2. The team with more balls on their side of the court is obligated to throw first. Even if some balls are on the ground outside the boundary, the team has burden as more balls are on their half of the court.
3. If each team has 3 balls, then the side with more players on court has to throw.
4. If both teams have 3 balls, and the number of players on court is equal, then the team that threw last is excused from throwing and it is the opposing team’s turn to throw.
5. Once the referees have indicated who must throw first, the team that is required to do so has 10 SECONDS to initiate a throw. Referees may penalize teams who are deemed to have taken an inordinate amount of time to make a throw. Penalties may include warnings, or the forfeiture of balls to the opposing team.
In the likely event that time expires in either half while a set is still under way, that set will instantly go into “Sudden Death.” All the same rules apply in Sudden Death EXCEPT that BLOCKING IS NOT ALLOWED. Players using a ball to block a live ball will be deemed out immediately. The procedure for sudden death is as follows.
1. At the buzzer denoting the end of regulation play in either half, the game shall stop. Any live balls released prior to the expiration of time in either half shall remain live balls (i.e., these balls may still kill players or be caught with the normal consequences until such live ball becomes dead), however, any ball thrown after time expires shall be deemed dead.
2. After the game has been stopped, the referees shall redistribute the balls to the remaining players on each side so that each side has three balls
3. Upon the referee’s whistle, Sudden Death commences and runs until one team is completely eliminated.
In the event that the match is tied at the end of regulation play, a special 4 minute tie breaking set shall be played. Tie breaker sets shall commence like a normal set (blocking allowed) upon the referee’s whistle and the time for the tie breaking set shall be kept on the official game clock. If the set has not been completed as the allotted time expires, the tie breaking set shall go into Sudden Death as described above.
EXITING THE COURT WHEN OUT
Once a player is deemed to be out, they must leave the court in a timely manner from the nearest point of exit. Holding your hand up and running off the court lets other players know you’re out and decrease the chance of being hit again by a live ball. If the player is still HOLDING one or more balls when s/he is out, the player IS ALLOWED to pass those balls onto his/her teammates. If a player is NOT in possession of a ball at the instant when they get out, then that player is NOT ALLOWED to touch any balls that may be on the court. At the discretion of the referees, a team may have a ball stripped from them and given to the opposing side.
TIME-OUTS & SUBSTITUTIONS
Each team will be allowed a single 30-second timeout per match. This timeout can only be used if there is some ruling confusion or if a player on the court is injured. At this time a team may substitute any player to take an injured player’s place, however, the injured player is not allowed to come back into the game for the rest of the half.
CONDUCT DURING MATCHES
Even though the nature of sport of dodgeball is fast-paced and competitive, it is expected that each and every player act with sportsmanship and conduct that upholds the integrity of the game. A blatant case of poor conduct or sportsmanship will result in a player’s expulsion from a match after which his/her team must carry out the rest of the sets in the match one player down. Misconduct during matches will lead to a YELLOW CARD or a RED CARD for the player. Yellow cards act as a warning for the player and captain will be talked to and it is the captain’s duty to control their players and encourage a fun and safe environment. Red cards are for serious misconducts during the match, and may be given without prior warning to the offense. Should a player get a red card during a match, he/she is ejected from the match and the team will continue playing one player short for the rest of the match.
BALL RETRIEVERS/NON TEAMMATES
Inactive players can be ball retrievers and help their team by collecting balls, players who are out should be in the queue line ready to go in on a catch and should not be retrieving balls. Non teammates can be ball retrievers but should NEVER enter the dodgeball court to retrieve or give balls to a player. This includes ball retrievers reaching on to the court to retrieve a ball from the active playing area or to stop a rolling ball from rolling across the center line. Ball retrievers entering the active playing area will be considered off-court interference and shall be penalized accordingly. Further, if an inactive player reaches on to the court to prevent a ball from rolling across the center line to the opposing team, that ball must be forfeited to the other team.
Once a dodgeball leaves the court’s boundary lines, a team’s ball retriever can collect the ball and pass it to an on-court player. If a ball passes over the half court line, a ball retriever CANNOT crossover to the other team’s side of the court to retrieve the ball. If a ball retriever retrieves a ball from the other team’s side, that ball must be forfeited to the opposing team.
Note: if unmarked on the court, the half-court line is an imaginary line that splits the court into equal halves – this line extends from the actual on-court half-court line to the out of bounds area. The referees will determine whether a ball helper has crossed this imaginary line if there are no markings that extend out of the court.
If a ball comes to rest ON the half-court line, then either team’s ball retrievers can take the ball. Ball retrievers are advised to act fairly and reasonably to avoid any unnecessary altercations. If there are any disputes, the referees have the final say on which team gets the ball.
*Rules may be adjusted at any time by Skyline Athletes for charity tournaments, kids games, open gyms, leagues and other Skyline dodgeball events.