The Official Dodgeball Rulebook Of
NEW ORLEANS DODGEBALL ASSOCIATION
*Management and officials reserve the right to make decisions in the interest of fairness, even when those decisions may seem counter to any rules listed below. In rare instances, if a rule determination cannot be met within our own guidelines, then we may consult the Elite Dodgeball rulebook for clarification and rulings.
The Dodgeball Court
Figure 1-1: The Court
SECTION 1: THE PURPOSE OF DODGEBALL
The purpose of each team is to throw balls at, catch
the throws of, and dodge the throws of the opposing players in order to eliminate all of
the players on the opposing team.
SECTION 2: THE TEAM
ART. 1… Dodgeball is played by two (2) teams of nine (9) players
- The maximum number of active players on a roster
is twelve (12) per team.
- Teams must have a minimum of two female players on the court each game, but may have
more than two. For each female player not present in a starting lineup, one male
player must also leave the starting lineup. For example, if a team of nine (9)
players only has one female in their starting lineup, the team may only have seven
(7) players in their starting lineup, six (6) males and one female. If a team of
nine (9) players has no females in their starting lineup, the team may only have
five (5) players in their starting lineup, five (5) males.3
- Teams must designate at least one captain but no
more than two captains.
ART. 2… Team captains are:
- Responsible for naming the team, collecting and
distributing uniforms, reading weekly emails, substitute players, replacement
players, communicating with officials, and voting for the most valuable player.
- The only players allowed to communicate with the
PENALTY: ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION… An illegal substitution occurs:
- Concerning Rule 2-2-1B, when a team plays more male players than
are allowed by rule. RULING: The team shall forfeit only the games
within a match in which an illegal player has participated. Forfeitures can and will
be applied retroactively. Retroactive game forfeitures may or may not result in a
new outcome for the match played, depending on what the new score would be.
PENALTY: UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT… Unsportsmanlike conduct:
- Concerning Rule 2-2-2B, when a player other than the captain
communicates with an official. RULING: On the first occurrence, it
is recommended that the offending player receive a warning. On the subsequent
occurrences, the offending player will be issued a card of which the severity can be
determined by the official as deemed necessary.
- Concerning Rule 2-2-2B, when a captain argues with an official for
an extended period of time deemed unnecessary by an official.
RULING: The offending player(s) will be issued at least a warning,
and, if necessary, a card of which the severity can be determined by the official.
SECTION 3: MATCHES, GAMES, AND SCORING
ART. 1… A standard match consists of one, fifty-minute regulation time
period consisting of a set of multiple games.
- In order to start a match, both teams must have at least fifty percent (50%) of the
maximum number of players allowed on the court for each team. For example, if the
league allows a maximum of nine (9) players on the court for each team, then the
minimum amount of players required to start a match is five (5) players. All
fractions of players are to be rounded up.
- A game is over when one team has had all its players eliminated from play, thus
losing. The winning team, with at least one player remaining, is awarded one point.
- In the event of a one-on-one scenario, if both players throw a ball and hit
each other, both players are out regardless of which player was hit first. The game
ends in a draw and neither team is awarded one point. A new match is started with no
points awarded to either team.
- In the event of a one-on-one scenario, if both players throw a ball and catch each
other’s throw, the player who catches the opponent’s ball first is awarded the
catch, while the player that catches the ball last can not have a legal catch since
they have already been eliminated from play. This results in the game being over,
and the first catcher’s team being the winner. It must be clear that one catch
happened before the other in this rare scenario. If the catches occur
simultaneously, both players are out, while the next player in the the outline for
each team comes back into play.
- At the end of each game, teams will switch sides of the court.
ART. 2… Matches are set up by doing the following:
- A standard match is played with a total of six balls, five balls and one burden
- The burden ball will be of a different color than the other balls.
- Balls will be placed along the courts centerline with three balls on each side of
- The burden ball will remain on the same side of the court at setup throughout the
- The team that starts with the burden each game may have a captain instruct the
official to place the balls in a certain order as desired.
- Captains will play one game of rock-paper-scissors. The winner will be allowed to
choose burden control or court control. The option not chosen is deferred to the
opposing team’s captain.
- Burden control is when a captain chooses which team is to start with the burden ball
on their side of the court.
- Court control is when a captain chooses the side of the court on which they wish to
SECTION 4: TIMEOUTS
ART. 1… Each team is allotted a single, thirty-second timeout per match.
- Team captains are the only player who can call a timeout and can do so at any time.
- Timeouts officially begin when the official acknowledges the captain’s request
and signals for play to stop. At this point, the clock stops and all balls
are considered dead, even if in flight.
- During a timeout, eliminated captains may step on the court to address any live
players. Players in the outline who are not captains are not allowed onto the court.
- Timeouts officially end when the official signals for play to begin. Before the
official signals for play to resume, all live players must be behind their back
SECTION 5: THE OPENING RUSH
ART. 1… At the start of each game, all players may participate in the
opening rush. (See Figure 2-1)
- All players will start with both feet behind the back line. In the event that there
is no back line, players must have one point of physical contact with the back wall.
- At the signal of the official, players may only run to retrieve any balls located on
the centerline to their right. These balls are considered to be under their initial
control. Players may not run for the balls on their left side.
- Players may not slide or dive for balls on the opening rush.
- Players may cross the centerline only on the initial rush in order to
retrieve the balls under their initial control.
- Players may retrieve balls under the initial control of their opponents only if
their team has cleared all of the balls under their initial control past their
attack line. They may reach across the centerline but may not cross the centerline
in order to retrieve an opponent’s ball.
FIGURE 2-1: THE OPENING RUSH
PENALTY: FALSE START… A false start violation occurs:
- Concerning Rule 2-5-1A, when a player or players enter the court to
retrieve their balls on the opening rush before the official’s signal.
RULING: On the first occurrence, it is recommended that all players
reset and the opening rush starts over. On the second occurrence, it is recommended
that the opening rush resets with all new players running for the balls for the
offending team(s). On the third occurrence all offending players are called out,
play is not stopped, and balls must still be retrieved.
- Concerning Rule 2-5-1C, when a player or players slide or dive to
retrieve their balls on the the opening rush. RULING: On the first
occurrence, it is recommended that the offending player receive a warning and the
game is reset to start again. On the subsequent occurrences, the offending player
may be issued a card of which the severity can be determined by the official as
PENALTY: ILLEGAL TOUCHING… An illegal touching violation occurs:
- Concerning Rule 2-5-1B, 1E, when a player touches or retrieves a
ball that is not under their initial control during the opening rush, and their own
team’s balls have not yet cleared the attack line - these violating balls are
usually located on the left side of the centerline, and belong to the opposing team.
RULING: Play is immediately stopped. All of the balls that are
illegally touched are awarded to the opposing team. Play resumes on the official’s
signal. However, if a player continuously does this, that player will immediately be
called out after each subsequent occurrence.
- Concerning Rule 2-8-1D, when a player crosses the centerline to
shag a ball. RULING: All shagged balls are awarded to the opposing
team. If the player that crossed the centerline was an active player, that player is
also called out.
ART. 2… After the initial rush, players must establish themselves with
control of their balls behind their attack line, so as to bring the ball legally into
- A player has brought a ball into play when it is controlled in at least one hand,
while both feet are on the court and behind the attack line.
- Balls may be tossed to a player who is established behind the attack line.
SECTION 6: BURDEN PLAY, BALL CONTROL, AND THE THROW COUNT
ART. 1… In a game where an even number of balls are used:
- The team with the most balls in their possession has ball control, and thus the
burden to throw, until they no longer possess more balls than the opposing team.
- In any instance of both teams having the same number of balls, the team with the
burden ball must throw at least one ball.
ART. 2… In a game where an odd number of balls are used:
- The team with the most balls in their possession has ball control, and thus the
burden to throw, until they no longer possess more balls than the opposing team.
- There is no burden ball.
ART. 3… Once a team gains ball control, that team has until a count of
ten in order to throw the required number of balls over the centerline. A count of ten
may not necessarily be equivalent to ten seconds.
- The count will reset as soon as the team with ball control throws or rolls the
required number of balls over the centerline. Balls in mid-flight that have not
crossed the centerline, are still within the throwing team’s possession, and do not
count as having been relinquished. The only exception to this is when striking an
opposing player that has any part of their body over the centerline.
- Balls thrown to the opposing side that immediately come back, will not count against
the ball control countdown. Therefore, if it gives a team ball control again, the
countdown resets. *this is only after the team has thrown the appropriate number of
- Eliminated players and players that are out of bounds may roll balls over to the
other side of the court in order to relinquish ball control. Players may not hold
onto a ball for any amount of time that is longer than necessary to throw or roll
the ball over.
- Balls must be thrown or rolled over the centerline and reach near the opponent or
the opponent’s back line. Balls may not be placed by hand over the centerline.
- Essentially, the object is to relinquish the appropriate number of balls to give, or
that would have given, your opponent ball control. It’s possible to have given up
enough balls, but still maintain control and receive a new countdown, if new balls
came into a team’s zone during the old countdown. Officials may frequently yell
“reset” to signal a new count in these scenarios.
PENALTY: THROW COUNT VIOLATION… A throw count violation occurs,
concerning Rule 2-6-3, when the count of ten expires before the team
with ball control fails to relinquish the required number of balls. RULING:
All of the balls from the team with ball control will be awarded to the
opposing team and a new count of ten begins.
PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME… A delay of game violation occurs when a player
attempts to lure a player forward by putting any balls on their side of the court, out
of reach of the opponent. RULING: The game is stopped and the ball is
awarded to the opposing team. On the subsequent occurrences, all balls will be awarded
to the opposing team, and, if the official deems it necessary, may call the violating
player out, stop the clock, and/or reset time at the end of a match.
SECTION 7: ELIMINATION
ART. 1… Elimination by an opponent occurs when:
- An opposing player throws a ball and it makes contact with the player’s body or
clothes, including costumes, without being caught by a player’s teammate. There is
no limit to how many players can be eliminated with a single ball before it becomes
- A typical baseball cap (or something very similar), as well as bandanas and
sweatbands, are considered part of the head and not a costume. Any headgear
that is bigger than these items, or has long protruding or flailing parts,
is considered a costume, and the player will be out when struck.
- An opposing player catches a ball that was thrown by the player.
ART. 2… Self elimination occurs when:
- Touching the opposing team’s zone on the court. For example, any part of the body
that touches the opponent’s side of the court is considered an out.
- Jumping and/or dodging out of bounds.
- A player uses any object in the out of bounds area to maintain balance except when
that object is part of the boundaries (such as a back wall acting as the backline).
Simply touching an object that is out of bounds will not necessarily be an out,
unless that object is the floor, or you were using the object for some sort of
- The player exits the court, for any reason, when they are the last live player on
ART. 3… A legal throw occurs when and results in:
- A throw involving the use of your hands and arms in a typical throwing fashion
- Balls that are kicked, spiked, punched, belly bumped, or pinched are not valid forms
PENALTY: PINCHING… Concerning Rule 2-7-3, a pinching
violation occurs when a playing holding a ball grasps it hard enough so that the rubber
from one side of the ball touches the other side of the ball. Open hand and clamping
grips are acceptable forms of holding the ball. RULING: On the first
occurrence, it is recommended that the offending player receive a warning. On the second
occurrence, the player is called out. On the subsequent occurrences, the offending
player will be called out, and issued a card of which the severity can be determined by
the official as deemed necessary. (See Figure 2-2)
FIGURE 2-2: PINCHING
ART. 4… A ball is considered to be live when:
- It leaves a player’s hand during a legal throw.
- The ball collides with a live ball thrown by the same team in mid-air.
ART. 5… A live ball is considered to be dead when and results in:
- The ball touches any surface or object, such as the ground, ceiling, wall, or an
- The ball collides with an opposing player’s thrown ball in mid-air.
- Dead balls remain dead until thrown by a live player.
ART. 6… A legal catch occurs when and results in:
- A player catches a live ball thrown by an opposing player.
- The opposing player who threw the ball is out.
- The first person standing in the outline of the catcher’s team is allowed to
re-enter the game.
- A catch is only valid if both of the catching player’s feet are clearly established
- If the player’s momentum carries them out of bounds after a legal catch is made,
they are considered to be safe. This is commonly referred to as the momentum rule.
- The player must clearly demonstrate control of the ball before releasing it.
- If the catching player catches a ball, but that ball knocks another ball out of the
catching player’s hand(s), the catch still counts; however, the player is out for
dropping their other ball.
- A player may intentionally drop a ball in their possession in anticipation of a
ART. 7… A catch save occurs when and results in:
- A player catches a live ball thrown by an opposing player that ricochets off of
another live player on the same team, thus saving their teammate that was initially
hit by the opposing player’s throw.
- There is no limit to the number of players that can be hit before the ball is
finally caught, which will save all players with which the ball came into contact.
ART. 8… A block occurs when and results in:
- A player uses their ball to block incoming balls thrown at them by an opposing
- Players must maintain possession of their ball immediately after deflecting a live
ball. If the player drops a ball used for deflection, that player is out once the
ball touches the floor or any other object that would cause the ball to become dead.
- The player has the opportunity to regain possession of the ball used for blocking
before it becomes dead. A teammate may save the player by catching the ball
knocked away from them.
- A ball that is deflected is still considered live and can eliminate players or be
- If a player blocks a ball into themselves or a teammate, the struck player is out.
- Any live ball that is blocked or ricocheted back to the opposing team’s side of the
court is considered dead once it touches anything that would usually make a ball
dead or a player on the opposing team. The ball cannot be caught or hit a player out
in this scenario.
ART. 9… A trap occurs when and results in:
- A ball is caught or hits a player while simultaneously making contact with the floor
or anything else that would cause the ball to be dead.
- Traps do not count as a hit or catch and all players involved are considered safe.
ART. 10… A direct headshot occurs when and results in:
- A live ball’s first point of contact is the opposing player’s head.
- The ball is considered dead and play may be stopped at the official’s discretion
when a direct headshot occurs. The player is offered up to thirty seconds to compose
themselves and assure the officials that they are physically able to continue.
- Players struck in the head are considered safe even if another ball or balls contact
them simultaneously. They must clearly be hit with another ball before a
direct head shot occurs to be considered out.
- Players may protect themselves from direct headshots using their arms. They will be
considered safe unless the officials determine that the player attempted to catch
the direct headshot, then they will be called out.
- A ball caught against a player’s face is not considered a headshot and will count as
a catch; however, if a ball ricochets from a player’s direct headshot and is caught
by that same player or a teammate, that ball is considered dead and will not count
as a catch.
PENALTY: TARGETING… Concerning Rule 2-7-10, a targeting
violation occurs when an official deems that a player on the court may be intentionally
targeting the heads of opposing players, or attempting to injure another player.
RULING: The offending player will first be warned, but on subsequent
occurrences may be issued a card, of which the severity can be determined by the
official as deemed necessary. NOTE: An official may card without
warning should it be deemed necessary to do so.
ART. 11… A flight play occurs when and results in:
NOTE: For safety reasons, flight plays are banned in all New Orleans
Dodgeball leagues with the exception of the tournament-style leagues.
- A player jumps across the centerline, without first stepping over it, in an attempt
to hit an opposing player with a legal throw and subsequently landing on the
opponent’s side of the court. A successful flight play results in at least one out.
- In the event of a successful flight play, the player who made the attempt is
considered safe even though they are now across the centerline. An unsuccessful
attempt results in the player being called out.
- Once a successful flight play has been made, the player must immediately return to
their side of the court. They can still be eliminated by a legal throw; however,
they cannot make a legal catch or throw until they reestablish themselves on their
side of the court. As well, they may not interfere with play, or touch any balls
until they reestablish themselves on their side of the court. Doing any of the above
results in an out.
PENALTY: ILLEGAL THROW… An illegal throw violation occurs, concerning
Rule 2-7-11, when a player attempts a flight play in a non-sanctioned
league. RULING: The player is out, regardless of whether or not the
attempt is successful, and the ball they have thrown is considered dead. Neither hits
nor catches of this ball count.
ART. 12… A hard boundary is a line on the dodgeball court that cannot be
crossed. (See Figure 2-3)
- Crossing a hard boundary or touching the opponent’s side of the court or out of
bounds during regular play will cause a player to be considered out.
- The centerline is the hard boundary that runs horizontally through the middle of the
court and extends beyond the sidelines in both directions. Players may cross this
line only during the opening rush to retrieve the balls under their initial control.
FIGURE 2-3: THE CENTERLINE (HARD BOUNDARY)
ART. 13… A soft boundary is a line on the dodgeball court that can
partially be crossed. (See Figure 2-4)
- Players may touch across soft boundaries with a partial foot (and only a
partial foot) - or feet - and still be considered in bounds.
- Players that touch across soft boundaries with a whole foot, hand, or any part of
their body are considered to be out.
- The backlines are soft boundaries that run parallel to the centerline in the back on
each side of the court. NOTE: Backlines are considered hard
boundaries in tournament-style leagues.
- The sidelines are soft boundaries that run perpendicularly to the centerline and
backlines on each side of the court and extend beyond the backline in both
directions. NOTE: Sidelines are considered hard boundaries in
FIGURE 2-4: THE BACKLINE (SOFT BOUNDARY)
SECTION 8: THE OUTLINE, GAME RE-ENTRY, AND ENTERING OR EXITING THE COURT
ART. 1… The outline is the line on the right side of each team’s court in
which eliminated players must form a line as they are eliminated.
- Eliminated players must establish their position with both feet in line in the order in
which they reach the outline. The order is not the order in which
elimination occurs. Therefore, when players reach the outline, they must immediately make
their way to the back of the line and not try to figure out where their
spot is or which player was eliminated first.
- Only the first person in the outline is eligible for re-entry upon a catch and must be
established in that position when a catch is made in order to re-enter the court.
NOTE: If multiple catches are made near simultaneously, before the first
player re-enters the court, all the catches still count and each catch gets a different
- The first three eliminated players in the outline are considered to be locked in. They are
not allowed to leave the outline area for any reason. This means they are not allowed to
shag (See section 9) on the other side of the court, go to the bathroom, get a drink, etc.
- The last player in the line is always allowed to roam along the outlines up to the
centerline in order to shag balls, even if they are one of the first three in the outline.
- The first player in line is allowed to shag along any area of the outline that extends
past the backline of their court. Again, only along the outline area.
PENALTY: OUTLINE VIOLATION… An outline violation occurs:
- Concerning Rule 2-8-1A, 1B, when a player that is first in the outline is
not present when a ball is caught by their team. RULING: The player
forfeits their ability to re-enter the court for the current catch and must move to the
back of the line. Furthermore, the next player in line is not allowed to re-enter the game
in place of the absent player.
- Concerning Rule 2-8-1A, 1B, when a player that is first in the outline
fails to notice the catch and re-enter the court within a count of five. RULING:
The player forfeits their ability to re-enter the court for the current catch,
must move to the back of the line, and the next player in line may not re-enter the game
in place of that player for that catch.
PENALTY: INTERFERENCE… Interference occurs when an eliminated player reaches
onto the court for any reason. RULING: The ball or balls interfered with will
be awarded to the opposing team. The offending player may be issued a card of which the
severity can be determined by the official as deemed necessary, only if this is determined to
be a recurring issue.
PENALTY: UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT… Unsportsmanlike conduct occurs, concerning
Rule 2-8-1A, when a player has changed places with a person in the line in
order to gain an advantage. This is commonly referred to as line jumping. RULING:
The game is forfeited and one point is awarded to the opposing team. The offending
player(s) may be issued a card of which the severity can be determined by the official as
PENALTY: ILLEGAL TOUCHING… An illegal touching violation occurs, concerning
Rule 2-8-1D, when a player crosses the centerline to shag a ball.
RULING: All shagged balls are awarded to the opposing team. If the player
that crossed the centerline was an active player, that player is also called out.
ART. 2… Once a player is eliminated, they must immediately proceed to their
team’s outline, located out-of-bounds to the right side of that team’s court.
- An out player signifies to the court and the officials that they are out by raising their
- An out player must drop any ball they are currently holding.
- An out player must immediately proceed to their outline, exiting the court to the nearest
out-of-bounds area to the right side of that team’s court. It is the player’s
responsibility to not interfere with gameplay while walking to the outline.
ART. 3… Once a player is caught in, they may re-enter the court.
- A caught-in player may only re-enter the court towards the back of their own side of the
court, near or on the backline.
- A caught-in player will be allotted a count of five to enter the game once a catch is
made. It is not the duty of the official to inform a player to come re-enter the
court, and teammates are encouraged to help inform their own teammates. It is also up the
players at the front of the line to pay attention to any actions on the court.
- A caught-in player becomes live when they become established on the court with both
- Once a player has at least a partial foot touching in bounds, they are considered to have
begun the process of game re-entry.
- Once the player has begun game re-entry, they must continue the game re-entry, and may not
step back out of bounds or even pause.
PENALTY: INTERFERENCE… An interference violation occurs:
- When an eliminated player swats, kicks, or otherwise blocks an incoming ball when exiting
the court. RULING: Play is stopped and all balls from the offending
player’s team will be forfeited to the opposing team. Should there be no balls in
possession of the offending player’s team, play is stopped, all balls are returned to the
opposing team, and a official may yellow card the offending player.
- When an eliminated player makes deliberate contact with a ball not thrown by an opponent
during their exit of the court. RULING: The ball or balls interfered with
will be awarded to the opposing team. The offending player may be warned if it becomes a
recurring issue, then subsequently yellow carded.
- When an eliminated player is deemed by an official to be exiting the court too slowly.
RULING: The offending player will be warned. Each subsequent occurrence
may result in one of the following, as the official sees fit:
- Official stopping play and awarding all balls to the opposing team.
- Official granting a ball control reset for the opposing team.
- Official adding time to the end of a match due to stalling purposes.
- When an eliminated or active player who is out of bounds and/or in the outline touches a
live player for a strategic advantage; such as to prevent the live player from falling out
of bounds. RULING: The live player is called out.
PENALTY: ILLEGAL RE-ENTRY… An Illegal re-entry violation occurs:
- Concerning Rule 2-8-3A, when a player enters the court from any other
location than towards the back of their own side of the court, near or on the backline.
This includes the middle or front of the sideline and the side of the court opposite of
the team’s outline. RULING: The player is called out and returns to the
end of the outline and not their former place at the front of the line.
- Concerning Rule 2-8-3B, when a player fails to re-enter the court within
the allotted count of five. RULING: The player is called out and returns
to the end of the outline and not their former place at the front of the line.
- Concerning Rule 2-8-3C, when a player starts and then pauses, stops, or
fails to complete the reentry process for any reason, including to avoid a thrown ball or
bait the opposing team into throwing. RULING: The player is called out
and returns to the end of the outline and not their former place at the front of the line.
SECTION 9: SHAGGING
ART. 1… The act of shagging refers to any player who retrieves any ball that
is out of bounds to make them available to live players.
- A live player may only exit the court in order to shag if a ball has gone out of bounds.
The player may only exit via the backline or using the entry/exit zones towards the back
of the court.
- A live player may not exit their court if there are no balls present on their side of the
court in the out-of-bounds area, or within a reasonable reaching distance across the
centerline. Players who leave the court in this situation will be considered out.
- A live player who is legally shagging is considered safe until they re-establish
themselves on the court with both feet and cannot be eliminated by a legal throw.
- If a live player is the last live player on their team, they cannot exit the court to shag
or for any other reason. If they exit, they will be considered out, and the opposing team
will be declared the winner of the game.
- If all of a live player’s teammates are eliminated while that player is shagging and they
becomes the last active player, the last live player may finish shagging and immediately
return to the court without delay.
- Both eliminated and alternate players may shag balls while out of bounds.
- Eliminated players that are last in the outline may shag on the outline side of the court
and not lose their position in line.
- Eliminated players that are first in line may shag behind the court along the outline.
- Players may only shag balls on their side of the court. They may reach for balls on the
opponent’s side of the court but may not cross over to that side of the court.
- There are no restrictions on how to make shagged balls available to live players on the
court, or the number of balls they can shag, as long as they do not interfere with play or
delay the games progress.
- Re-entry onto the court follows the same rules as re-entering off of a catch. (See
PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME…
- When a player carries an active ball from the court while shagging other balls that are
out of bounds. RULING: The player forfeits the ball they took out of
bounds and any ball they successfully shagged in the process.
- When a player fails to re-enter the court when they become the last live player while
shagging out of bounds. RULING: The player is called out and the game
ends with the awarding of the game point to the opposing team.
PENALTY: INTERFERENCE… An interference violation occurs:
- When the act of shagging interferes with the opposing team’s play. RULING:
The ball or balls interfered with will be awarded to the opposing team. If the
offending player is live, they will be called out. The offending player may be issued a
card of which the severity can be determined by the official as deemed necessary.
SECTION 10: THE END OF THE MATCH
ART. 1… The match is over when the official signals the end of the regulation
- Once the regulation time period has expired, all balls are considered dead, and no more
outs can be called unless an official determines that an out occurred before the
expiration of the regulation time period.
- The team that has won the most games by the end of the time period wins the match.
- If a match is in progress at the end of the time period, that match is declared void, and
the current score stands.
- In the event of a tie at the end of the time period, the match ends in a tie.
PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME… A delay of game violation occurs when an official
deems any action taken by a player or players to be deliberately attempting to delay the flow
of the game. RULING: The official may disallow rolling balls to the opposing
team and/or force the offending player(s) to throw. On the first occurrence, it is recommended
that the offending player receive a warning. On the subsequent occurrences, the offending
player will be called out, and, if necessary, issued a card. In extreme cases, the officials
may grant a short extension of the time period in regulation or overtime play.
- Team size for on-court play may vary from league to league. Typical team
- Six players in tournament-style leagues.
- Nine players in standard leagues.
- Ten or more players in social leagues.
- Maximum roster size may vary from league to league.
- Eight players in tournament-style leagues.
- Twelve players in standard leagues.
- Twelve or more players in social leagues.
- Female player minimums may vary from league to league
- Two (2) female minimum in tournament-style and standard leagues.
- Three (3) female minimum in social leagues.
- The total number of balls used may vary from league to league.
- Six balls in tournament-style leagues and standard leagues.
- Seven balls in social leagues.
- There is no burden ball of a different color when an odd number of balls are used.
SECTION 1: PLAYER ELIGIBILITY
ART. 1… Players must:
- Be at least eighteen (18) years of age to play.
- Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age to participate in bar events sponsored by the New
Orleans Dodgeball Association.
PENALTY: ILLEGAL ROSTER… An illegal roster occurs:
- Concerning Rule 3-1-1A, when a player who is under the age of eighteen
(18) has participated in a game or match. RULING: The team shall forfeit
only the games and/or match in which an illegal player has participated. Forfeitures can
and will be applied retroactively.
SECTION 2: SUBSTITUTION
ART. 1… Legal substitutions (rostered players)
- Only players on the active team roster may substitute for one another in between matches.
- Only players that start a game may play and re-enter during a game.
- Alternate players may not be caught in and must wait until the start of the next game to
PENALTY: ILLEGAL SUBSTITUTION… An illegal substitution occurs:
- Concerning Rule 3-2-1A, when a player who is not on the active roster and
who is not an approved substitute player has participated in a game and/or match.
RULING: The team shall forfeit only the games within a match in which an
illegal player has participated. Forfeitures can and will be applied retroactively.
- Concerning Rule 3-2-1B, when a player who did not start the current game
enters for any other reason. RULING: The team shall forfeit only the
games within a match in which an illegal player has participated. Forfeitures can and will
be applied retroactively.
- Concerning A & B above, retroactive game forfeitures may or may not
result in a new outcome for the match played, depending on what the new score would be.
SECTION 3: SUBSTITUTE AND REPLACEMENT PLAYERS
ART. 1… Substitute players (non-rostered players)
- In the event that a player cannot attend a match, the team may replace them with a
substitute player for the match.
- Cannot be rostered players from other teams in the same league.
- Must pay a five dollar fee.
- Must sign a waiver and are responsible for knowing the rules of the game.
- Are not allowed in postseason play.
- Are subject to approval by the league manager. Teams may not bring in substitute players
in order to stack a team. *competitive and advanced leagues have no oversight on
substitute player skill levels.
- Rostered players take priority and cannot sit a game in order to make room for substitute
players, without approval from all rostered players.
- Games played with an ineligible substitute player are subject to a forfeiture of all those
games. Forfeits can be retroactively applied.
ART. 2… Replacement players may be added if they are replacing...
- An injured player.
- A player that is unable to continue playing that season.
- A player that has not attended four or more matches and has not communicated with the team
or given the team ample notice to find a substitute.
- Has agreed to no longer play for the team.
- Replacement players must be added before the last week of the regular season. Any players
who are injured or forced to drop out after the cut-off date and time can not be replaced.
- All replacement players are subject to approval by the league manager.
- Replacement players are considered to be part of the active roster, thus are eligible to
play in the postseason, and do not have to pay weekly fees.
- Replacement players must register and pay the five dollar replacement player fee.
SECTION 4: INJURIES
ART. 1… Upon injury, a player may remove themselves from play for up to one
minute in order to compose themselves and make sure they are still able to physically perform.
- If that player’s team is eliminated while they are off the court, the game will be
declared officially over, and that player is not allowed back onto the court to complete
- If they are unable to continue after one minute, that player is ineligible to play for the
remainder of the match.
- If the injured player is unable to continue, the next player in the outline of the same
sex may enter the game in the injured player’s place. If there are no players in the
outline of the same sex, then the next player in the outline enters the game. If there are
no players in the outline, no alternate may substitute for the injured player.
- Players may be granted exceptions to any of the injury rules at the discretion of the
Players that persistently refuse to abide by the rules of the game will face discipline at
the official’s discretion. Discipline may begin with a verbal warning and escalate to
player(s) being issued a penalty card.
PENALTY: YELLOW CARD… Yellow penalty cards
- A player who is issued a yellow card is automatically declared out if they are a live
player and will be forced to sit out the remainder of the game in session and for the
length of the following game.
- If a player receives a yellow card in the final game of a match, he or she will be
required to sit out in the first game of the following match.
- Players who receive two yellow cards in one match will automatically receive a red card.
PENALTY: RED CARD… Red penalty cards
- A player who is issued a red card will be forced to sit-out the remainder of the match in
session. If a player receives a red card, he or she may be subject to suspension and/or
expulsion from the league at the discretion of the league managers.
- Players who are expelled from the league are not eligible for refunds of any kind.
Officials and Their Duties
SECTION 1: THE DODGEBALL HONOR CODE
Dodgeball is always played on the honor code. You are responsible for taking your own
outs, and you must not have a “stay in until the ref calls it” attitude. Doing so will result
in being called out, warned, carded, and sanctioned. Dishonest players will not be tolerated.
SECTION 2: THE HEAD OFFICIAL AND REFEREE
ART. 1… An official or referee is anyone that is assigned to a match by the
- The head official is in charge of the game, makes the final determination on the validity
of calls, and all their calls are final. The head official for each match will be
determined by the league manager and/or the head of officiating.
- The referee is any official other than the head official assigned to a match. Their
authority on the court is second only to the head official.
- Referees are assigned to games to keep the pace of the game going, assist in: difficult
rulings, explaining and evaluating more complex scenarios, and anything that is a
less-than-obvious-ruling. They are also there to help keep time, keep score, perform
countdowns, and maintain the peace.
- Duties of each referee will be assigned before the match by the head official.
- Any head official or referee may stop the game at any time and for any reason in the
interest of player safety.
SECTION 3: THE MATCH
ART. 1… Before the match begins
- The head official checks with both teams for substitute players. Their names are recorded
and fees are collected.
- The captains are called to center court. They play rock-paper-scissors. The winner is
awarded either ball control or court control at their discretion. The remaining option is
deferred to the opposing team’s captain.
- The head official informs the captain of all pertinent information, such as any points of
emphasis and the allotted time for regulation play.
- Duties are assigned to each referee by the head official. Key duties are as follows:
- The keeping of the score on the official game sheet and scoreboard where
- The keeping of time.
- The monitoring of the count of ten for burden play.
- In a single official configuration, the head official stand on either side of the
court at the centerline.
- In a two official configuration, the head official and referee will stand at
opposite ends of the centerline.
- In configurations of three or more officials, officials may either roam or be
assigned to a position at the head officials discretion.
- The head official and referee are to check the starting line up of each team before
beginning the match and each subsequent game.
ART. 2… During the match
- Officials are to enforce the rules of dodgeball.
- The count of ten begins as soon as all balls are accounted for and are in bounds either on
the playing surface or in possession of a player. If teams appear to be moving too slowly
to retrieve a ball out of bounds, any official can and should begin the count of ten.
- If any ball(s) can not be found, an official timeout is called to attempt to retrieve it
in a timely manner. If it can not be retrieved in a timely manner, the ball is replaced
with a new ball from the league stock.
- It is not the responsibility of the official to inform players of how many balls must be
relinquished during burden play, but it is a courtesy.
- Officials are to prioritize the correct call over getting the call right the first time.
Conferences between officials during controversial situations are encouraged. We expect
officials to attempt to limit these conferences earlier in matches and games, so as to
keep the pace of the game going. However, later in games and matches it is thought to be
more important for such conferences.
- Any time an official blows the whistle or steps on the court, play is immediately stopped.
All balls are dead, including those in mid-air.
- Should there be balls that were in mid-air, or thrown near simultaneous to the
whistle, and became dead, those balls are to be returned to the team that threw
- No play shall ever be stopped by the players, so even if a player feels that play
may need to be stopped, it will not be until the officials blow the whistle or
step on the court. NOTE: Very rarely there may be circumstances
that this rule is overturned, such as a severe injury that was not immediately
noticed by an official. This can be at the official’s discretion to rule on, but
in actuality all players should also understand a sense of fairness in extreme
ART. 3… After the match
- In the event of postseason overtime, the head official will call the team captains to
center court to explain the rules of overtime and the allotted time for overtime play.
- Once the match has ended, the head official with have the captain of each team sign the
official game sheet.
- Should any situation arise during the match that any official feels is not covered or
properly explained in this rule book, it is to be logged on the official game sheet and
communicated to the head of officiating or league manager.
- The rule book shall be amended as soon as possible to ensure future consistency in our
- The case book shall be amended as soon as possible to ensure future consistency in our
SECTION 1: LEAGUE STANDINGS
ART. 1… League standings will be determined by the following:
- Win percentage.
- Head-to-head results, if applicable. NOTE: If two teams are tied, then
the team with the best head-to-head result between them will receive the higher seed. If
three or more teams are tied, then the seeding is ordered according to the win percentage
of all matches between the tied teams. If a team did not play any of the other teams it is
tied with, their win percentage for the tie breaker will be zero.
- Overall game differential. This is determined by taking the number of games a team has won
within all of its matches, then subtracting it by the number of games that team has lost.
The highest game differential will receive the higher seed.
- In the event that a team must forfeit their game, their team will receive a
negative five (-5) GD, while the winning team will receive a positive five (+5)
GD. NOTE: With the change in tiebreaker procedures, GD carries a
far lesser importance in the standings. We understand that if a game had been
played, this number could be vastly different, but please understand we are going
for simplicity here.
- A coin flip.
SECTION 2: POSTSEASON TOURNAMENT
ART. 1… A postseason tournament shall be played to determine the league
- The tournament shall last two weeks; with “Round 1” being the first week, and the
semifinals and the finals being the second week.
- The tournament shall be single elimination.
- The tournament schedule shall be announced within forty-eight (48) hours of the conclusion
of the final regular season games.
- Official’s schedules, along with other factors, determine how we set the schedule,
so it is usually not predetermined by seeding.
- The tournament bracket will vary depending on the league.
SECTION 3: OVERTIME AND SUDDEN DEATH
Due to the inherent nature of a playoff system, ties are not permitted in the
ART. 1… Overtime shall be played in the event that a tie exists at the end of
the regulation time period.
- Play will stop immediately and all balls, including those in flight, are declared dead at
the end of the regulation time period.
- Live players must remain on the court. Eliminated players may not enter the court.
- Captains will report to the center of the court to receive the explanation of the overtime
rules by the head official.
- The current game is declared to be the final game.
- Two minutes of extended time will be added to the end of the regulation time period.
- Normal dodgeball resumes, with players eliminated before the overtime period began
remaining in their positions in their respective outlines.
- If a team wins a game before the expiration of the extended time period, the final game is
over, and that team wins the match.
- At the expiration of the extended time period, play will stop immediately and all balls,
including those in flight, are declared dead. If no team has won the final game, the team
with the most active players remaining on the court is declared the winner.
- If both teams have the same number of eliminated players at the end of the extended time
period, sudden death comes into effect.
ART. 2… Sudden death is won by the team who eliminates an opposing player
first, or through their own action, any opposing player(s) eliminate themselves.
Captain and Players Code of Ethics
The purpose of this Code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all
captain and players of the New Orleans Dodgeball
- Captains and players shall be aware that he or she has a tremendous
influence, for better or worse, on the attitudes and education of their teammates and
opposing players, especially new players, and thus shall never place the value of winning
above the value of instilling the highest ideals of sportsmanship. This is particularly
true in the sport of dodgeball.
- Captains and players shall uphold the honor and dignity of the sport. In
all personal contact with players, officials, league managers, and any other participant
of events held by the New Orleans Dodgeball Association.
- Captains and players shall take an active role in the prevention of
substance abuse while participating in events held by the New Orleans Dodgeball
- Captains and players shall master the contest rules and shall teach them
to his or her teammates. They shall not seek an advantage by circumvention of the spirit
or letter of the rules.
- Captains and players shall exert his or her influence to enhance
sportsmanship by spectators directly.
- Captains and players shall respect and support contest officials. They
shall not indulge in conduct which would incite players or spectators against the
officials. Public criticism of officials or players is unethical.
Violations of these standards include but are not limited to the following:
- Taunting and baiting opponents.
- Instigating violence anywhere at anytime.
- Using foul or abusive language.
- Causing disturbances at dodgeball games or other events sponsored by the New Orleans
- Causing disturbances on social media involving the New Orleans Dodgeball Association.
Failure to maintain these standards will result in consequences as deemed
necessary by the New Orleans Dodgeball Association and include but are not limited to the
- Receiving a verbal or written warning.
- Be issued a yellow or red card as deemed necessary by an official or league manager.
- Ejection from the game, event, or league without refund.
- Forfeiture of the right to play or participate in future Orleans Dodgeball leagues and
events without refund.
Officials Code of Ethics
The purpose of this Code is to establish guidelines for ethical standards of conduct for all
officials of the New Orleans Dodgeball Association.
- Officials shall master both the rule of the game and the mechanics
necessary to enforce the rules, and shall exercise authority in an impartial, firm, and
- Officials shall work with each other and their league managers in a
constructive and cooperative manner.
- Officials shall uphold the honor and dignity of the sport in all
interactions with players, coaches, league managers, and any other participant of events.
- Officials shall comport themselves in a manner consistent with the high
standards of the New Orleans Dodgeball Association.
- Officials shall be punctual and professional in the fulfillment of all
- Officials shall remain mindful that their conduct influences the respect
of players, coaches, league managers, and any other participant of events held by the New
Orleans Dodgeball Association.
- Officials shall, while enforcing the rules of play, remain aware of the
inherent risk of injury that competition poses to players. Where appropriate, they shall
inform league managers of conditions or situations that appear unreasonably hazardous.
- Officials shall take reasonable steps to educate themselves in
recognition of emergency conditions that might arise during the course of competition.
- Officials shall maintain an ethical approach white participating in
forums, chat rooms, and all forms of social media involving the New Orleans Dodgeball
Violations of these standards include but are not limited to the following:
- Cursing at players.
- Touch players in an aggressive manner.
- Threaten player.
- Show bias in calls.
- Do nothing during a match.
Failure to maintain any standards as mentioned in these rules, may result
in consequences as deemed necessary by the New Orleans Dodgeball Association and include but
are not limited to the following:
- Removal from their position.
- Removal from the league.
- Paying a sign-up fee if they have not completed enough games required by any discounts