A headshot occurs when a ball, thrown by a player, hits an opposing player in the head. Unlike other hits, the result of a headshot is both the throwing and receiving player are out. In order to curb dangerous high throws, headshots have an escalating scale of consequences:
Consequences by occurrence:
- 1st headshot: The thrower is out, receives a warning that additional headshots carry more serious consequences, but will remain eligible to be caught back in.
- 2nd headshot: The thrower is out and is not eligible to be caught back in. They must now sit the greater of 3 games or the remainder of the series. If it occurs near the end of a series, the missed games will carry into the following series.
- Example 1: headshot occurs in game 2. The player will be required to sit games 3, 4, and 5, and will be eligible to play in the following series.
- Example 2: headshot occurs in game 5. The player will be required to sit 3 games in the next series.
- Example 3: headshot occurs in game 1. The player will be required to sit remainder of series. If the series goes to 5 games, the player will sit games 2 through 5. If the series is over in 3 games, the player will sit games 2, 3, and game 1 of the following series.
- 3rd headshot: The thrower is out and is not eligible to be caught back in. They must now sit the remainder of the night. If the 3rd headshot occurred in the final series of the night, the player will be asked to sit out the following week.
- If the 3rd headshot in the final series in a night happened the week leading up to playoffs, the player will be required to sit their first playoff series.
What counts as a headshot?
In order to qualify as a headshot the following conditions must be met:
- The ball must hit the player directly in the head without having touched any person or object prior to the hit. This includes the body of the person being hit (i.e. ball deflects off the player’s raised hands prior to the headshot).
- The player must be standing in an “upright” or “ready” position when the hit occurred.
- Actions, such as dodging, ducking, jumping, or running that take a player out of the upright or ready position will negate the headshot.
- The player must not deliberately put their head in the path of the ball.
- The player must be on the court (i.e. headshots on players in the out lineup will not be called unless the referee determines it was done so intentionally).
- Barrage Rule: A barrage, or volley, is any time 2 or more balls are thrown at an opposing player at the same time. If one of the balls thrown in a barrage is a headshot, the player will be considered safe, even if other balls in the barrage hit them.
- The barrage includes all balls thrown in the same instance. Additional balls thrown will be valid and not considered part of the volley, so long as the thrower begins their throwing motion after the last ball in the barrage has been released.
- Last player clause: The last player on a team cannot be eliminated by a headshot.
- A headshot thrown in a showdown will result in the thrower being out and the player who was hit being safe.