Dodgeball Basics


Objective: Completely eliminate the opposing team


1) Two Teams comprised of six players face off against each other on the court at the start of the game. A team may only field six players per game, but can have up to 12 total players on their roster. Any combination of male and female players may comprise the 6 players on the court, so long as a team does not field more than four males.

2) Each team must have a minimum of three of their registered players (any three) present in order for their win/loss record to be recorded for a given night. Substitute players will count towards that team’s three players so long as they are not already registered to another team on the same night

3) Each team will play six games against each team in their bracket (two sets of three games).

4) When not playing, each team must supply two players to serve as referees for the games in progress.

5) Players can be eliminated by hits, catches, and boundary violations.

6) A valid throw is defined as the following: Propelling or casting a ball held in the hand of the thrower, toward an opponent. (note: kicking, scooping, or spiking a ball is not considered a valid throw, but will count as a catch if caught by an opponent).

7) A hit will not count if the ball was called a ‘deadball’ before it was thrown.

8) A ball may be held for a maximum of ten seconds (see Ball Possession).

9) The countdown on a ball stops when it is thrown, or the player holding the ball is eliminated. If a new player picks up that same ball after the player holding it was eliminated, the count starts over.


Game Sequence


1) All players must be touching their respective walls at the start of the game.

2) The game begins when a referee counts down from three and says “dodgeball!”

3) Each team is allowed to retrieve the three balls to their right when the game starts and may send any number of players to do so.

4) Each ball must touch the back wall to become active.

5) The first ball to touch any back wall starts the ten second count for all six balls off the opening rush. This means that all four referees should be counting down from ten in unison at the start of the game.

6) If a ball is retrieved but not activated against a wall during the opening rush then it must be forfeited to the opposing team at the end of the initial ten second count. This ball will remain ‘dead’ until activated. Normal dead ball rules will apply. See Ball Possession.

7) Eliminated players must line up on the designated sideline next to the referee and will return to the game in the order that they were eliminated (the first player to be eliminated is the first player to rejoin play) See Returning to the Game.

8) Eliminated players must not manipulate play in any way. This includes shielding teammates, passing/kicking balls back to teammates, interfering with balls, sideline refereeing, etc.

Any ball that is intentionally manipulated by a dead player is to be forfeited to the opposing team.

9) Play continues until all players from one team are eliminated.

10) In the event that only one player from each team is left on the court, a ten second countdown begins to designate a ‘showdown.’ At the end of the count, the referee will yell “showdown.” Play is stopped and the two remaining players must move to their respective walls much like the beginning of the game. Each player is given two balls and the fifth and sixth balls are placed at each end of the centreline.

Things to note regarding showdowns:

All play will cease at the moment the referee starts to utter the word ‘showdown.’ This means that any play occurring on the court will cease immediately, even if a live ball is in the air.

Play is initiated using the same count as a normal game: “three, two, one, showdown”.

Balls have no count.

The centreline is no longer considered a boundary, however, the sidelines remain in effect.

Concludes when one of the players is eliminated.


Ball Possession:


1) Ball possession is controlled by a ten second countdown. When a player picks up a ball they have ten seconds to decide on an action. The referees will count aloud: “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Deadball.” The ball becomes dead at the first utterance of the word ‘deadball’ (if the ball is thrown before the referee calls ‘deadball,’ then it will be considered a valid throw).

All deadballs must be immediately forfeited to the other team by rolling it with enough force to reach the opposite wall.

The ten second count starts as soon a player assumes reasonable possession of that ball.

Reasonable possession can be any of the following: 1) The player’s palm is in full contact with the ball for more than one second or 2) The player is gripping the ball, or 3) the player is exerting pressure on the ball.

Slapping/kicking a ball over to a teammate with your hand or feet in one quick motion should not start the countdown.

Touching a ball on the ground with your fingertips will not start the countdown.

A ball’s count can only be reset as a result of one of the following:

  • change of possession (one team to the other);
  • elimination of the player holding it;
  • throwing and hitting the opposite wall.


Excessive Resetting (Delay of Game):

Resetting the ball is considered a valid strategic play, however, doing so repeatedly to obtain additional balls is considered unsportsmanlike and will not be tolerated. Therefore, a team that deliberately misses with a ball 3 or more times in a row in an attempt to gain additional balls will be penalized for “delay of game” and must forfeit a ball to the opposing team. Continued violation of this policy will result in a player being called out.

Referees may also start counting a ball if one of the following occurs:

A player has all six balls on their side and is choosing not to do anything with any of the balls.

Any intentional forward movement of a ball towards the centreline.


Ways to be Eliminated


  • Hit out
  • Caught out
  • Violate Court Boundaries


Being Hit


1) A valid hit is when a ball thrown by an opponent makes contact with your body – any part of your body – from the tips of your toes to the hair on your legs, arms and head. This also includes, but is not limited to any clothing, footwear, headwear, costume, uniform, accessory, etc worn by the person being hit.

2) A ball is considered a ‘live ball’ when it is activated off of the opening rush.

3) For a hit to be valid, the ball must not make contact with any other object in its path prior to hitting the intended target.

4) Only one player can be eliminated by a single thrown ball (only the first player hit by the ball is out – deflections/ricochets do not count).

5) Slapping, scooping, or spiking a ball towards an opposing player and successfully hitting them will not count as a hit as it is not considered a valid throw, however, if the ball is caught, it will count as a valid catch.

6) Any ball thrown by a player after they have been eliminated will not count as a valid throw and therefore cannot result in a hit or a catch.

Important Note: Once a player has been hit, they are not considered ‘out’ until the ball that hit them has made contact with another object (this includes, but is not limited to, the floor, wall, ceiling, bench, other players, etc.).


Being Caught


1) When a player catches a ball, the person that threw the ball is out and a player from the catcher’s team returns to the game.

2) A catch is considered valid as long as the player maintains control of the ball thrown at them without the interference or assistance of any other player or object and the player is within the bounds of the court.

A player attempting a catch may juggle the ball in the air and still complete the catch so long as the ball does not touch any other player or object prior to the ‘completion of the catch’.

‘Completion of the catch’ is defined as having obtained full possession and control of a ball in the act of catching.

Only the player initially hit by a ball can make a valid catch on that ball while it is still live in the air (i.e. deflections are not catchable by teammates)

4) Catching a ball by ‘trapping’ it against an object (i.e. teammate, ground, wall, bench, basketball hoop, etc.) does not count as a catch and the player will be out.

‘Trapping’ occurs when a player attempts to catch a ball by pinning it between themselves and another object.

5) If a player throws a ball the referee has deemed as a deadball and the opposing team catches it, it is considered a valid catch (the player that threw the ball is out).

If a player scoops or kicks a ball toward the opposing team and they catch it, the player is out.

6) Any catch made by a player that has already been eliminated in a game will not be considered valid.

7) Catching a ball after blocking it or being hit by it is considered a valid catch. If a player is hit while holding a ball and subsequently catches the ball that hit them, they must maintain possession of the ball they were holding before they got hit in order for the catch to count.

8) In the event that two players throw a ball at each other resulting in each of them making a catch, the player that completes their catch first will be deemed to have made a valid catch. The other player will be out. In the instance of a ‘simultaneous catch’ (both catches occur at the same time), both catches will be deemed valid – the two catchers will be out and a player will return for each side. This will be discerned and called at the discretion of the referees.


Returning to the Game


1) Players returning to the game as a result of a catch are to do so in the order in which they were eliminated and must adhere to the following conditions:

Returning players must be standing against the wall and within arms-reach of the referee on the side of the court designated for eliminated players. Therefore, if you were eliminated and in the process of moving to the wall, you cannot rejoin play if a teammate completes a catch before you are in the required position.

Returning players must move at a consistent pace and make contact with the wall to rejoin the game. Players who slow down and do not touch the wall in a reasonable amount of time (based on how fast they were going when they initially started moving) will be penalized for “delay of game” and can be called out at the discretion of the referee.

Returning players may not intentionally manipulate play in any way until they touch the wall – doing so will result in the player being called out.

Any ball touched by a returning player prior to reaching the wall will be called a deadball and forfeited to the other team.

Returning players will be considered ‘live’ the moment they touch the wall.


Please note the following:


A If a catch is made and the first eligible returning player is not lined up in the required position next to the referee, no one will return to the game for that catch.

B If a second catch is made and the player who should have been eligible to return to the game via the first catch has now made it to their spot at the front of the line, they will then return to the game.

C Conversely, if a second catch is made and that player has not made it back to their spot at the front of the line, no one will return to the game. No


Court Boundaries


1) The court is bound by rear walls, sidelines, and a centreline marked with red tape.

2) Players may not step on, across, or touch any object outside of the court boundaries or they will be called out.

3) During the opening rush, players may temporarily cross the centreline while retrieving the balls. This temporary condition does not apply to the sidelines – crossing or stepping on the sideline will always result in the player being out.

  • Players who cross the centreline during the opening rush are expected to immediately return to their side of the court. Any player who is still on the opponent’s side of the court will be called out when the ten second countdown begins.

4) Catches that result in the player going out of bounds are only considered valid if the player gains full possession/control of the ball while still in valid contact with the ground inside court boundaries. Valid contact is defined as:

  1. A) Two feet on the ground (does not need to be simultaneous as long as both feet touch down with the ball under control before going out of bounds).
  2. B) Any body part other than hands making contact with the ground before going out of bounds.

5) When attempting to retrieve a ball that is out of bounds or across the centreline, a player must not apply any weight/pressure to the ball as doing so will result in the player being out.

6) Intentionally throwing a ball out of bounds will result in that ball being forfeited to the opposing team.


Important Note:

Throws must not hit the wall above six feet high, otherwise, the ball becomes a deadball. Referees should assist – without interrupting play – in knocking these deadballs back to the appropriate team. This is applicable to both the rear wall and the side wall.




1) Players may protect themselves by ‘blocking.’ A valid block is defined as the following: utilizing a ball held under control to stop or deflect an incoming ball thrown by an opponent.

2) Blocks are considered successful when there is only ball on ball contact. The following conditions apply to blocking an incoming ball:

Any contact with a player’s hand during or after the block will result in the player being out (See Being Hit).

Any contact with a player’s body during or after the block will result in the player being out (See Being Hit).

Any instance of an incoming ball knocking a ball out of the blocker’s hand will result in the blocking player being out, provided the incoming ball was a valid throw.

Blocking with a deadball will result in the blocking player being out.


Code of Conduct


1) While headshots are considered a valid hit, they are not condoned by the league.

2) Players may not manipulate (touch, grab, steal, etc) a ball currently in the possession of another player. Attempting to do so will result in the offending player being called out.

3) Players may not obstruct, push, or physically impede another player under any circumstance. Doing so will result in the offending player being called out and is grounds for disciplinary action.

4) Any player using the wall in an un-safe manner to perform flips, jumps, or other acrobatics will be considered out. Use of the wall to avoid falling or to brace themselves during play is considered acceptable.

5) In the event that a player may be injured, play should stop immediately and an SDL volunteer must be notified.

6) All calls made by a referee are final and may not be contested. Arguing with referees is not tolerated and players who do so may be subject to disciplinary action.

7) If referees are in disagreement over a call, they must meet in the middle of the court to discuss and come to a consensus.

8) Players on the sidelines may not engage in or affect gameplay in any way. This includes attempting to manipulate balls, change referee calls, etc.

– Arguing, taunting, shaming, or otherwise negatively addressing a referee during or after a game will not be tolerated. Any discussion over the accuracy of calls must take place after a game is over and must be done so politely and respectfully.

– If a player is unable to have civil discourse with a referee then the player should seek out a league representative for assistance.

– Under no circumstances is a player to argue a call during a game, doing so may result in the player being ejected from the game by the referee with further action taken according to the league’s disciplinary policy.

9) Profanity, racism, sexism, discrimination, heckling, and insults are not condoned and will be dealt with according to the league’s disciplinary policy.

10) Players are not allowed to twist, warp, crush, or kick the balls. Players who deliberately damage balls or other league equipment will be asked to replace them at their own expense.

11) We recommend that players do not wear glasses, jewellery, or any other accessories while playing.

12) Players may not wear gloves, hoodies, sweatshirts, or overly loose articles of clothing during gameplay as they provide an unfair advantage when catching.

13) Any player that sustains a head injury while playing in a SDL event must sit out a mandatory 15 minutes. If after the 15 minutes the injured player determines they feel able to play they can do so. We encourage any player that injures their head to seek medical attention.

14) Any player requiring an ice pack due to minor injury during the course of play must sit out their next set.

15) Players may not engage in physical altercation(s) at any of the League’s events.

16) Players who cause intentional damage to school property will have to pay for the damages and/or may be suspended/banned from the league. Every incident will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

17) Cigarette, drug, and/or alcohol consumption on school properties is not permitted before, during, or after dodgeball.

18) The League does not condone illegal activity of any kind and any players found to be participating in such activity will be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement authority.

19) All active players must sign the medical waiver in order to be insured by SDL’s insurance policy.

20) Players may not forcefully squish a ball against any object (i.e. ground, yourself, other balls etc.). Any player doing so must forfeit that ball to the other team.

21) Throw a headshot and you’re out! If a player hits an opponent directly in the head with a ball during play, both players will be called “out” by the referee. Throwing additional headshots in the same night has escalating consequences, please refer to the Headshot Policy for more information.

For a player to get a strike they must hit the opposing player directly in the head (no deflection) and the opposing player must have been standing straight up or in a readied stance.

22) Players are expected to go off when they are hit, and as such, the League has zero tolerance for cheating. Any repeated occurrence of this type of behavior will result in disciplinary action.

23) Unsportsmanlike play that compromises the safety of other players will not be tolerated. Therefore, consistent, dangerous high throws near an opposing player’s head (while standing or in a readied stance) will result in disciplinary action.

  • Disciplinary action can be initiated by a night coordinator and may range from as little as a verbal warning to a maximum of sitting up to 15 games. Further action may be taken at the discretion of the League’s directors.
  • Any player found to be intentionally throwing high at other players’ heads will be asked to leave the gym for the night and will be suspended from play pending contact from a league director.

24) The use of chalk in all of its forms is strictly prohibited during regular league play. Some limited use may be allowed during tournaments and playoffs but must be approved by the league’s directors.

25) Pets are strictly prohibited from entering any facility in use by the Surrey Dodgeball League.

26) No Show Policy: Teams are required to give 48 hours notice if they will be unable to field at least 3 players on a given night. Teams that fail to notify the league via Facebook or email at least 48 hours in advance will be charged a $20 fee.

  • Email must be sent to [email protected] with your team name and “Notice for no show” in the subject line.
  • The $20 fee must be paid prior to the next re-tiering


The Surrey Dodgeball League takes any breach of the above code of conduct seriously and will address infractions according to the SDL Discipline Policy.


The League also reserves the right to escalate discipline procedures to the highest possible degree at the discretion of the League’s directors when deemed necessary.