OFFICIAL RULES  FOR METROBALL DODGEBALL LEAGUE PLAY

DEFINITIONS

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 (e.g., the scoreboard), dead players walking off the court,

referees, spectators or supporters. Unused balls (i.e. untouched by players) that are

on or off the court are also considered to be Dead Objects and Dead Balls (see

“Dead Ball” below).

Dead Ball: A ball that is no longer a Live Ball for any reason described in “Live Ball”

above. Note: a ball that is blocked (see “Blocking” below) is not a Dead Ball until it

touches a Dead Object.

Out: A player is Out if the player (a) is hit 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 for the

match (see “Boundaries” below).

Set: The duration it takes to get ALL 6 players of the opposing team Out. Each set is

worth 1 point for the match.

Match: A contest between three teams to accumulate the most number of sets/points

within a 30-minutes blocks of time.

THE TEAM

Teams will consist of 6-8 players. Six active players per team will compete during

any given Set. Player substitutions are only allowed between Sets or during time-
outs as described in “Time-outs & Substitutions” below. 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. See “Ball Retrieval” below.

SUBSTITUTE PLAYERS NOT ON THE ROSTER:

Due to the nature of the Draft league, substitute players should not be utilized unless

absolutely necessary.  Teams are not allowed to bring in any substitutes unless the team would 

otherwise be unable to field a team of 6 players.  During playoffs there are no un-drafted players

allowed without prior consent from the league organizers. 

THE EQUIPMENT

The official ball of the World Dodgeball Federation, used in international tournament

and league play is a 7” rubber-coated foam dodgeball between 120– 160 grams in

weight. Metroball dodgeball will be using the 7” Gatorskin brand for league play.

To prevent injuries, it is recommended that players wear tennis/cross-training shoes for the match.

THE MATCH

A Match consists of 30 minutes of game play between 3 teams. The game

clock will run continuously during each 30 minute match. 

As long as time remains on the game clock in the match 

a new set must be started. However, any set in progress when time expires

shall go into Sudden Death Mode (see “Sudden Death” below). 

 Each group of 3 teams will rotate through playing each other for 30 minutes,

the team that is sitting is responsible for having 2 players refereeing the set.

This means every team will have a cycle of playing 2, and reffing one.

Points will be awarded at the end of each Match, with 3 points going to the team 

with the most wins, 2 points for second most wins, and 1 point for third.

In the event of a tie, the tied teams will select one champion for a sudden death showdown

to settle the tie.  

THE GAME

The object of the game is to score points by eliminating ALL 6 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.

Corollaries:

(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 (see “Blocking” below) and strikes

another opposing player before hitting the ground or a Dead Object, then that player

will be Out. However, 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 not out,

but the ball is still a Live Ball which may yet be caught by the opposing team until it

hits the ground or a Dead Object.

(c) 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.

(d) 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.”

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 a player that was eliminated in that set

prior to the catch. The player that comes back into the court must be one of the 

original six players that started the set.

NOTE: The revived player must re-enter the court from the baseline under the 1st out

1st in basis. The revived player must touch the back wall to be active. 

Corollaries:

(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 (see “Blocking” below) 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 trying to catch a Live Ball loses balance and falls out of bounds, walks

out of bounds or is hit by a Live Ball which hits the ground or a dead Object before

that player has complete control of the Ball, then it is not deemed a catch and that

player is Out.

(d) If a player throws a ball and is hit and killed before his/her ball is caught by an

opposing player, the catch still counts if the ball was still a Live Ball and the opposing

team may revive a player. For the purpose of statistics, however, the kill would also

count if the kill was completed prior to the catch.

(e) 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. That player or any other previously eliminated player

may be revived by the catch, but only ONE player may return.

(f) 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 not

constitute a catch.

BLOCKING

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.

Example 1: Player A is holding three balls, one in each hand and a third trapped

between the other two. Player A attempts to block an incoming Live Ball with the ball

in his/her right hand, but in doing so drops the third ball that was trapped. Even

though the third/middle ball was not apparently hit by the Live Ball, the ball was

dropped concurrently with and due to the impact of the Live Ball and Player A is Out.

Example 2: Player A is holding three balls when opposing Player B throws a Live

Ball. Player A clearly drops one ball before using the other two balls to block Player

B’s Live Ball. Since Player A did not drop the ball due to the impact of the Live Ball.

Example 3: Player A is holding two balls and uses one ball to block an incoming

Live Ball. The ball used to block the Live Ball was held out in front of Player A’s face

while Player A dropped the ball he/she was holding at his/her side at the time of

impact. Since the dropped ball was not clearly a result of the impact of the Live Ball

which was blocked, Player A is still alive.

A blocked or deflected ball is still a Live Ball until it either touches the ground or a

Dead Object, so a deflected ball that hits another player may still result in an Out if it

hits another player, or considered a catch if it is caught.

SPECIAL NOTE: Blocking is not available in Sudden Death. Balls that are

blocked in Sudden Death will be deemed to have hit the person using a ball to block.

BOUNDARIES

Active players must remain within the 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 s/he touches out of bounds.

The forward boundary in a full-court game is the center line for both the men’s and

women’s division. The forward boundary in half-court games may vary by venue and

should be confirmed in consultation with the game’s referees in advance of any half-
court match.

EXCEPTION: A player may legally step over the centerline only during the opening

rush.

THE OPENING RUSH

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 one foot touching the baseline. 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 (see “The Court”

above) 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. Teams shall receive one

warning for false starting per half and any subsequent violation may result in a

yellow card violation.

 

Pace of Play:

Although there is neither a time limit per set nor a shot clock,

the referee may prompt a team to throw to maintain a fair

game pace. In a situation when neither team is apparently preparing to throw, which

team is prompted to throw will be based on the following:

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 obliged to throw first.

2. The team with more balls on their side of the court is obliged to throw first. Even if

some balls are on the ground outside the boundary, the team is obliged to throw as

long 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 is obliged to

throw first.

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.

Once the referees have indicated who must throw first, the team that is required to

do so has 5 (FIVE) SECONDS to initiate a throw. Referees may penalize teams who

are deemed to have taken an inordinate amount of time to make a throw. The Penalty for failure to 

throw after the five second count will be to surrender all balls to the opposing team.

5. For a throw to be considered valid it must be thrown with enough force to reach the back wall and be thrown within a 1 meter

proximity of an opponent on either side.  Throws thrown above or far to the side of your opponent may be 

deemed by the referee as invalid and will not reset the 5 second count.

 

SUDDEN DEATH

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 AVAILABLE. Players using a ball to block a Live

Ball will be deemed killed as soon as the blocked ball hits a Dead Object just as

though the Live Ball had hit the player’s body. Blocked/deflected Live Balls may still

be caught with normal consequences, however. The procedure for sudden death is

as follows.

1. At the buzzer denoting the end of regulation play, 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 (i.e., there is no prescribed time limit).

TIE BREAKERS

In the event that the match is tied at the end of regulation play, a one vs one showdown will be 

conducted. Tied teams will each select a champion to compete. 2 balls will be given to each champion and 2 balls

arranged at center court.  The 2 selected players will line up along the back wall of the court and the

referee will start the showdown by a 3...2...1 showdown call.  Upon commencement the center line is no longer in effect,

the first player to eliminate the other player will be deemed the winner. 

EXCEPTION: During playoffs a tie breaker will consist of a regular round with no time limit. 

EXITING THE COURT WHEN OUT

Once a player is deemed to be Out, s/he must leave the court in a timely manner

towards the center of the gym. 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 s/he gets 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, if an infraction occurs.

TIME-OUTS & SUBSTITUTIONS

Time-outs can only be used 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.

 

RULE ENFORCEMENT

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. 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 either

during or after the match upon review.

 

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.

Behavior constituting misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

• Fighting or attempting to assault another player

• Racist, sexist, or homophobic comments directed at the other team

• Rude verbal taunting

• Throwing a ball at an opposing player despite having been clearly called

Out

• Intentionally inflicting pain or throwing a ball excessively hard at close

distance at another player’s face

• Excessive use of foul language

• Cheating

• Causing constant distraction to the game by a player that is not on court

• Squeezing and crumpling the ball before throwing it

• Kicking or spiking the ball

Misconduct during matches will lead to elimination from the current match.  Subsequent misconduct will lead to multiple

match suspensions up to and including expulsion from the league.

© 2017 by Metroball Dodgeball