OFFICIAL RULES FOR METROBALL DODGEBALL LEAGUE PLAY
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.
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 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.
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 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.
(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.
(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.
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.
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-
EXCEPTION: A player may legally step over the centerline only during the opening
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
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
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.
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
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).
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.
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
• Intentionally inflicting pain or throwing a ball excessively hard at close
distance at another player’s face
• Excessive use of foul language
• 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.