The Pitch

The pitch is divided into two sides separated by a ‘neutral’ no-man’s-land type area in the centre. Pitch dimensions depend on the venue but range from as large as 20m x 10m down to 14m x 7m. Players must remain within the pitch boundaries at all times unless they are out. They are not allowed to go and fetch the balls from outside of the pitch – there will be ballboys/ballgirls to do this. Players must throw from behind the neutral area, although they may follow through into this area after throwing the ball from behind it. Players may enter the neutral zone to collect a ball during the set.

The Balls

6 official Dodgeball UK dodgeballs: 4x larger balls and two smaller ones which only the female team members may throw. Female players can throw the larger balls too.


Each team consists of 6 players with a minimum of two female players in league matches – other events depend on the specific tournament rules. Teams may change their personnel in between sets but not during, except in the case of injury when they may use a substitute.


Each match consists of a pre-defined amount of sets (normally best of 3), which are usually timed (2.5 mins per set). Once the time is up, the team with more players remaining wins the set. If it is level, the team to get the next person out wins the set – sudden death! The pitch may be shortened when it is down to one-on-one. If a team has more players remaining they cannot hold onto balls to waste time.. The referee is entitled to stop the watch until balls are thrown, especially in the final 30 seconds of a set.

The ‘Rush’!

Each team stands behind the back line. The dodgeballs are placed along the centre of the pitch and on the referee’s whistle players rush to get the balls, picking up as many as they like. Once you have a ball, you have to return that ball to the baseline before it is in play – you can’t just pick it up and throw it. You can do this by running back with it, or throwing it back to players who have waited there. Strictly no use of feet is allowed and sliding is prohibited – players doing this will be yellow carded immediately. Once a ball has reached the baseline, players can start to throw at the opposition.


A player is ‘out’ when:
• A LIVE ball hits their body (shoulders or below) or their clothing and then hits the floor or a wall.
• An opposition player catches a live ball. If your opponent catches your throw then you are out and one of their team comes back in. A double swing If you catch it then it is your job to call in your teammate who is first in the line. The referee will not necessarily do this for you. If you are caught please leave the pitch straight away.
• Once you are out, you must leave the pitch immediately and join the queue of players already eliminated from your team outside and behind the pitch area. If someone on your team catches a throw and you are first in the queue, you go back in via the baseline.

A “LIVE” ball is one that has not bounced or already hit a wall/ceiling (unless local rules deem otherwise). Any ball that has bounced does not count, and play continues as normal. It’s like cricket/rounders – until the ball hits the floor you can still catch someone out. If you are hit with the ball but one of your team-mates catches it before it touches the ground, then the thrower is out. However if the ball touches you and other players then bounces, you are all out! If you parry the ball onto the wall or ceiling you are out even if you catch it on the rebound.


A player can block a throw with a ball they are holding, with play continuing as normal, as long as the ball they are holding isn’t knocked out of their hand. That doesn’t count as a block and they are out. A player can parry the ball away with their ball, and if they or a team-mate catches it before it bounces then the thrower is out. If it hits the blocker’s hand(s) holding the ball they are blocking with, that is not out. Once it hits the ball you are holding, or the hand holding it, you and your teammates are safe for that play, and only the thrower can potentially be out. Male players are out if they block with the smaller balls. If they have caught a smaller ball then must then put it down or give to a female team-mate straight away.

Out Of Bounds

Players must stay inside the pitch dimensions at all times unless they are out, when they must line-up appropriately. If you catch a ball and momentum takes you fully out of the pitch area then you are out. As long as you keep part of one foot on the floor and inside the pitch then the catch counts. The referee will give the benefit of the doubt to the person catching the ball as we want to encourage catching. If you momentarily go outside the baseline but are not dodging a throw in the process you will not be out as long as you come straight back into the pitch. If however this is a regular occurrence the referee has the right to warn you and then call you out. If you leave the pitch area in the act of dodging a throw you are immediately out. If the game has reached the shortened pitch stage, you must stay within the baseline at all times – there is no leeway.


Players have to be hit at shoulder height or below to be out. If a male player hits a female player in the face, he is sent to the back of the ‘out’ line. If a female player hits a male player in the face, we all laugh and the game continues!

Discipline – Yellow & Red Cards

A yellow card is given for the following reasons:
- Jumping the queue when a catch is taken
- A male player hitting a female player in the head with a throw, unless the female player has ducked into it or was already on the floor.
- At the referee’s discretion for language, persistent foul play, dissent or unsporting play.
- Blatant Cheating where a player is caught or hit, and obviously knows it, and tries to stay in. Or when a player comes back into play knowing they should not be in play
The player shall join the back of the queue but can come in again as per normal with a catch.

A red card is given for the following reasons:
- Foul & Abusive Language directly at a referee or another player
- Any kind of threatening behaviour towards a player, official or spectator at any point in during the event.

Respect For The Ref

The ref’s decision is final. You must not remonstrate with the ref during a game. If you want to chat please do so after the set has finished, as the ref needs to be concentrating on the game. Finally, please enjoy the dodgeball in a fair and honest way, it is a lot more fun for everyone if you do.

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