- At the start of gameplay, players are separated into two teams by lining up on the center line and counting off 1 / 2 (teams are shuffled periodically during a session).
- The teams are assigned to opposite sides of the court, with the center line serving as the primary border (which should not be intentionally crossed).
- Although it's necessary to cross the back and side boundaries to shag balls, every effort should be made to to keep game play within them. While out of bounds, you can still be hit. If you catch a ball behind the line, neither you or the thrower are out (except for lobs and deflections - see below). When reentering the court from the side boundary, Players reentering the court from the side boundary are expected to do so obviously, so there is no surprise or confusion on the opposing team.
- Prior to the start, the balls are evenly divided between teams (ideally, one ball per person).
- Once both teams are ready, the starter shouts “GO!” and game play begins.
- The game continues until all of the members of one side are out, and then a new game begins.
(see sportsmanship section below for expectations once you're out)There are 4 main ways you can get out
- Direct hit – a ball thrown by an opposing player hits you directly (except in the head, which doesn’t count regardless of the stance or position)
- Hit deflected from your own ball - a ball thrown by an opposing player hits your ball, then strikes you anywhere except your hand that is in contact with the ball (headshot rule also applies).
- Dropped ball - a ball thrown by an opposing player hits your ball, causing you to drop your ball unintentionally
- Caught ball – your thrown ball is caught by the opposing team (this will also allow someone from their team to come back in)
- Your clothes (including shoelaces and jewelry) are considered part of your person.
- Headshots, either direct or deflected off a blocking ball do not count as an out.
- While blocking with a ball, the fingers on your hand holding the ball are immune to any deflections (but not to any direct hits)
- A thrown ball remains active, even if the thrower gets out prior to their ball striking another player.
- To get the thrower out (and a teammate in), the catcher must have at least one foot in front of or touching the back boundary. An exception is made for players going out of bounds to catch a ball that is lobbed or ricochets into the back court
- Once a ball touches the floor, wall, ceiling it is dead and can no longer get anyone out. This is also true if it hits an out player or another ball in flight, whether on or off the court.
- Once hit, the player is out instantly unless they are actively making a play on the deflected ball. In such instances, they remain in and able to throw or catch additional balls until the ball is dead.
- If a ball deflects off of your body, you are ineligible to catch it once a teammate touches it.
- Once a ball hits another player (or their ball) it can no longer get anyone out – HOWEVER, the ball is still available to be caught and get the thrower out.
- Once out, the player should raise their hand to show they are no longer in play and line up at the side of the court in the order they got out.
- Aside from getting the thrower out, a caught ball also allows the return of an “out” player from the catcher’s team. If you make a catch, make sure to loudly call someone back in.
- “Out” players return in the same order they got out – first out, first in.
- If you get hit by a ball that is then caught by someone else on your team, you are still out – however, someone from your team does come back in (and if no one’s out – that’s you!)
- When returning to play as a result of a caught ball, you should raise your hand and walk directly to the back of the court. During this time you are immune. Once you touch the back wall, you’re active and back in the game.
BASIC SPORTSMANSHIP & DECORUM
- Realize that everyone is there to have fun, and while competitive, the games are to remain cordial and friendly at all times, without exception.
- Language should remain respectful and PG-13 at all times. Please refrain from swearing, impiety, or inappropriate comments about race, gender, orientation, disability, etc.
- All games are self-officiated and you are responsible for calling yourself out – be honest.
- In the instance of a dispute, the affected player shall remain in without argument.
SPORTSMANSHIP - AFTER YOU GET OUT
- When you get hit, please raise your hand as a visible indicator that you are out. Do NOT remain ambiguously in/out in an attempt to draw additional throws.
- Refrain from excessive outbursts, swearing or name calling.
- Once out, calmly surrender any balls you're holding to the field of play. They should be simply dropped or passed to a teammate. They should NOT continue to be thrown at opponents (even your friends) or spiked in disgust.
- When leaving the field of play, you should go directly to the "out" area without purposely affecting gameplay - this includes shielding a teammate, attempting to block incoming balls, or passing balls not already in your possession to your team.
- Once in the "out" queue, it IS permissible to use your foot to stop a ball from rolling to the other team, as long as you remain in line. It is also permissible to kick any balls at your feet to your teammates.
SPORTSMANSHIP - DISPUTE RESOLUTION
First off, let me to reiterate the most important rule of doodgeball:
Thou shalt have FUN!
Let's remember that even though we're playing a kids game, we're all adults. Although it's natural for there to be the occasional dispute, these should always be handled respectfully.
Our games are self-officiated, and we depend on our participants to have the integrity and honesty to call themselves out when they get hit.
If someone appears to get hit and does not leave the court, you are certainly welcome to point this out and respectfully challenge them. In most instances they are not clear on the rules or may not have noticed, and will go out without argument. Keep in mind, there's always the possibility that you were mistaken yourself (even if it seemed obvious).
However, if the player maintains they were not out, they stay in - unequivocally. This is true even in instances where it is 100% certain they are out. Under no circumstances should there be any further debate, insinuation or bickering whatsoever. The game should simply continue on in a friendly manner and rely on dodgeball karma to restore justice.
We've been extremely lucky to attract a great group of friendly players with outstanding sportsmanship. As long as we agree to respect one another and focus on having fun, there's no reason that we can't continue enjoying the awesomeness of dodgeball for a long time to come.
If our games end up losing that spirit of fun to unsportsmanlike like conduct, we'll soon find that no one wants to play anymore. Under no circumstances will we allow that to happen.
It's understood that we're all human and may not always exhibit perfect sportsmanship in the heat of battle. In the event of minor instances, the organizers will happily reiterate our rules and expect return to cordial play. Should there be any continued disruption, we may less happily request that those involved leave the game for the day (or at least put them on the same team and make them hold hands). Under extreme or recurring circumstances, the offenders will be be banned from the group and asked not to return.
Again, thanks to all of our members for making these games such a blast. Nathan and I are relying on you continue the tradition and make sure stays that way!