Home Competitive 8.5 Rules

Competitive 8.5 Rules

Quick 8.5 Rules

Playing the Game:

  • Play is started by a referee blowing a whistle.
  • Each team attempts to eliminate all other players on the other team.
  • The team who eliminates all players on the opposing side wins.
  • Players called out by a referee must leave the court quickly and not interfere with play.
  • When players are eliminated, they stand in the out queue in the order they where eliminated.
  • Players in the out queue may be regenerated by a teammate’s catch.
  • While playing, all players must stay in bounds at all times.

Eliminating Players:

  • Players are eliminated if they are struck by an opponent’s live thrown ball.
  • A throwing player is eliminated if their throw is caught by an opposing player.
  • Players are eliminated if they cross the neutral zone line or go out of bounds.
  • Thrown balls are considered live until they touch the floor, wall, or ceiling.
  • Thrown balls are live if deflected off of a blocker or a teammate.
  • Intentional contact with an opposing player in the neutral zone will eliminate the violator.
  • No slapping or stripping a ball from an opposing player.
  • A player is eliminated if they execute a “headshot” on an opposing player.

Catching & Blocking:

  • Catches regenerate an eliminated player on your team.
  • Catch is considered a catch the instant the catcher demonstrates possession of the ball.
  • Players may use a ball to block a thrown ball; the thrown ball is live off the blocker.
  • Fingers are considered part of the ball but the hand is not.

Opening Rush:

  • All players must be completely behind the line.
  • No movement prior to start (similar to track and field).
  • Officials will restart if any player false starts.
  • No intentional contact or reckless incidental contact allowed or you will be eliminated.
  • No sliding or you will be eliminated.
  • Players must bring their ball behind the attack line before they throw.

Team Composition


  • A named player who is responsible for the operational needs of the team.
  • The team captain shall participate in all prescribed activities involving communication between Phoenix Dodgeball and the players.
  • The team captain may also be held accountable for the behavior of their teammates.
  • Team captains are responsible for communicating their team’s responsibilities to their players.


  • Players of a team must be 18 years of age or older, registered, and paid for the current event.
  • Players are expected to have a basic understanding of the rules and follow the official’s direction at all times.
  • Players must follow the code of conduct at all times.

Player Eligibility:

  • Phoenix Dodgeball reserves the right to disallow participation based on medical or psychological conditions.
  • Including, but not limited to severe physical injury, physical disabilities, pregnancy or psychological disorders.

Starting Players:

  • Prior to each game, teams will select 6 players to participate in that game.
  • These players are to stand at the end line prior to the game start and respond to the official’s “ready” call.

Player Substitutions:

  • Teams may not substitute players during a game.
  • Teams may only select new starting players for each game.
  • Substitutions may be made if a player is injured.
  • The substituting player must be a non-starting player.
  • Teams may not substitute players not registered to the team.

Team Requirements:

  • Teams must be made up of at least 6 rostered players.
  • A team may play a game with less than 6 players to avoid forfeit but does so at a disadvantage.
  • Coed teams must contain at least 2 rostered players of each gender (2 females and 2 males minimum).
  • A coed team may play with only 1 female or 1 male but may not exceed 5 players on the court in total.
  • Open teams have no gender requirement.
  • Women teams may only contain women.
  • Phoenix Dodgeball does not require team uniforms but they are recommended.
  • Phoenix Dodgeball shall review, on a case by case basis, individuals who have undergone GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery).

Game Equipment and Boundaries

Court Equipment:

  • All divisions play with six (6) 8.5″ rubber dodgeballs.
  • The court shall be identified with 12″ cones and tape.

Personal Player Equipment:

  • Players are not permitted to use apparel to aid in gaining control, retaining control, or throwing a ball. This includes catching gloves.
  • Officials reserve the right to reject any personal equipment which may be determined as advantageous.
  • Equipment or apparel which serves a medical purpose may be permitted. In some cases, instructions from a physician may be required.

Court Boundaries:

  • The court is a 60′ long and 30′ wide area.

Boundary Infraction:

  • Players are expected to remain within the boundaries at all times.
  • When any part of a player’s body comes into contact with any part of the floor outside of the team’s boundaries, that player is eliminated.
  • Players may touch the line, but may not touch the floor outside the line.
  • A player utilizing a wall, net, curtain or any object other than a ball to remain in bounds is eliminated.
  • A player who receives assistance from another person who is not an “in play” member of their team is eliminated.

Neutral Zone:

  • The neutral zone is a 10′ wide area positioned in the center of the court wherein players from both teams may enter.
  • The womens divisions neutral zone is the width of the attack line.
  • The neutral zone boundary opposite of your end line shall be treated as a ”center line” in respect to boundaries.

Attack Line:

  • The attack line is a line marked 10″ from each side of the center line and running the width of the court.
  • A thrown ball is not live until a player brings it behind the attack line following the rush.
  • Players must bring any ball they retrieve to their side of (aka behind) the attack line prior to throwing that ball at the opposing team.
  • The entire ball must be behind the attack line.
  • The entire body of the player must be behind the attack line.
  • If the ball is not taken back, it is not considered a “live ball” and will not eliminate a player, nor will it count as a catch if caught.
  • It is the players responsibility to “clear” the ball behind the attack line prior to throwing the ball at the opposing team.

Out Queue:

  • The out queue is located on one side of the court.
  • This area shall be located towards the back line of the court, with the next player to be regenerated standing closest to the end line.

Match Composition

Set Series:

  • A match of a set series of games.
  • The number of games that teams play is set regardless of the number of games one team may win.

Best-of Series:

  • A match of games where the winner is declared once a majority of the games of the match have been won by one team or the other.
  • Common examples are ”2 out of 3″, “3 out of 5″ or “4 out of 7″.

Time Limit:

  • A match may have a time limit imposed.
  • In the case where time has expired, then the current match will be called a draw and neither team awarded the game point.


  • The winner of a match shall be determined by the team winning the most number of games in a prescribed series.
  • The team who eliminates all the players on the opposing team shall be declared the winner of the game.

Starting Positions:

  • Players must be behind the end line and may not have any part of their body touching their court.
  • Once the official signals your team that they are ready, the players may not move, holding their starting position until the whistle is blown.

Opening Rush:

  • When the teams rush from the end line in an effort to retrieve as many balls as possible from the center line.


  • When a teammate makes a catch, they regenerate one player from the out queue back into play.

Order of Regeneration:

  • The players in the out queue regenerate in the order in which they where eliminated.
  • Players shall stand in the appropriate order in the out queue; first to last, starting near the end line.
  • Players are immediately “in play” once they touch any part of the playing area and can be eliminated immediately after at that point.
  • Any player stepping onto the court, then immediately off the court is eliminated due to boundary infraction.
  • Players have roughly 5 seconds to enter the court after being regenerated and may enter at any point along the end line.
  • Failing to enter the court within this time frame voids the regeneration and the player returns to the 1st spot in the queue.
  • The next player, based on the order of regeneration, must be in the queue in order to be eligible to be regenerated.
  • Failure to be in the correct location voids the regeneration.
  • If a regeneration is voided, the player that was to be regenerated is placed at the end of the order of regeneration.

Match Procedure:

  • Teams elect their starting 6 players, who address the end line.
  • Team members not playing in the current game must stand on the sideline opposite the out queue.
  • When both teams have addressed the line the official shall start the game.
  • The official shall ask one team if them are “ready?”.
  • Once a response is received the official shall raise their arm corresponding to the team acknowledged.
  • The official shall ask the other team if they are “ready?”.
  • The official shall raise the other arm.
  • The official blows the whistle beginning the game.
  • The game continues under the below rules until one team is declared the winner.
  • Teams have a 1 minute rest period prior to the start of the next game.
  • If both teams agree to start before the 1 minute is up, the official may do so at their discretion.
  • Subsequent games continue using this prescribed procedure until all games have been completed for the match.
  • After the match both teams shall meet in the middle of the court for congratulations.


Recording the Match:

  • A match official shall always record a “match winner” and all games won or lost for both teams.


  • Matches will be officiated by at least one Phoenix Dodgeball official.
  • No match results will be recorded without an event official overseeing the match.


  • If a player false starts, the official will simply restart the opening rush until a clean start is executed without any penalty or warning applied.

Burden of Throw:

  • The official shall count the players and balls of both sides, assigning burden to the team with the highest count.
  • In the case where both sides are even in combined balls and players, the burden shall be given to the team with the most balls first.
  • If both teams have the same number of players and balls, the official will provide a reset warning allowing either team to take action.
  • If no action is taken, a reset shall be exercised.


  • If the official cannot determine  which team has advantage, the official will stop play and reset the game by placing the balls on the center line.
  • No players are regenerated in the case of a reset; the reset is simply executed with the in-play players on the court at that time.

Stopping a Game:

  • Only officials may stop play and do so for any reason.
  • Officials are required to stop play in these circumstances:
    • If a player is injured or bleeding, the official must stop play and attend to the injured player.
    • A player who is eliminated but is unaware or refuses to leave the court.
    • One official needs to discuss a situation with another official.
    • Anytime a player is struck in the head by a thrown ball.

During Official Discussions:

  • All in-play players on the teams will be asked to remain at the end line.
  • During official discussions, all eliminated players are expected to stay in the out queue.
  • During official discussions, all bench players and shaggers are expected to stay in their respective areas.
  • Failure for teams to comply may result in a team yellow or red card.
  • When an official stops play they will blow the whistle and walk out onto the court with arms out indicating players to stop play.
  • During this time, players should hold on to any balls they have and go to their end line and wait for the official to restart play.
  • There are no player initiated time outs during a game.
  • Officials shall inform the captains of each team the purpose and outcome of the stop in play before restarting play.

Restarting Play:

  • After stopped play, both teams will stand near the end line and the official will ask both teams if they are ready and will restart play.
  • Restarting play after an official stops play is not done with an opening rush.

Eliminating a Player

Game Event:

  • An occurrence of any event that would affect the elimination status of any player in play, such as being hit with a ball or making a catch.

Order of Events:

  • Officials will eliminate players based on the order of events, with each event taking effect in the order that they occurred.

Simultaneous Events:

  • If game events occurred at the same time, the officials shall apply the effects of all game events that occurred simultaneously (“catch and out”).

Elimination by Contact:

  • A player is eliminated when any part of their body or clothing comes into contact with a “live ball” thrown or blocked from the opposing team.

Attacking Thrown Ball:

  • Any ball thrown by the hand(s) by a member of the opposing team is a “live thrown ball”.
  • Balls which are struck, kicked, punched, or deflected off of the body of a member of the opposing team is not considered a live thrown ball.
  • Balls which are kicked or punched are not considered a live thrown ball. These repeated actions from a player could result in a yellow card.
  • A throw made by a player who steps over the line is considered valid; so long as the ball is thrown before the center line infraction occurs.


  • The act of folding the rubber of the ball over itself or substantially deforming the ball to grip the ball in a “pinch”.
  • This is not allowed and any player found pinching will be eliminated.

Actionable Ball:

  • The actionable ball is a ball that has struck a player but was not caught nor has it hit the floor or met any criteria to make the ball a dead ball.
  • When an actionable ball is in play, the struck player may only make a play on his/her actionable ball.
  • Any thrown balls by this player are “dead”, regardless of the outcome of the actionable ball.
  • Any catches made while the actionable ball is in play are void, but do not eliminate the player.
  • All catch rules and definitions still apply to an actionable ball
  • There can be only one actionable ball in play for a given player.
  • While an actionable ball is in play, any further balls that strike the player eliminate the player immediately. Standard deflection rules apply.
  • All boundary and neutral zone rules still apply.
  • Interference rules apply to players who fail to make a good faith effort to catch their actionable ball.
  • If the actionable is not caught, the player is considered eliminated when the actionable ball first contacted the player.

Body Deflections:

  • Teammate’s body: Any ball that deflects off of a teammate’s body is live, and can eliminate a teammate.
  • Opponent’s body: Any ball that deflects off of an opponents body is not considered “live”.

Simultaneous Floor-Player Contact:

  • If the ball strikes a player and the floor at the same time, the player is eliminated.

Elimination by Catch:

  • A player who’s “live ball” is caught by a member of the opposing team is eliminated.
  • Player must maintain control of the ball with the hands before the catch is declared.
  • For purposes of catching, a blocker is considered an extension of the hand, and so may be used to demonstrate control of a ball.
  • A catch is considered a catch at the instant control is demonstrated by the catcher.
  • A catcher is not required to land in bounds after making a catch so long as they have control before they are out of bounds.
  • A player is not allowed to leap into the opposing team’s court to make a catch.
  • A catch which is made as the catcher is struck by another “live ball” is still a valid catch. The catcher is still out by contact from the other ball(s).

Trapped Ball:

  • When a ball is trapped by a player between them and the floor.
  • Trapped balls are not considered a catch.
  • The player executing the trap is eliminated.

Boundary Infraction:

  • Players who leave their playing area will be eliminated.
  • No boundary infractions are allowed at any time.
  • Players who step over the center line or neutral zone boundaries are eliminated.

Physical Contact:

  • At no time is intentional physical contact between players allowed during ball retrieval.
  • Incidental contact is allowable, but severe cases can still result in a player being eliminated.
  • In severe cases, players will be assessed red cards and removed from play.

Player Interference:

  • An eliminated player intentionally walks in front of an “in play” teammate to block balls thrown at them (eliminates the blocked teammate).
  • If an eliminated player makes an active effort to block a ball, the blocked player may be eliminated.
  • If a player physically interferes with a thrown ball at his teammates, the blocked player may be eliminated.
  • If an eliminated player demonstrates a “good faith effort” to avoid  interference, no interference penalty should be called.
  • Players who are eliminated may pass a ball, which was in their possession prior to their elimination, to a teammate as they exit the court.


  • Players are not allowed to slide during an opening rush and will result in immediate elimination, accidental or otherwise.

Physical Confrontation:

  • If any point two players become physically confrontational during a rush, both are immediately eliminated.
  • In extreme cases, both are given red cards and removed from the match.

Simultaneous Strike:

  • A ball which strikes the blocker and the player at the same time eliminates the player as the ball is live off the blocker.

Blocking, The Suicide Play, and Headshots


  • Players may use a ball to defend themselves from balls thrown at them by blocking the thrown ball(s) with a ball in their possession.
  • If the ball strikes the player’s hand while blocking, the blocking player is eliminated.
  • The knuckle marks the beginning of the “hand” for purposes of this rule.
  • Players are not allowed to pinch a blocker (pinching in any form is not allowed).
  • Your fingers are considered a part of the ball for purposes of blocking and a ball striking a blocking player’s fingers will not eliminate them.

Live Off the Block:

  • Any thrown ball is considered a “live ball” as it comes off a blocking ball.
  • A thrown ball which is blocked into the head of the blocker or another player’s head is not considered a headshot.
Blocker Deflection:
  • Any ball which deflects off of the blocker of any player is considered “live thrown” in all respects.

Block Attack:

  • A blocked ball which crosses either neutral zone line towards the opposing team is considered a “live thrown” ball in all respects.

Blocked Deflection:

  • A ball is live off the blocker and can eliminate team mates by contact and be caught under normal rules.

Dropped Blocker:

  • A player is eliminated if a live thrown ball contacts and therefore causes the target player to drop their blocker.
  • The target player may regain control of their blocker, but must do so prior to the blocker contacting the floor.
  • Only the original owner of the blocker may regain control of the dropped blocker.

The Suicide Play:

  • Jumping across the neutral zone line into the opposing team’s court with the intention of throwing out an opposing team member before landing.
  • The suicide player is eliminated upon landing on the opponent’s side of the court.
  • A suicide player may be thrown out in air.
  • A suicide player may catch a ball while in air, but it does not count as a catch.
  • Leaping into your opponent’s court to catch a ball is not allowed, that applies to the suicide play as well.
  • The suicide play is a unique play and has special rules regarding how the order of events is established.

Headshots (all divisions):

  • Any live thrown ball that strikes a player in the head does not eliminate that player so long as the player is upright.
  • The thrower of any headshot is eliminated.
  • Players are allowed to defend themselves if the ball will strike their head. In this case, the thrower is still eliminated for a headshot.
  • Any attempt to catch the ball disqualifies the ball for consideration as a headshot.

Headshot Throw Immunity:

  • If a headshot is part of a cluster of thrown balls at a target, that target is immune to all thrown balls that are part of the group/cluster throw.


Yellow Card:

  • This is an official warning that the current behavior is unacceptable.
  • In most cases a yellow card is issued prior to a red card.
  • A yellow card can be issued to a player or an entire team.

Red Card:

  • When a red card is given, a penalizing action will be taken depending on if the red card is given to a player or a team.

Individual Red Card:

  • The player is immediately removed from play, and may be removed from the event at the director’s discretion.
  • The player’s team is not allowed to substitute for the penalized player and the team completes the remaining match 1 player short.

Continuation of Penalty:

  • If an offense occurs at the end of the game, the red card penalty will carry over into the subsequent match.
  • Any players receiving 3 reds cards will no longer be able to participate.
  • The players actions will be reviewed in the off season to determine if they are fit to rejoin the next event.

Team Red Card:

  • The team immediately forfeits their current match and may be asked to leave the premises.

Automatic Review:

  • When a team red card is given out, the team shall be automatically reviewed for removal from the competition or tournament.

Exploitation Rule:

  • If a team appears to be exploiting verbiage to “legally stall”, the referee can exercise this rule to give ball possession penalties or reset.


  • When a player or a team intentionally holds (or leaves lying on the floor) 1 or more balls for no gain other than to remove the ball(s) from play.

Player Warning:

  • If an official deems a player’s activity with a ball as “unproductive”, the official will grant a warning to the player, who is given these choices:
    • Pass the ball to a teammate, who in turn may not pass it back to the warned player.
    • Throw the ball at the opposing team.
    • Roll the ball to the opposing team.

Ball Possession Penalty:

  • Single: Gives a single ball to the opposing team. The official chooses the ball.
  • Team: Gives all of the balls in a team’s possession to the opposing team.

Terms and Definitions

Live Ball: A ball which is legally thrown at the opposing team, which has not touched the ground, wall, ceiling, bystander, referee, out queue player or any other “out of play” object.

In Play: Players in the game, who have not been eliminated.

Elimination: A player that is eliminated under criteria of “eliminating a player”.

Out Queue: The side of the court where players stand after being eliminated.

Ready: This is the status of a team who is set and ready to execute an opening rush.

Center Line: The line that divides the court in halve, which players may not cross, except to execute a suicide play.

Out of Bounds: When a player’s body touches a part of the floor that is not considered their court, or the neutral zone.

Out: This is the same as elimination.

Clean Start: The start of the game and beginning of the opening rush without any players false starting.

False Start: When a player starts moving before the official whistle which begins the game.

Productive: A player possessing a ball is expected to be productive, meaning they are actively using the ball to further their team’s chances of winning the game. This excludes the notion of “hording” or keeping the ball away from the other team indefinitely. A player can hold on to a ball for an indefinite amount of time, so long as the player is being “productive” with that ball.

Unproductive: A player is determined as being unproductive if they fail to do anything with a ball except hold onto it. Unproductive status can be placed on an idle ball on the floor, not just a player.

Upright: Players are allowed to slightly bend their knees and slightly bend over in some sort of ready position and still be considered “upright” for purposes of headshots and high throws.

Potential Target: Any player which is in immediate proximity to a thrown ball. This distance is roughly within arm’s reach of the potential target.

Simultaneous Effect: In situations where an official cannot determine which game event occurred first, or in what order. The official shall apply the effects of all game events as if they happened simultaneously.

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