Home Phoenix Dodgeball Social League Rules

Phoenix Dodgeball Social League Rules

Golden Rules

As a dodgeball player, it is your personal responsibility to never allow yourself or your teammates to cross that line between fun competition and unsportsmanlike behavior.

Golden Rule 1. Dodgeball is a self-regulated game that relies on the honor system. Players are expected to raise their hand and go out without anybody else telling them to.

Golden Rule 2. If one of your teammates is out (knowingly or not) and does not go out, it is your responsibility to tell them to do so.

Golden Rule 3. Referees are provided to rule on unclear plays, settle disputes, keep the game moving, and ensure player safety. While they will at times let you know if you are out, a lack of call by a referee does not remove your obligation to abide by the honor system.

Golden Rule 4. Players must respect the authority of the referees to regulate the game. Referees’ decisions are final.

Golden Rule 5. Captains must be the only players that address concerns to referees and officials during the match. They are expected to do so in a courteous and respectful manner, confine their discussions to interpretations of the rules, and not challenge referees’ decisions regarding judgment.

Golden Rule 6. Players are expected to comply wholeheartedly with the intent and spirit of the rules. Deliberately violating the rules is wrong.

League Specific Rules

  • The objective of the game is to eliminate all players on the opposing team before they eliminate all players on your team.


  • The game is played within specified boundaries designated by the officials before the match.
  • Players who go over a boundary line during play are eliminated. (With the exception of opening rush and momentum catches, covered in other sections.)


  • The game will be played with seven no-sting balls provided by the league.
  • Players are expected to provide protective gear as they see fit. (Gloves are not permitted).


  • Teams play with a maximum of nine players in any game who are at least 18 years of age, registered, signed the waiver, and paid league dues.
  • If a player arrives after the start of a match, he or she must sit until the start of the next game.
  • Teams will designate a captain.
  • The captain is responsible for the operational needs of the team and serve as a liaison between Phoenix Dodgeball officials and their teammates.
  • Substitutes must be approved by each teams captain and a Phoenix Dodgeball official.
  • Teams must have at least one member of either gender at the start time to play.
  • If a team cannot field sufficient players to compete in a match at the start time, that team will forfeit.
  • The opposing team is awarded a match win with the most games won within 50-minutes.
  • No substitutions are allowed for the end-of-season tournament.
  • If a player misses four or more weeks, said player may be replaced in season and could be ineligible to play the following season.

Match Composition

  • During the regular season, matches are played throughout a 50-minute period with potential resulting ties.
  • The team with the most wins in the match is determined the winner.
  • During the end-of-season tournament, matches are played as a best-of series with a definitive winning team.
  • Teams are allowed an optional one-minute break between each game.
  • The subsequent game may begin when both teams and officials are ready.

Flow of the Game

  • The referee determines which side of the court each team will play on.
  • If the facility does not offer symmetric areas behind each court, either team may request to switch sides between each or every other game.
  • The referee will place seven no-sting balls on the centerline. Four balls will be placed to one side of the centerline, and three to the other side.
  • The number of balls on either side of the centerline will alternate each game.
  • Each starting player lines up behind the end line.
  • The head official verbally confirms each team is ready to play.
  • Upon the designated assistant official’s whistle to start play, the opening rush occurs.
  • The balls on the right are designated to your team.
  • If one player is determined to have left early, the officials may declare a false start and require a restart.
  • Players must bring their balls and their entire body behind the attack line before they can complete a live throw.
  • Teams will attempt to eliminate opposing team members.
  • Players called out by a referee must leave the court quickly by going to the nearest boundary and not interfere with play.
  • If an official determines an eliminated player interfered with play by blocking a live ball at a teammate, said teammate will be eliminated.
  • When eliminated, player enters their out queue in order of elimination to await regeneration or the conclusion of the game.
  • Play continues until all members of one team are eliminated, declaring the opposing team the winner, or time expires.


  • Players are struck by an opponent’s live ball on any part of their body or clothing.
  • Their live throw is caught by an opposing player.
  • Any part of their body touches out of bounds or on the opponents’ side of the court.
  • They use a ball, an out-of-play object or another person not in play to stay in bounds.
  • They receive a three-point headshot from an opposing player.
  • They kick a ball during the opening rush or at an opposing player.
  • They slide on the opening rush.
  • They make intentional contact with an opposing player.
  • They slap or strip a ball in possession of an opposing player.

Stopping a Game

  • Officials will stop play by blowing the whistle and walking out onto the court with arms out. They must stop play in these circumstances:
    • A player is injured or bleeding.
    • A player is eliminated, but is unaware or refuses to leave the court.
    • A player is struck in the head by a thrown ball.
    • One official needs to discuss a situation with another official or Phoenix Dodgeball staff.
    • An obstacle such as a ball from another court, a water bottle, or a child is on the court.
  • During a stop in play:
    • In-play players should hold on to any balls they have, go to their end lines, and wait for the officials to restart play.
    • All balls not currently in possession by an active player must remain where they are.
    • All eliminated players remain in the out queue.
    • 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.
    • To restart play, all in-play members of both teams will stand near the end line before the official blows his or her whistle.

End of the Match

  • If play is stopped when the match timer runs out, the current game counts as neither a win nor a loss.
  • Teams are expected to participate in a post-match handshake line to congratulate each other at midcourt.
  • The referee will record the result of the match, and preparations for the following match will be made.

Terms and Definitions

Attack Line: After the opening rush, the entire ball and the player’s body must be returned behind this line before an initial throw at the opposing team. If the neither are taken back, any ball thrown cannot eliminate an opposing player. However, if the ball is caught by the opposing player, the catch stands and the thrower is out.

Ball Penalty: If for any reason the burden of throw does not result in legitimate action at the referee’s discretion, the offending team will relinquish possession of all balls to the opposing team.

Block: A player may use a ball to block a thrown ball. Fingers are considered part of the ball, but the knuckles down are not. All blocked balls are considered live until they hit the ground or out of bounds. If a ball is blocked across the centerline and caught by an opposing player, it is treated as a catch. If a ball is blocked across the centerline and hits an opposing player, the hit player is eliminated.

Burden of Throw: Officials will determine which team must throw if teams do not take action on their own using the following rules before enforcing any ball penalty.

  • The team with more than three balls must throw.
  • Officials will begin a 15-second countdown once a team is determined to have the burden of throw.
  • If the team does not meet the burden requirements, they will forfeit all balls.
  • Balls must have forward momentum to pass the opposing team’s attack line for the burden to be passed. (Note: This only applies to deliberately placed balls, not balls rolling across the line with natural momentum.)

Catch: The moment an active player demonstrates control of a live ball with at least one hand and two feet in bounds and on the court, eliminating the thrower.

  • A player can catch a ball that strikes them before it hits another player, another live ball, or any object out of play to avoid elimination.
  • If a player is hit by another live ball and the second live ball dies before demonstrating possession of the first live ball, the subsequent catch does not count.
  • A player may not leap into the opponent’s side of the court to make a catch.
  • A momentum catch counts, meaning that if a player makes a catch with both feet in bounds, and falls out of bounds, that player is not out. A momentum catch does not apply to falling across the centerline into the opposing team’s side of the court.
  • After a successful Momentum Catch, the catching player is pending-active and may not make any valid plays.
  • Hits on the catching player while pending-active are still valid and the Live balls making those hits are immediately Dead.
  • If the catching player makes a catch on a live thrown ball while still out of bounds, it is a save, not a catch.
  • Any pending-active players from a Momentum Catch may not throw any ball while pending-active.

Centerline: The line dividing the court in half, which players may not cross.

Conduct: Players and bystanders are expected to be respectful to their teammates, opponents, officials, bystanders and staff at all times. Players who display inappropriate or unsportsmanlike behavior face penalties ranging from a warning to ejection from the league.

Deflection: When a throw strikes a ball held by an opposing player, the ball can bounce off and still get caught or hit people. The deflected ball remains a live ball, though if it causes the deflecting player to drop their ball then the deflecting player is out.

  • When a deflection causes the deflecting player to fumble, the deflecting player is out.
  • The ball is considered fumbled if it’s struck by a live ball and the player does not retain control of the deflecting ball.
  • Retaining control means keeping possession of the ball and not allowing it to strike the ground.
  • If the deflecting ball is knocked loose but then is caught by a teammate or recovered by the player then the deflecting player is safe.
  • A player that fumbles his or her ball is out as soon as it strikes the floor.
  • A player may still catch a deflected ball until such time as the fumbled ball hits the ground, at which point the call would be a catch and out.
  • The fumbled ball is considered dead and cannot eliminate players. A teammate catching the live ball that caused the fumble is neither a catch nor a save, unless the fumbled ball is recovered before it is dead.

Elimination, Eliminated, Eliminate: When a player is hit by a live ball, has a live ball they threw caught or goes out-of-bounds or across the centerline, the player is no longer active in the game and must retire to the out queue.

  • An out player may not affect the outcome of any play.
  • If an out player throws a ball during a cluster throw, the play is dead and the game is reset after the player goes to the out queue.

Headshot: All headshots in which the player is on two points of contact when hit are considered dead balls.

  • Any headshot from a ricochet, off of a block, or if a player is on three points of contact is a valid hit and the ball is live.
  • Players are allowed to defend themselves if the ball will strike their head, in which case the throw is still considered a headshot.

Headshot Immunity: If a headshot is part of a cluster of thrown balls, the player is immune to all thrown balls that are part of the cluster.

  • Any catches made by the player during the cluster eliminates the opponent and regenerates a teammate.

Injuries: The referees must halt play immediately if there are any injuries on the court. The amount of Stoppage of Play is at the discretion of the referees and any event coordinators.

  • Players deemed fit for play following a Stoppage of Play will result in a reset of all active players to their respective End Lines with the current Burden.
  • Players not deemed for play following a Stoppage of Play can be replaced with a substitution player that has not played in the current game.
  • If no substitutions are available, the next player of the same sex in the team’s Queue may take the place of the injured player. If no player of the same sex is available, the substitution falls to the referee’s discretion.

Jailbreak: When a team is down to their last player, that player may attempt to make a basket through the basketball hoop opposite of the player’s side of the court.

  • The game will continue to play as normal during this period.
  • Only one jailbreak can occur per game per team.
  • The opposing team may try to block the ball, though no unsafe play requiring the assisted elevation of a teammate is permitted.
  • Once any part of the ball breaks the plane of the rims circumference, the opponent cannot interfere with the play.
  • Interference with the basketball goal, net, or reverse ejection will result in a successful jailbreak.
  • If the ball hits any part of the court other than the backboard or rim, the ball is dead.
  • When a team is down to one player, the eliminated players on that team must be in the queue or actively shagging. If a jailbreak is made, players are able to come in even if they were shagging, but must enter from the back line.

Live Ball: A ball legally thrown by an active player is live until the ball touches another live ball, the floor, the ceiling or any object out of play.

Miscellaneous: Rules that do not fit anywhere else.

  • Players may not place balls inside of their jerseys.
  • Players transitioning between active and on the court to nonactive and off the court are not permitted to make contact with any stray ball or otherwise Nonactive ball.
  • No flight kills are permitted.

Multiple Ball Contact: Any active player on the team of a hit player may make a play on the ricocheting Live ball. “Ricocheting live ball” is defined as a ball that has collided with one or more players and has not yet come into contact with any surface that would make it a dead ball.

  • Players hit by the ricocheting ball may not throw Active balls at the opposing team until the Sequence of Play is resolved.
  • Any subsequent Live thrown balls may hit the players while the first ball is still Live and begin separate, parallel Sequences of Play.
  • If any subsequent Live ball hits and becomes Dead while any preceding ball is still Live, players hit by the Dead ball are out but the Live balls remain Live.
  • Catches by active players on subsequent Live balls after any preceding Live balls become Dead are valid catches, but any players ruled out through coinciding Sequences of Play are still out.
  • If every subsequent Live ball is caught, they are all valid catches (i.e., the opposing throwing players are out and corresponding players on the catching team are eligible for reentry).
  • Sequences of Play that conclude in a catch and before other Sequences of Play that result in the hit players as out are valid catches first and then the hit players go out.
  • Sequences of Play are determined by the referees. If the hit player or any teammate are not in position to make a play on the Live ball, then the Sequence of Play is concluded.

Opening Rush: Upon the designated assistant official’s whistle to start play, players retrieve balls placed at center court. A player may cross no more than one step over the centerline without being called out.

Order of Events: In situations where multiple game events happen in quick succession, officials will eliminate players based on their best judgment of the order of events.

Out Queue: A designated area where eliminated players wait in order of elimination to be regenerated or await the conclusion of the game.

Pinching: The act of folding the rubber of the ball over itself or substantially deforming the ball to grip the ball is a pinch.

  • This is not allowed and any player found pinching will be eliminated.

Possession: A team is considered in possession of a ball held by a member of the team, or resting on the floor on that team’s side of the court.

Red Card: A referee will immediately eject a player, team or spectator for receiving two yellow cards in a match or for escalated inappropriate or unsportsmanlike behavior.

  • If a player is ejected, his or her team may not substitute for the ejected player for the remainder of the match.
  • All red cards will be under review by Phoenix Dodgeball staff and its owners and may result in ejection for the rest of the season.

Regeneration: When a teammate catches a live ball, a previously eliminated player in the out queue will return to the game in the order in which he or she was eliminated.

  • The player will enter the court within approximately five seconds, from his or her position in the out queue or from the end line.
  • If the next eligible person to be regenerated is not in the out queue at the catch, the regeneration is forfeited.
  • Players may not regenerate out of order.

Save: If a live ball contacts a player and a teammate catches the ball before it hits another live ball, the floor or out of bounds, the hit player is not eliminated nor is the thrower.

Shaggers: Shagging is retrieving a ball out of bounds for play, typically done by a player not in the match. If no shaggers are available:

  • A teammate last in the queue may retrieve out-of-bounds balls.
  • If only one player is in the queue, said player must check into the queue before shagging.
  • If no players are in the queue, a player in play may retrieve a ball out of play with the official’s permission.
  • Shaggers or nonactive players that make contact with any ball still on the court will result in that ball being awarded to the opposing team.

Sudden Death: When only one player remains on each team during a game, the throw line extends to the opposing team’s attack line.

  • Following any immediate continuation of play, officials will reset each player on their end line.
  • Jailbreaks may still apply.

Throw Line: The forward boundary in a full-court game is the centerline for all players.

  • In a one-on-one sudden death, all players are able to throw from the opposing team’s attack line.

Trap: A trap occurs when a player catches a ball at the same time it contacts the floor. It is not a catch and neither player is eliminated.

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

Yellow Card: A referee will warn a player or spectator during a match for inappropriate or unsportsmanlike behavior. If a player receives a yellow card, he or she must sit out the current game and the next. The yellow card is typically assigned for players arguing or acting as poor sports, and also for flagrant rules violations. This includes:

  • Clear abuse of the honor system.
  • Excessive contact with balls by players out of the game (e.g. kicking or slamming a ball on the floor or wall).
  • Intentional interference by players as they leave the court.
  • Interference with the game by players in the outline.
  • Continuing any practice that a ref has cautioned against.
  • Verbal abuse of the refs.
  • Heckling to cause altercation.
© 2009 Phoenix Dodgeball, LLC