Referee and Player Rules

New League Rule Updates:

  1. Rules have been revised to reflect our new open-court facility. Please review the follow sections:
  • Section 2. Live-ball/Dead-ball (the Details details )
  • Section 5. Catching (the Details details )
  • Section 6. Returning a Player into the Game
  • Section 9. Ball Retrievers

New to Dodgeball Ottawa? Here are some rules that you may not be used to:

  1. A ball must be thrown by the team who has the “advantage”. The team with “advantage” will have 10 seconds to throw a ball. Once the ball is thrown, the “count” resets. (see section 7, flow of the game)
    • 1st Advantage is whichever team has more balls on their side of the court
    • 2nd Advantage is whichever team has more players on the court
    • 3rd Advantage is whichever team is considered on the “home side”
  2. You can hold multiple balls at once.This applies to catching when holding a ball; the catch is valid and the thrower is still out.
  3. To re-enter the game after a catch has been made, the returning player must re-enter the court from the back-line (see section 6, returning a player to the game)
  4. Head shots: a thrower will not be considered out for a hitting a player in the head. Throwers are to do their best to keep the balls low. (see section 4, head shots).
  5. We have court boundaries, you may not step off the court (cross the sidelines, back line or centre-line).
  6. There are certain scenarios where we play no-blocking (1v1, time limits). See section 7 for details

Referee (Monitor)

Each game will have two referees (Refs). The Refs will be two players from other teams in the league. The Refs are present to oversee the game, ensure rules are being followed and that the game is being played in a fair, sporting and rapid fashion. The Ref has full authority to enforce all rules, including calling players out at his/her discretion. When disputes arise, the ref will make the deciding call. The Ref may stop game play to settle disputes.

It is important to remember that it remains the player’s responsibility to remove him/herself from the court when hit or caught out, and to follow all the rules.

If a player is exhibiting unsportsmanlike behaviour (e.g., being rude to players or the Ref, disregarding the rules of the game), the Ref will inform the league administrator which may result in expulsion from a game, match or the league.

The league administrator reserve the right to change or adjust any rule without prior notice, at any point during the league, if necessary.

Game Rules

GAME OVERVIEW & Players

  • Each game begins with 6 players per team on the court, with a minimum of two male and two female players per team. Our leagues are co-ed.
  • Games will consist of two 25 minute half’s, for a total time of 50 minutes. The game clock does not stop between half’s. The game clock should only stop during time-outs (see section 9) or if the ref deems necessary to handle a special situation.
    • At the end of each half, teams will switch sides of the court.
    • If there is less than 30 seconds left in that half, a new game will not start (switch sides or game ends).
    • If players are left on the court when time ends at either half, it will result in “no blocking” (see section 7).
  • 6 dodgeballs are used for each game.
  • All 6 dodgeballs will start on the center line. Teams will run for the 3 dodgeballs placed on the right hand side of their side of the court. Balls must pass the blue clearing line before the ball is considered live.
    • Balls thrown before they cross the clearing line are considered “dead balls”
    • Teams must only run for the balls on the right side of their court. They cannot interfere with the other team’s balls.
    • If your team clears all 3 balls, you then can take the balls on the left side. But all 3 balls on the right MUST be cleared before this is allowed.
  • Games begin with all players touching the back wall of their side of the gym. Refs will signal both teams as “ready” and then blow the whistle to initiate the rush.
  • Once play has begun, teams must remain on their half of the court.
    • Players may reach across the centre-line to retrieve a ball, but may not touch any surface on the opposing team’s side of the court (i.e. ground, wall or gym apparatus). If a player touches any surface on the opposing team’s side of the court that player is immediately out.
    • A player may not use or make use of an object or aid (such as a ball, scoreboard or dead player) placed on their opponent’s side of the middle line to retrieve a ball.
  • Once a player has been hit or caught out they should immediately raise their hand and move to the side of the court, out of play.
  • *NEW* Players who are not playing or have been eliminated may stop balls that roll out of bounds. Balls must immediately be tapped, rolled or directed onto the court.
    • Non-active players may not hold onto balls or keep balls in the out of bounds area of the court. Balls must immediately be directed onto the court.
    • Non-active players may not interfere with balls on the court
    • Any violation of these guidelines will result in the ball being rolled to the opposing team.
  • Players may pass balls to team-mates as long as they are “live” players on the court.
  • Players may not kick balls at the opposing team.
  • To win a game one team must eliminate all the players on the opposing team.
  • Game wins and losses are tracked by the Refs. The team with the most wins at the end, wins the match. There is a maximum plus/minus score of +11 in one game.

Details, details…

Only the 6 players that begin a game may play for that game. An exception can be made if a player is injured; In which case a team-mate can replace the player, male for male, female for female.

2. Live-ball/Dead-ball

A live-ball can eliminate a player, either by making a hit or by being caught. A dead-ball cannot eliminate a player.

  • A ball is considered live when it is thrown by an opposing player. A ball continues to be live after it hits a player, a ball in the possession of a player, or a live ball.
  • A live ball becomes dead when it strikes any object on the court other than an active player, a ball in the possession of a player, or a live-ball. (i.e. a ball is dead when it hits the wall, ceiling, basketball hoops, any other apparatus in the gym, a dead-ball or inactive players/spectators)
  • If a ball is thrown by a player who has stepped over the centre-line, that ball is immediately considered a dead-ball and cannot eliminate a player on the opposing team.
  • Players may hold multiple balls at once. (Beware that a ball knocked out of your possession by a live-ball counts as a hit)
  • Players in the possession of a ball may use that ball to block. Live balls that hit only the ball in possession will not eliminate that player, and the ball continues to be live.
    • Please keep in mind that if the live-ball strikes a player’s fingers, the player is out
    • Also, if a player blocks a live-ball into him/herself, that player is out

Details, details…

A ball becomes dead if it crosses the centre-line, returning to the team that threw it (i.e. a player cannot rescue an opponent by catching a ball that ricochets across the centre-line, nor can an opponent be hit out by such a ball. The ball is dead once it returns across the centre line.)

  • The only exception to this is if the ball hits a player as they may catch their own deflection (pop-up) by reaching over the centre-line (as long as they do not touch the other side of the court).

3. Hits

  • A player is out if they have been hit with a live-ball.
  • A live-ball can eliminate multiple players (i.e. if a ball ricochets off of a player into another team-mate, both players are out).
  • If a player uses a ball in their possession to deflect a live-ball into a team-mate, the team-mate has been hit out.
  • A player’s clothing is considered part of that player. If their clothing is hit then the player is out.

Details, details…

HEAD-SHOTS:

Avoid head-shots! Players that are deliberately targeting heads will be considered in breach of the spirit of the game and may be addressed by the league administrator. Please keep the spirit of the game in mind.

However, please keep in mind that the objective of the game is to hit people with a foam ball. Accidents happen, you will get hit in the head, it is a reality of the game. It is the intentional targeting of the head that we are trying to avoid, and will not be tolerated. Refs have the right to provide warnings to players who violate this rule and can call a player out if it is not brought under control after these warnings.

As this is a competitive league, head-shots are legal throws. Players hit in the head are out.

4. Blocking

  • Players in the possession of a ball may use that ball to block. Live balls that hit only the ball in possession will not eliminate that player, and the ball continues to be live.
  • Please keep in mind that if the live-ball strikes a player’s fingers, the player is out.
  • If a player blocks a live-ball into him/herself, that player is out.
  • If a player has a ball knocked from their possession by a live-ball, that player is out (called a “disarm”).
  • Note that these rules are overridden during “no blocking” scenarios. See Section 7. Flow of Game for details regarding no blocking

Details, details…

Players may hold and block with multiple balls at once, however beware that any ball knocked out of your possession by a live-ball counts as a hit.

5. Catching

  • If a player catches a ball thrown by an opposing player, the thrower is out and a player from the catcher’s team is returned back to play.
  • If a live-ball hits a player, then a team-mate catches it, the player is considered saved (not out) and the catch is valid (thrower out, player returns). The ball must be live for the catch to be valid, (see section 2, live-ball/dead-ball).

Details, details…

  • To make a valid catch player must have control of the ball and have two points of contact with the ground inside the court (e.g. two feet, two butt cheeks). If a momentum carries a player outside of the court while they are making a catch, they must have had both control of the ball and two points of contact within bounds before crossing a line for the catch to be valid.
  • If a player catches an opponent’s ball while in possession of another ball, the catch is valid and the thrower is still out.
    • Recall, that if a live ball knocks any ball in possession out of a player’s hands, the player is out. So if while attempting to catch a ball, either ball is dropped, the player is out.
  • If a player traps a ball against a surface such as the ground or wall, the throw is not considered a legal catch and the thrower is not out. Please note, if the ball touched the player prior to touching the wall or floor, the player is out.
  • If a dead-ball is thrown and caught, it is not considered a legal catch and no player may return to play (see section 2, live ball/dead ball).
  • Players may reach over the centre-line to make a catch (i.e. a pop-up) as long as they do not touch the other side of the court

6. Returning a Player into the Game

  • When a catch is made, the players must return to the court in the same order that they were hit out, (first player out, first player in, second player out, second player in. *hint, line up in order on the sidelines help keep this straight).
  • To re-enter the game, a returning player must either re-enter the court from the back-line and have both feet touch the court floor (open court) or touch the back wall (closed court) before they are considered active.

Details, details…

  • If a returning player is hit by a ball prior becoming active (i.e. 2 feet in the court) they are not out, and this ball is considered dead.
  • If a player accidentally enters from the sidelines, they will be asked to leave the court and re-enter from the back-line. They are not active until they enter the court properly (cannot be hit out, cannot throw). They may not interfere with the game (e.g. block another player on the court or prevent them from being hit by a thrown ball), and may be called out if they are actively interfering with the game.
  • If a returning player enters the court incorrectly and picks up a ball, that ball shall be given to the opposite team.
  • A returning player should attempt enter as quickly as possible in order to limit interference and to speed the flow of the game. A player returning to play may not interfere with game play, balls, etc until they come in the from the back and become and active player.

7. Flow of Game

Dodgeball is meant to be a fast-paced sport. The following rules are meant to keep the pace of the game moving.

  • At least one ball must be thrown by the team who has the “advantage” within 10 seconds of gaining advantage. Once at least one ball has been thrown, the count resets. The advantage may still belong to the throwing team, if that team still meets the criteria for having advantage.
    • 1stAdvantage – whichever team has more balls on their side of the court
    • 2ndAdvantage – whichever team has more players on the court
    • 3rdAdvantage – whichever team is playing on the home side of the court (league administrators or Refs will indicate which side is home side)
  • Players cannot hide in weird corners or behind apparatus in the gym.
  • When the game comes down to a 1v1, the ref will quickly stop the game and call no blocking. Players are to start at the back wall and each side will get 3 balls (regardless of previous possession)
  • At half time and at the end of the game (25 minute mark and 50 minute mark), refs will call no blocking by stopping the game. The live players on the court will go to the wall and each side will get 3 balls (regardless of previous possession)
    Note: No blocking only begins once the ref stops the play and calls no blocking. If a quick play occurs before the ref can call no blocking. The play will count!
  • During no-blocking play, any ball in the possession of a player is considered part of that player.
  • If a player blocks a live ball into the ground with a held ball, the player is out. If a player blocks a live ball into the air and they or a teammate catches it, the catch is good and that player is not out.

Details, details…

PLAYOFFS ONLY – Overtime and settling ties: If a match is tied and there are 30 seconds or less on the clock, a final point will be played with no-blocking rules. Teams will start the match with three balls in their possession (no opening rush).

If a no blocking game at the end of 50 minutes results in a tie, overtime rules will be in effect. This means that a new game will be played using normal rules. Teams have 4 minutes to complete the game using regular rules. If the point is not completed after 4 minutes have elapsed, the point will go to no blocking.

8. Time-outs

Each team has the right to call one time-out per match. Time-outs are to be used to calm down your team, talk strategy, etc.

  • Time-outs are 60 seconds long, and must be called between points (never during a point).
  • Time-outs stop the game clock and cannot be used to run the game clock in any circumstance.
  • Time outs should be called by the team captain.

9. Ball Retrieval

  • Any person outside of the court may retrieve balls that have left the court (eliminated players, alternate players, spectators).
  • Balls must be returned to the court as quickly as is reasonably possible. Retrievers may pass balls to active players or place balls on the court. Retrievers may not hold onto balls on the sidelines.
  • Balls must be returned to the same side of the court they were picked up on.
  • Retrievers may not interfere with game play in any way. Retrievers may not touch or interfere with any balls inside the court. Reaching in bounds will result in the ball being awarded to the opposing team. If a Ref finds that an action of a retriever has interfered with the game the Ref may take appropriate action including awarding balls to the other team.

Details, details…

  • Retrievers must make every effort to return the balls to the court as quickly as possible. Retrievers may first look to pass a ball directly to a player. If they decide that does not make sense in the moment they may take a moment to place the ball on the court in a deliberate / strategic manner. However retrievers may not actively stall and must be seen to be making every reasonable effort to return the ball to the court.
  • There’s no set limit to the number of retrievers a team may have.
  • If there are no retrievers around to help, an active player may leave the court to retrieve a ball.
    • The player must leave the court from the back line
    • Only one active player from a team may leave the court to retrieve a ball at any given time.
    • A player may not linger out of bounds. They must make every attempt to retrieve the ball(s) and return in-bounds as quickly as possible.
    • The player may be eliminated at any time while they are out of bounds (i.e. they can be hit out).
    • Nothing a player does while out of bounds can eliminate an opponent. If they make a catch, it’s a dead ball, no one is eliminated. They may not throw a ball at their opponents – if a player attempts this they are out.
    • A player may make every attempt to protect themselves. They may block while holding a ball, dodge, etc.

If a player out of bounds is hit, that ball cannot be caught by or eliminate any player in bounds (e.g. a player hit out of bounds may not be saved by a player in-bounds).

10. Sportsmanship and Safety

Dodgeball Ottawa wants everyone to feel welcomed and safe. We will not tolerate any form of excessive behaviour, bullying, threats, personal violence, or physical confrontation. Any person found violating this will be ejected from the league. If a physical confrontation were to occur, both parties will be ejected from the league with no refund by the league administrator. Players may also be ejected from the league with no refund if there are repeated incidents, complaints, or yellow card and/or red card offenses. Each player has agreed to the Code of Conduct as per the yearly Waiver. Download the Dodgeball Ottawa – Code of Conduct.

The league administrators reserves the right to address issues as they see fit, either during or after a game where an offense occurs, regardless of whether a card was issued at the time.

We understand that when adrenaline is pumping it is easy to overreact. Please refrain from yelling at the opposing team or your own. If an issue occurs please speak to the Ref.

Examples of Yellow Card Offenses Examples of Red Card Offenses
  • Yelling/screaming at the ref
  • Yelling/screaming at the other team
  • Yelling/screaming at your teammates
  • Creating a hostile environment
  • Punching or kicking objects (walls, chairs, etc.)
  • Crossing the center line to aggressively yell/scream at other team
  • Aggressively arguing with the referee
Yellow Card Consequences Red Card Consequences

1st: you are out for current point*

2nd: you are out for current point and the next point. Your team must play a player down while you are out

3rd: red card

**if you are already out or sitting when incident occurs, you cannot be caught back in and must sit the next point

You are out for the current match and the next scheduled match (teams may find a sub)