NYC Social Dodgeball Rules
- Remember, this is a social League. Keep a relaxed attitude, meet some new people, and have a good time.
- There should be equal playing time for all Players, regardless of gender.
- You always need your T-Shirts. They are our only way of identifying you and not wearing them will affect your standings!
- Please treat our referees with respect.
- Referees will be judging your Sportsmanship; it’s best to be gracious whether you’re winning or losing.
- Any aggressive behavior will not be tolerated and may result in suspension or expulsion from our Leagues.
- Please be on time. We recommend showing up at least 15 minutes early to avoid any confusion and the chance of forfeiting.
Number of Players
A team consists of a minimum of 10 and maximum of 14 players. Six (6) players play on a court at a time; at least 2 of them must be women (4 men/2 women). If a team has four (4) men and only one (1) woman, they must play with one (1) less player (3 men/1 woman). A team must have at least four (4) players from their roster to start a match.
Substitutions from outside the division are allowed. Substitutions during the playoffs are not permitted.
Game Length and Structure
Each team will play one match each night consisting of 5 games. The team with the most wins will win the match.
Only LIVE balls can eliminate opposing players and only catching LIVE balls result in outs. Balls are LIVE when they are legally thrown.
All balls start games DEAD. Balls become DEAD in 5 ways:
- A LIVE ball that hits anything other than an opposing player(s) or any other ball (including but not limited to, the floor, ceiling, wall, referee, a ball from another court, a basketball backboard).
- A LIVE ball that the opponent catches (see Catch rule below)
- A throw is ruled a headshot (see Headshot rule below)
- A Referee pauses the game
- A LIVE ball that leaves the court
Starting the Game: The Opening Rush and False Starts
Before the game, five (5) balls are placed along the center line. Six players (4 men and 2 women) line up with their feet touching the backline. The Referee signals and blows a whistle to start the game; permitting players the opportunity to approach the centerline to retrieve balls.
A false start occurs when a player leaves the backline prior to the Referee’s whistle. If a player commits a false start, his/her team forfeits one ball to their opponent and the opening rush is replayed with the remaining balls. The Referee holds the forfeited ball until the opening rush replay ends and distributes the ball to the opposing team to be cleared.
All balls obtained by players during the opening rush must be “cleared” before they can be legally thrown. To clear balls, players must either throw the ball past the backline to a waiting teammate or carry the ball past the backline. All cleared balls are LIVE and free to be thrown at opponents.
If a player throws a non-cleared ball, the ball is considered DEAD and is forfeited to the opposing team. DEAD balls that hit players do not result in outs, and any player hit by a DEAD or non-cleared ball will remain in the game.
If a player leaves his/her feet (slides) or places two feet across the centerline during the opening rush, he/she will be ruled out.
Simultaneous Possession (Jump Balls)
During the opening rush, if two opposing players both lay equal claim to balls on the centerline, the Referee will call a jump ball to prevent players from wrestling for the balls. The home team (as per the NYC Social schedule) will receive possession of the first jump balls and possession of subsequent jump balls will alternate between teams for the remaining games of the match.
What is a Legal Throw?
A legally thrown ball is a LIVE ball and eligible to eliminate an opponent. A legal throw occurs when a player in bounds throws the ball in the air over the centerline within a 3-foot radius of an opposing player. The throw must be directed below the opposing player’s neck (see Headshot rule below). It is not legal to “pinch the ball” or for a player to spin around in circles prior to releasing the ball (tornado throw).
Rolling the ball to the opposing team is not permitted.
What’s an Out?
Most outs require a LIVE ball to be in play.
Hit by a LIVE Ball
- When a LIVE ball hits a player of the opposing team below the neck, the hit player is out. Note: all clothing is considered part of the body, so if you are wearing a cape for theatrics (encouraged) or a jacket with fringes for rockin’ style and the ball hits your cape or your fringes, you will be called out.
- When a LIVE ball hits a player on the opposing team, deflects off of that player and hits another player on the opposing team and then becomes DEAD by hitting the ground, the wall, the ceiling, or leaves the court boundaries, both hit players are out. Note: If a teammate of the hit player(s) catches the ball before it hits the ground, the wall, the ceiling, or leaves the court boundaries, the hit players are “saved” and the person who threw the ball is out.
Catching a LIVE Ball
- When a player on the opposing team catches a LIVE ball, the player who threw it is out.
- When a player on an opposing team successfully deflects a LIVE ball with DEAD ball in his/her possession and the deflected ball is caught by a teammate before it become DEAD (hits the ground, the wall, the ceiling, another player, or leaves the court boundaries), it is considered a catch and the player who threw the ball is out.
Players may use DEAD balls to deflect LIVE balls.
- If a LIVE thrown ball hits a DEAD ball that is being held by a player, no one is out.
- When a player on an opposing team attempts to deflect a LIVE ball with another ball in his/her possession and loses control of the original ball when the LIVE ball hits it, the player who lost control of the ball used for deflection is out. Note: Players holding onto a DEAD ball for deflection purposes may choose to drop the ball so as to catch the oncoming ball from the opposing team, but this must be a clear drop. In these cases, the catching player is safe and the player who threw the caught ball is out.
- When a player on an opposing team successfully deflects a LIVE ball with another ball in his/her possession and the deflected ball hits a teammate before it becomes DEAD (hits the ground, the wall, the ceiling, another player, or leaves the court boundaries), the teammate who was hit by the deflected ball is out. Note: Be careful of friendly fire! Watch out for where you are sending your deflections.
When a LIVE ball hits or could have hit a player on the opposing team anywhere above the neck, it is considered a “headshot”. Players must be in his/her normal playing position for the headshot rule to apply. The headshot rule does not apply if players dodge a ball or intentionally putting your head in the path of the ball. Referees have the final say whether or not a throw is a headshot or not.
- Any players that throw a headshot, intentional or otherwise, will be considered “out” and the person who was hit will stay in the game.
- If you block a headshot with your hands, you will not be out – but this must be a clearly distinguishable defensive move. We always err on the side of safety, so we’ll lean towards calling headshots even in close calls.
Out of Bounds
- During play, all players must remain in bounds. This is defined as having two feet within the sidelines and one foot behind the centerline. Dodging a ball by stepping out of bounds is not allowed, and the player will be ruled out. Note: Players may leave the boundaries to retrieve stray balls but if you’re hit with a LIVE ball, you’re out.
- A ball thrown from outside the boundary line is considered a DEAD ball. Note: If a DEAD ball thrown from out of bound is caught, the person who threw the ball is out.
- Players that get hit can catch their own deflection outside of the boundary line and stay in the game. This is called “Saving Yourself.” Teammates may not go out of bounds to save a teammate and are limited to catching the deflection inside the boundary line to keep the player in the game.
- No player may go onto the opposing team’s side of the gym to get a ball that has been thrown.
- If a player places two feet across the centerline at any point in the game, he/she will be ruled out.
- Stay on your side of the court during game play. Crossing the centerline is considered an act of aggression by our Staff and, in our organization, is like trying to start a fight. Do it and you get the boot from the building! We like you, so don’t make us turn this car around.
Too Many Players on the Court
When a team has too many players on the court, that team will lose the extra players they have in the game as well as one more player as a penalty.
- Teams in possession of the majority of the balls have 10 seconds to legally throw at least one (1) of the balls across the centerline (See, What is a Legal throw?). Referees start the shot clock the moment they have established which team must throw. If, after 10 seconds, none of the team’s players have legally thrown a ball, all of the players holding balls are out.
- When a team throws a ball, but the Referee rules that the throw was not legal, the shot clock continues. Note: Illegal throws include rolling the ball, throwing the ball away, headshots, etc.
When is it My Turn to Throw?
It’s your turn to throw when…
- Your team possesses more balls than your opponent’s team.
- Both teams have 2 balls, but your team has the most on-court players.*
- Both teams have an equal number of players and balls, you’re required to throw because both teams are required to throw.*
*Balls often leave the courts during play. The above criteria apply when balls are inaccessible for a length of time.
On the Safe Side
- If you are holding a ball when you get hit “out” and retaliate by throwing the ball in your possession at the other team, you will be suspended for the next game of the match.
- Shoulder checking and intentional or unintentional contact of any kind during the opening rush is not allowed and may result immediate ejection from the game without warning.
If you catch a ball thrown by your opponent within the boundary lines, a member of your team who is “out” may return to the game. Note: All players not on the court must stand behind the boundary line in the middle of the gym to wait for the opportunity to cycle in.
Teams have discretion over who cycles in – with these exceptions:
- There may never be more than four (4) men on the court per team
- Substitute players from other teams must cycle in last
- A team loses the right to cycle in if they fail to put a player on the court within ten (10) seconds.
THIS IS A SOCIAL LEAGUE: Have fun and make new friends. The game may or may not go your way, but the beer is still cold and cheap afterwards!