San Francisco: Rules

Official DodgeballSF Rules

The Team

Teams will each put 8 players on the court to start a game. There can never be more than 5 guys on the court at once, but you can have as many girls as you want, so long as there is never more than 8 players on the court at once.  Minimum players for a game is 5, any combination of guys and girls.



8 balls will be put out on each court. These are the balls we will be using,


The Game

The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players by getting them "OUT". This may be done by:

  1. Hitting an opposing player with a LIVE thrown ball below the shoulders (no head shots, although if the player who gets hit is ducking or bent over, they are still out. Only going to punish people who actually throw the ball at head level). A deflection into the head is an out every time no matter what.
  2. Catching a LIVE ball thrown by your opponent before it touches the ground. When this happens a player from your team returns to the game (except if the ball was thrown by a girl and caught by a guy. In this instance the girl who threw the ball is still out, but no one returns to the game on the guy's team. Trying to encourage girls to throw the ball more). If a team has extra players at the start of the game, those players may enter the game at this time as well. Let's say you have 10 people there, that means when a game starts 8 people will be in and 2 will be sitting out. Then someone from your 8 gets eliminated in the game and has to come out. The game continues and then someone on your team catches a ball, meaning you guys get a player back in the game. You could have one of the two people who started the game out, come in at that point.


LIVE: A ball that has been thrown and has not touched the floor/ground, official or other item outside of the playing field (wall, ceiling, basketball hoop, etc). A ball will still be live after hitting another player or after it is blocked using another ball. This means if a player is hit and the ball gets caught before it hits the ground, the player who got hit is still in and the person who threw it is out. If a throw hits one player and then hits another member of the team (or that person drops the ball trying to catch it), both players are out.

Theoretically you could get 4 players out with one throw if the ball somehow managed to bounce off 4 different people. If a throw is blocked and then caught, then the person who threw the ball is out. If a throw is blocked and then it hits another player, then the player who got hit by the deflection after the block is out. If a ball hits another ball that is not in anyone's possession (like another ball in the air that has been thrown or a ball just sitting on the ground), then both balls are dead. Meaning it doesn't matter if either ball hits someone or is caught by someone. The ball is already dead, so nothing happens.


Timing and Winning a Game

The first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner. A 4-minute time limit has been established for each contest. If neither team has been eliminated at the end of the 4 minutes, the team with the greater number of players remaining will be declared the winner. If teams have the same amount of players, then the team who has the next player get out loses.  If a team has less than 5 players, they will forfeit, winning team will receive 7 points.


The Match

Whichever teams wins the most games in the time allotted is the winner.


Neutral Zone Rule

The neutral zone is a 4' by 30' area centered around the centerline. A player may safely step into the neutral zone but not across. Any player crossing over the neutral zone is deemed "out." You can not throw a ball at the other team from the neutral zone. The ref will issue a warning if it happens. After that it will be at the ref's discretion to call a person out for throwing from the neutral zone. A player who gets hit by a ball while in the neutral zone is out. It may be neutral, but it is not safe in there!


Beginning play

Play begins with all players positioned behind their team's endline.


The Rush

  • The Rush occurs at the beginning of each game or reset.
  • Upon the official's signal, both teams rush to center court and attempt to retrieve as many balls as possible.
  • A team may rush with as many or as few players as it wants, but at least one person from each team has to Rush.
  • There is no limit to how many balls an individual player may retrieve.
  • A ball can not be thrown until it has been brought all the way back to the end line. The player who retrieves a ball or balls can either run the balls back to the end line or pass them back to teammates.
  • Players may not slide or dive head first into the neutral zone or they will be called out. If you fall at all, even if it's a slip, you will be called out. Need to keep that rush safe.
  • Players may go for the other team's balls during the initial rush, but even the slightest bit of contact with the other team will lead to the player trying to steal the balls being called out
  • Crossing over the neutral zone will result in an out.
  • Players may not physically grab and pull another player across the neutral zone or prevent them from returning to their side of the court.


Putting a Ball in Play

The player and the ball must go completely behind the attack line. During the Rush, any ball retrieved from the neutral zone must be returned behind the attack line before it may be thrown at an opponent. A ball that hasn't crossed the attack line is considered a dead ball, any hits or catches are voided plays. There are several ways to put a ball into play following a Rush.

  • A player carries the ball across the attack line.
  • A player passes the ball to a teammate who is behind or carries it across the attack line.



  • Players can defend themselves by blocking the ball in flight with another ball but must retain control over the ball they are blocking with. A player dropping or losing possession of the blocking ball is deemed "out."
  • Any blocked ball rebounding off another ball is considered live. Any player hit by the rebounding ball is out and if another player catches the ball after it is blocked then the person who threw the ball is out. If you block a ball partially and it still manages to hit you (even just the slightest skim of your clothes), then you're out.



  • The act of intentionally delaying the game.
  • If a referee determines that a player or team is stalling, the referee will warn player or team. If the stalling continues, at the referees discretion, player or team will lose possession of all balls on their side.
  • If both teams are stalling a reset should occur


Out of Bounds Rule

If any part of the player's body touches the far neutral zone line, the player shall be deemed "out".



There will be two referees provided for each match, but to use an old favorite, no douchebaggery allowed. If you get hit, drop any ball(s) you might be holding and get off the court. The ref has final say on calls. Do not start arguing with the refs. And always remember that we're just a bunch of adults playing a kids game. Just have fun and don't take it too seriously.