Competitive League Rules

The Good, the Bad, and the Rubbery

As players in the competitive league, you're the folk that have played this game enough to know what's up.  Or you're gonna catch up real fast if you haven't (don't worry, everyone's gonna help you out if you're new!)   There's a lot of great players all around the city, and tons more all around the country - and world - playing tournaments against each other as this sport grows.  So consider this the Top Gun academy of NYC.  Except in this version, Goose lives.

  • As such, in that spirit: this will be overseen largely in a tournament format.  Which means the players will be doing the refereeing.
  • As such, in that spirit: you'll get more playing time!
  • As such, in that spirit: the rules will be a modified version of Elite Dodgeball rules (the current prevailing standard bearer of national tournaments) - modified for our space, time constraints, and the requirements a weekly league open to the public demands that once-every-few-months tournaments don't necessitate

Season Overview
Over the course of 6 weeks, you'll play two 20-minute league matches (as opposed to 15-minute for League Classic) every game night, Your score after 6 weeks will determine your team's seeding for week 7, the playoffs, which everyone makes!  Each night there is also optional extra court time with Open Gym Pickup Games before league games, and a 15 minute All-Gym game scheduled in the middle of each league night.  On top of your scheduled games, your team will also be scheduled to referee some nights.

Dodgeball has a culture of honesty.  And you guys wouldn't be in the Competitive League if you hadn't already bought into that.  So the refereeing will be pretty straightforward because everyone knows what's up and everyone's honest to even be here.  If you think someone's a cheater doofus, let the Game Manager know.  We'll be on that shiz.  Because we don't want that person around in the high level league here either with you guys.  You'll be playing each other a lot over the course of the season, and you all know what competition can bring out in people. So let's make sure we keep playing hard as the MO, not playing angry/being an asshole/taunting.  You're the ambassadors of this sport in the city as the best players out there!  And we want more and more wanting to come play at this high level with you guys as the face of how awesome it is!



  • Each night is divided in half by a 15 minute All Gym game in the middle of the night.  If your team's matches are all on one side of that break, a couple times a season, you'll be assigned to referee the other half.
  • Your entire team does not have to ref.  You need 4 players to be present to referee
    • 2 of you will referee, one on either side of the middle line in the referee boxes
    • 1 of you will stand next to the ref by the wall as the Flagger.  You will call out the 5 second countdown when a game is slow and raise the flag to the team that has to throw.  See the BURDEN section below.  Remember each match is 20 minutes, so adjust your count accordingly
    • 1 of you will keep score and feel important with a clipboard and report to the League Manager and help where needed.  New ref feels more comfortable with a 3rd set of eyes?  Stand up on the stage and be that pair of eyes.  Flagger needs some help shouting so everyone can hear.  Be that shouter.
    • At least 1 woman as part of the 4.  Down with the patriarchy,
    • We will have (cleaned!) whistles every week and pinnies to wear
    • You can rotate jobs or which players on your team are reffing however you want
  • The League Manager will be there overseeing.  Don't worry like you're being thrown to the wolves!
  • Players are encouraged to come to Open Gym on the first night where we'll have a quick crash course.  But if you can't make it, you'll pick up...but definitely better if you can make it!
  • Failing to provide enough refs will result in game forfeits for your team.  It's only 40% of you after all!
  • Any exhibited douchery as a player may bar you from reffing.  I mean, people disrespecting a position shouldn't get to BE that position.  Your team will also forfeit points for aforementioned bag of douche.



  • Teams all have between 6-7 men and 3-4 women each
  • Many of you chose your own teams by signing up entirely as a group of 10 together
  • For the remainder of that signed up solo or listing a buddy or two, we've attempted to craft teams as evenly as possible within those gender restraints.


  • If you have at least 4 players, but less than a full 6 show up, you can grab a sub from another team in the league or you can bring a friend
  • The opposing captain can give the yay or nay to your choice.  So you know, you're not just unfairly picking a ringer ever time.  It's their call if you might need to pick someone else!
  • When subs get out, they come back in last (as the gender caps of maximum 4 men and minimum 2 women on the court allow)


  • Each match will be the best of 3 games with your team
  • Before matches, everyone meets in the middle and introduces themselves to each other with a handshake
  • Each game won is worth 5 points.
  • If there's time left after 3 games, the losing team has the choice to either play a 4th game (doesn't count for points - match is officially over!) or play a Mixed Team Game
  • After 4 games, if there's STILL time, the rest of the time will be played out in Mixed Team Games
  • Mixed Team Games are a scrimmage where half the players on each side swap.  Also, EVERYONE plays, not just 6 vs 6.  This way everyone plays more, AND you get to beat up your buddies, which is good times.

The Court

  • The court has one center line
  •  The boundaries will be strictly enforced.
    • Once the player has crossed even a centimeter past the line, he is considered out
    • There is only one exception listed below in the CATCH section below

Opening Rush

  • The Referee will signal one team, then the other, and blow the whistle.
  •   For the rush, players must have both feet behind the line to start
    • Their hands may not touch the inside of the court.
  •   The balls will be placed in the middle of the court with three on the left and three on the right.
  • Once players have retrieved their balls, they must bring them to their back line before throwing them.
  •   If a player throws his ball before his feet clear the attack line, the thrower is automatically out.
    • If a ball that hasn't been cleared gets thrown, and gets caught, the catch counts

Burden – Who HAS to throw

  •  A 5 second countdown will be enforced at the refs discretion when balls are all present on the court to keep the play moving.
    • At the end of 5 seconds, the team that did not give up the burden across the center line will forfeit the balls on its side.
  • The burden will be decided by the number of balls.
    • Each court will have six balls, one of which will be a different color.
    • In any instance of both teams having three balls, the team with the different colored ball has the burden to throw.
    • If a team has six balls, its players must throw three to clear themselves of the burden. If a team has five balls, its players must throw two, etc.
    • Players may not place a ball on the other side of the attack line.  You have to make an attempt at somebody
  • On referee's discretion if we're running out of time in your alloted slot for games, they may call "No Blocking"
    • o Blocking means you are no longer allowed to use a ball as a blocker to deflect throws away from you.  If you do, you are out.


  •  No pinching (when you curl your fingers into the ball digging into it) when blocking or throwing
    • Pinching is considered an out after one warning.
  • The ball is dead if it hits the floor, ceiling, or wall.
  • When balls collide from opposing sides in the air, both are considered dead.


  • A successful suicide is the act of jumping into an opponent's zone, not stepping over the middle line before the jump, and hitting an opposing player with a LIVE, thrown ball before landing.
    • This results in the opposing player as out and the suicider as active.
    • The suicider must make his way back to his team's side to be completely active.
  • If a suicider misses a throw, the suicider is out.
    • If a suicider is holding two balls, both must be thrown and both must hit two different opponents in order to be successful.
    • If an opposing player catches a suicider’s LIVE thrown ball, the catching rule still applies.
  • If a player makes a successful suicide, but then steps out of bounds, the suicider is out.
    • If a suicider misses and causes an opposing player to step out of bounds without making contact, both players are out.
    • A suicider may not touch ANY ball in in his opponent's zone after a successful suicide.
    • Players may hit a suicider at any time until he is deemed out.
    • If a player successfully suicides and then catches a LIVE, thrown ball while still in his opponent's zone, the suicider is OUT as his feet must be inbounds for the catch to count.
  • Players that suicide are still considered an active player, which means ricochet catches are still valid.
    • If a suicider is in midair, gets hit, the ball ricochets and a teammate catches it, the catch is valid.
    • The suicider cannot be saved if the suicide is unsuccessful.


  • A catch is considered a ball held under control with two feet inbounds.
  •   If a catch is made between the legs, it only counts once the person has grabbed the ball with at least one hand to establish control.
  •    If a player jumps in the air and catches a ball and lands with one foot out of bounds, the catch is no good and the catcher is out.
    • The player must have control of the ball with two feet inbounds for the catch to count.
  •   The boundaries are strictly enforced.
    • The only exception is an NFL-style catch where a catch is made with two feet completely in bounds, but the momentum of the catch carries the player out of bounds.
    • The catching player is safe, the catch is good, and that player must immediately return to the court.
    • The player is live at all times and can be hit while out of bounds.
    • To clarify, the only time that a player can touch out of bounds is in the event of a completed catch with both feet in bounds.
  •  You do not have to save yourself off of deflections.
    •  If teammate A is hit, teammate B can catch the ball.
    • The result is the thrower is out, teammate A is safe, and the first person in the out line is allowed to come in play.
  • A blocked ball can be caught by the opposing team for an out.
    •  If a throw is deflected by a ball across the centerline of the court, it can be caught for an out.
    • The thrower is safe and the deflecting player is out.


  •  When a player is hit, he must make his way to the queue as quickly as possible.
    •  Players MUST exit as quickly as they can out of the back of the court so as to not interfere with the gameplay.
    •  If a player that is out touches or deflects a ball, that ball is awarded to the other team.
    • Players may pass a ball that was in their possession to their teammates.
  • Clothing also counts as an out.
  •  If a player is using a ball to block and the ball is knocked out of his hands, the blocker is out.
  •    If a ball deflects off the ball and still hits the blocking player, it is an out.
  •  Traps are considered out.
    •  A trap is when the ball hits the floor and the player at the same time.
  •  A caught ball off a deflection results in the thrower being out.
  •  Players in the out queue must stay in the order that they were out.
  • When out, as long as both feet remain behind the line, players can bat balls back to their teammates from their back line up to the referee box


Rotating In

  • Everyone plays the same amount.  If you started sitting out one game, you are definitely starting the next game.
  • You don't just get to pick your best players to come in on a catch, you have to keep in line.  This is a fun game!  You know what's not fun - not getting to play.  If you're the type that wants the best in all the time to compete - well you should have joined the competitive league eh?
  • Everyone is eligible in every game.  It's not like you can say "these 6 are playing this game, a different 6 play next game".  EVERYONE is in the game to rotate in from the sidelines as catches warrant.


High Throws/Head Shots

  • Head shots are shitty.  Avoid them.  This is a weekly fun gotta have your nose and brain forever.  However, it's dodgeball, and high level dodgeball
  • There are no warnings for high throws.  Any height throw, as a matter of strategy, is not penalized.  Only when someone's actually hit in the face is there a penalty.
  • If a player is HIT in the head on a high throw, the thrower is out.  Head safety!  (Head shots may make sense once every couple months at national tournaments with the best each city has to offer - but not on a weekly basis with a league open to all.)
  • A player hit in the face while ducking?  The player who got hit is out.  Not like the thrower threw high at all - it's just unfortunate timing.
  • A player who simply puts their hands in front of their face out of self defense so the throw hits their hands at head level?  Yes, that’s still head shot.  We’re not going to penalize people like “sorry, you should have let it hit you in the face if you wanted the call.”
  • On a head shot – regardless of the call – play stops and the thrower goes over and high fives/hugs it out.  Be cool Honey Bunny.  Be cool.
  • This is a SUBJECTIVE call by the refs - and you'll be in the same position yourself as ref at some point - if the player was ducking ot not.  It is not arguable.  It’s an opinion.  And you better bet we err on the side of not-mashing-a-face.  If you’re arguing that your throw wasn’t high after you hit someone in the face? …Well that’s pretty uncool that your first concern is the call as opposed to a human’s face eh?  Go have an ice cream and reexamine your priorities
  • Yes, it becomes a grey area when a throw is around the shoulders - and the refs may or may not determine that a head shot.  Don’t wanna get called for these grey area calls?  Don’t put yourself in that position to HAVE them called: throw low!