League Classic Rules

The good, the bad, and the rubbery


Season Overview
Over the course of 6 weeks, you'll play two league matches 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.

Dodgeball has a culture of honesty.  The refs are there for complicated things and keeping things running smoothly.  But we guard this community really tightly.  Doesn't matter if you're good or not - no one will care.  They WILL care if you develop a reputation for honesty...or a reputation as the guy that never goes out when hit.  If you're the type that when a ball grazes you, and no one's gonna know but you, and you don't go out?  You don't belong here.  Dude.  Don't be 9 years old.  Be a cool kid.  It's kind of that easy for the NYC dodgeball community to like you.  Just give a smile, shake a hand, and don't be a goober and you'll be a star.

  • 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 here either.  

Don't be a dick out there.  A) you're playing a children's playground game as coed adult afterwork rec league.  Settle the poop down.  B) This league is designed that every season teams are different!  WE make the teams.  No cliques, everyone meets everyone else, no douchery. We balance out the skill as best we can - so every team has a chance out there each night.  If winning coed rec league dodgeball or making sure you HAD to have your entire team made yourself was the end all and be all of your day - I worry for you - but more importantly, there's a competitive league for that.  Ultimately, this is a badass fun sport and a great time.  If you got a cannon, cool, just tone it down against people not as good as you, or we'll get mad at you and not let you play.  And if you suck, no one's gonna be upset at you for "letting the team down" or some bullshit, and no one's gonna be crushing you out there.  So the rule is play the velocity down to your opponent's level, mmmkay?  Or succinctly, hey don't be a dick.


  • Every team has 10 players.  6 men and 4 women.  
  • You must have at least 4 be on the court by the time of the start of your match or you forfeit the match.  Considering that's only 40% of your team, you should be golden.

Set Up

  • Before games start, opposing teams meet in the middle and introduce themselves to each other - by name, with a handshake, like a human being.  That's person with a mommy and daddy, not a target.  And you might wanna grab a beer with them later after all!
  • 6 balls lined up in the middle
  • 6 players on each side
  • Minimum 2 women on the court.  Though you can certainly play with more!  Down with the patriarchy! 
  • Extra players wait on the sideline ready to come in during the game


  • 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 best of 3 games
  • When one team's all out?  That's the end of 1 game.
  • Winning team gets 10 points
  • Losing team gets 5 points (because with those damn Millenials and their culture of "everyone gets a trophy", even losers get points!  Ya big losers, you)
  • If a team wins the first 2 games in a row, they've swept, and they've already won the match.  In that case, the 3rd game - now not mattering for any points - is a Mixed Team Game.  It's a scrimmage where half the players switch sides.  This way EVERYONE gets to play, not just 6 vs 6, and now at least half of the losing team gets to win a match (damn Millenials!), and you get to beat up your buddies.  Fun!
  • If matches end early, you still get to play out your remaining time with Mixed Team Games

Opening Rush

  • All players are entirely behind the line
  • Ref will signal both reams "ready?" and blow the start whistle
  • Go get dem balls!
  • Don't jump the gun!  False start will restart the rush.  2nd one a ball is forfeited to the other team.
  • Do not slide for the balls, you will be called out.  Not that we don't like you, but you might crack into somebody running from the other side.  Safety first and all.
  • Balls must be "cleared" - brought back to your end line - before they can be thrown at the other team

Live Balls

  • A ball thrown from in bounds is live until it hits the wall, floor, ceiling, person on the sideline, or hits another ball in mid-air
  • You're out if you get hit by a live ball.  You know, dodge the ball.
  • So that means if a ball hits a ball in my hand and then hits me in the foot?  I'm out.  That ball didn't hit the ground yet.  Same if I block it into a teammate.
  • That means if it hits me, stays in the air and hits another teammate?  We're both out.


  • You can use a ball in your hand to block live balls away from hitting you
  • If a live ball hits your fingers that are holding a blocker ball?  YES, you are out.  Don't be that guy.  Go out.  If you're the type to cheat in dodgeball because you know no one saw it, you're a) a dick and b) not welcome as a part of this.  Dude, bro, my man, come on now.
  • If a live ball thrown at you knocks your blocker out of your hand, you are out.  Like a butterfingers penalty.


  • If you catch a ball with both feet in bounds, the thrower is out
  • AND one of your teammates is back in!  (Up to 6 total players of max 4 men and 2 women)
  • You can catch any live ball - one that came at you directly, one that came off a blocker, or one that came off a teammate and is still in the air
  • If you catch a ball off of a teammate - or off of yourself - before it lands, you saved your teammate/yourself, and the thrower is out.  Ball didn't land yet, so it's still live!  Huzzah!  Exciting stuff!  Enjoy the gym-wide applause!

Getting Out

  • When out, RAISE YOUR HAND so the opposing team knows not to keep throwing at you!  Owwie!
  • You are out when you are out, not when the refs call you out.  You're not waiting for the whistle.  The refs are there for complicated calls.  Don't be a dick.  If you wanna be in with the in crowd of the NYC dodgeball community (and you should want to be, because it's a pretty damn good crew and damn good time) the fastest way to everyone's hearts isn't being good - no one cares - it's that you're honest and a good dude/dudette.
  • You cannot touch other balls on the court as you walk off to bat them back to your teammates
  • You CAN give your teammates any ball that was in your hand when you got out
  • Go to your team's sideline and wait to in line to come back in - keep in an order!

Being Out

  • When you're out, you can move along the sideline from the back end up to the referee box and bat balls along the sidelines back to your teammates
  • You must keep both feet behind the sideline though.  You cannot step over or use your feet to bat balls back.
  • If you step over to bat a ball back that was otherwise clearly going to roll to the other side, the ball is awarded to the other team.  Not that we're mad at ya - just don't want you fudging things up on the court when you're out!

Getting Back In

  • Keep in order of when you got out.  If you're team makes a catch, one player is back in, so you might get back in this game!
  • You have 5 seconds to come back in on a catch.  If you haven't by then, your Mario star wears off.  You're out!  ...Again

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.

Time Constraints/5 Second Countdown

  • This is a fast game.  It ain't chess.  Keep it moving!
  • If it's not moving and you're all being wusses, it's on whatever team has the most balls to throw.
  • If both sides have 3 balls, it's on whatever team has the most players to throw
  • If it's not moving, a Flagger on the sideline will raise a flag to the side who has to throw and count down from 5.  If you don't throw by 0, you forfeit all the balls on your side to the other team.  Throw dem balls!
  • A throw, in the referee's discretion, is when an actual attempt has been made to hit somebody.  You can't just roll it over.
  • If a game just isn't ending, a referee might call "No Blocking" to speed things up.  This means you are no longer allowed to use a ball to block.  If you do, you're out!

High Throws/Head Shots

  • Each TEAM gets 2 high throw warnings per MATCH.  On the 3rd high throw, that player is out.  Womp womp.  We don't wanna hit anyone high.  That's where brains and noses live.  Aim low!  No one means to of course, but shit happens
  • A high throw is a throw that is at neck level or higher - RELATIVE TO THE PLAYER(s) THAT ARE THROWN AT - when that player is in a neutral stance, standing, or jumping.  So yes, if you aim at a taller player’s chest, but you aim poorly and it ends up near a shorter person’s head?  Yep, that’s a high throw.
  • If a player is HIT in the head on a high throw, the thrower is out.  Head safety!
  • A player reaching up to catch a ball above their head?  The player who got hit is out.  It’s not a high throw – they reached for it! 
  • 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 a high throw or 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.”
  • Any hit to the face – 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.  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 high throw.  Don’t wanna get called for these grey area calls?  Don’t put yourself in that position to HAVE them called: throw low!

Out of Bounds

  • BOTH feet out of bounds during a play and the player is out.
  • Touching ANY part of a line during a play is out of bounds.  Sideline, backline, or center line.
  • 1 foot in and 1 foot out is a warning.
  • Each team gets 2 out of bounds warnings per match.  On the 3rd warning, that player’s out.  Womp.
  • Exception: If you catch a ball and momentum takes you out of bounds after the catch, it's not out of bounds.  NFL style.
  • Exception: 1 foot in and 1 foot out when you make a catch is a wash: the catch doesn't count, but it's also not a warning
  • If you throw the ball from out of bounds, it's like a free play for the other team.  It doesn't count for you if it hits them, but it DOES count if they catch it.

Disagreeing with Referees/Other Team

  • Disagreements will happen.  I refer you to the Hey Don't Be a Dick policy - just let it go man.  There are 18 things out there - 6 players on each side and 6 balls.  Things are going to be missed.  Accept that fact and move on and don't tie your happiness to that.  Tie it to running around and fun and sports and beers and meeting people and healthy competition.  Better.
  • You are not allowed to yell out to the other team during games.  It get's all goobery with "Hey, that hit you!" stuff.
  • Only the captain is allowed to talk to the refs during games.  
  • You can discuss a call BETWEEN games WITH your captain present too.  But they're busy reffing.  So it's gotta be 4 seconds.  You can talk to the League Manager more if you'd like.  I'm sure he or she will adore a high level discussion on the finer points of dodgeballery
  • OBJECTIVE CALLS can be discussed (ex: someone got hit and THEN caught a ball and there’s confusion on what order things happened in).  SUBJECTIVE CALLS (high throw, who the ref saw get hit or not, who the ref saw be out of bounds or not) cannot.  
  •  Douchery - be that calling out the other team or arguing with the refs - will result in
         1st – Warning
       2nd – Your team loses 2 points on the match
       3rd – Your team loses 3 points on the match and you sit out the rest of the night
  • We’re not looking to punish people - hey, you may be right about the call even - it’s just we have to have perspective that we all need to put the group’s enjoyment of the night over any individual’s issue or call, ya know?  We appreciate you get enjoyment out of gameplay being fair as you see it, but you need to appreciate there are 179 other people in the gym that would get enjoyment out of moving on and getting to play.  Their enjoyment is as important.  In other words, suck it up Rasheed.


  • Pinching the balls is where you curl your fingers, digging in the ball.  It breaks the balls and is like scuffing a ball in baseball.  Don't do it.
  • Kicking/using your feet.  Don't do that either.