What is Dodgeball?

How to play


Most of us had never played Dodgeball before coming to Uni so don’t worry if you have no idea what exactly is involved.

The best way to learn how to play dodgeball is to PLAY DODGEBALL!

The basics are: throw balls to try to hit the other team and don’t get hit by the balls that the other team are throwing at you.

But if you want an idea of the game before coming to a training session, scroll down for a brief introduction to the rules!

The basics of Dodgeball

The Rules

  • The ball is “live” once it’s been thrown and before it touches the floor or walls
  • If a live ball hits you, you’re out
    • Yes, even if it bounces off someone else or another ball
  • If you catch a live ball, you’re still in, the person who threw that ball is out and someone from your team can come also back in
  • You can block a ball with another ball in your hands (knock incoming ball away with the ball you’re holding)
  • If you step off court (or on the lines), you’re out
The rules that are in place when we’re playing a ‘serious’ game

The Game

  • A match contains 2 halves which either take 8 or 15 minutes.
  • Each half is made up of a series of sets.
  • A set ends after 3 minutes or when all players from a team are out
  • Each team consists of 6 players who line up on the back line at the start of a set
  • There are 5 balls on court (all lined up along the centre line at the start of a set)
  • Each set begins with players running for the balls. Each team can only run for the 3 balls on their left which means that it’s a race for the middle ball! During this “opening rush” players may not step into the opposing teams half
  • After the opening rush, players may step up to the edge of the neutral zone which overlaps into the other teams half
  • If a team has the majority of the balls for too long, the referee will call “Play Ball” and say a number, at which point that team has to throw at least that number of balls within the next 5 seconds
The basic tactics we use when playing competitively

The Tactics

  • Throw as a team – it’s harder to dodge multiple balls than it is to dodge just 1!
  • Calling:
    • The person on the left (the caller) usually calls (at least for our club). They decide who/where to aim for and then tells the rest of the team so that everyone throws at the same person
    • Usually, the caller will pick a player to “hold” a ball (not throw it) so that the team still has 1 ball in their possession after this play
  • Countering:
    • After a team has thrown, they will backtrack towards the back of court. This gives your team time to “counter” them (run up and throw the balls you have at one of the player’s who have just thrown). The theory here is that it’s much more difficult to dodge whilst moving backwards.
    • The countering strategy will usually be decided by the caller as the other team starts their run up


If you’re still a bit confused, don’t worry! It took us several weeks to get our heads around the game.

It’s not as complicated as it may seem (promise)! Just come along to one of our training sessions and we’ll teach you everything you need to know. We start with the basics and gradually add in rules so you don’t need to know everything the first time you step on court.