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Dodgeball Rules


There is only one format of Dodgeball under JAM Rules. It is described in its entirety below. This rulebook will cover all Mixed and Open programs. 


JAM is for Everyone – Inclusion Statement

Our program offerings are designed to be inclusive for all members of the JAM community. Our goal is to create a welcoming gender policy that uplifts and supports each player where they are at. To ensure we can offer something for everyone, our programs may be offered in the following formats: Mixed-Gender, Women's, Men's, and Open.

Many of our league rules specify gender-based roster requirements, the goal of which is to ensure that each player has an equal opportunity to be included in gameplay.

Everyone participating in a JAM program is welcome to compete based on their gender identity and gender expression; regardless of their gender assigned at birth. Members whose gender identity does not align with the binary man/woman construct are welcome to play in all our mixed-gender and open programs.

Nonbinary, trans, genderqueer, and all other players who identify as a gender minority can count towards the roster minimums for either men or women in our mixed-gender leagues.


Game Time

All Dodgeball games are approximately 55 minutes in length. Please arrive early to ensure you get the full use of your allotted court time. Regardless of when your game begins your game will always end on time to allow the succeeding games to begin at their scheduled time.

Time Keeping: If you’re playing without an official score clock, the JAM Ambassador on site will be keeping track of time and will determine the end of your game. In this instance, you will receive a warning indicating the final five (5) minutes of your game, a warning to play the final round, and a final signal for the end of your game. Once the final signal occurs your game is over.

Halftimes: There is no stoppage for halftime unless requested by one of the teams. If a half-time is requested, then it must be accommodated by the opposing team.

Changing Sides: If one side of a venue has a potential advantage (i.e. stage at one end, etc.), teams should agree before the game that they will be switching sides at approximately the mid-point of the game (and agree on the time to switch). If a switch requested, then it must be accommodated by the opposing team.



Teams are comprised of six (6) players on the court at a time. A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad by 10 minutes after the official start time.

Roster Numbers: Each team must have a minimum of two (2) men or gender minority player and two (2) women or gender minority player on the court at once.

Defaults: Teams will default a match if they cannot provide a full team 10 minutes after the scheduled start time. A team can play with a minimum of 4 people, as long as the roster minimum is met. 

Exceptions: Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding roster requirements but this should be decided before the game starts. IF IT IS AGREED THAT THE GAME COUNTS, IT COUNTS!

Substitutions: The 6 players that start each game are the ONLY players that can play during that particular game (i.e. for that point). Substitute players must wait until the next game before playing. Teams can alter their roster for each game, as long as the roster requirements are met. Exception: Injured players can be substituted midway during a game if necessary (man or gender minority for men, woman or gender minority for women).


Playing Area

All Dodgeball gyms vary in size and there is no set standard for an JAM Dodgeball surface.

Image result for dodgeball surface


Equipment/Set Up

  • Team captains are responsible for bringing the 2 supplied dodgeballs to each game.
  • Each team should bring both light and dark coloured shirts to each and every game.
  • Players are not permitted to wear gloves.



Teams are required to bring both light and coloured shirts to every game. Team colours are posted on the JAM website in your schedule. If two teams have the same colour the team captains should contact each other to ensure that each team knows what colour to wear.

Defaults: There is no default for players that don’t wear the right colour. However, that player must do everything they can to ensure it’s not confusing for the opposition. Whether this means wearing a pinny, a hat, a teammate’s shirt, etc. Under no circumstances can a player purposely deceive the opposition.


Dodgeball 101

The following outlines the basis of the rules of Dodgeball Programs:


Starting the Game and General Rules:

i. 4 dodgeballs will be used for each game.

ii. To start a game, each team stands on their respective back line. Two dodgeballs should be placed approximately 5 feet back from the centre line on each half court. The point will then be started by shouting "READY, SET, DODGEBALL!"

iii. Once play has started, players must remain on their own side of half.

iv. Players can lean over the half line to retrieve a ball, but the player cannot touch any part of their opponents half of the court. If any part of a player touches their opponents' side of half, that person is out.

v. Players cannot remain static in areas that conceal or partially conceal their body. e.g. door entrance ways, climbers, etc.

vi. A ball is considered "dead" as soon as it hits the floor, walls, ceiling, a headshot or any other obstacles around the court (e.g. basketball hoops, etc.). A player is not eliminated after being hit by a dead ball (i.e. if the ball hits the wall, then hits the player, the player is not eliminated). All other balls are considered "live".

vii. Eliminated players should sit on the opposite side/corner of their team bench (in an effort to clarify who is participating in that particular game). A bench area should be defined (using a bench turned on its side) and this area is out of bounds. Live players may only enter this area to retrieve balls.

viii. Teams are responsible for enforcing rules and ensuring fair play.

ix. Players cannot lean up or jump against the walls in an effort to avoid being hit.


Throwing the Balls and Eliminating Players:

i. Players can only be in possession of ONE ball at any given time. So, a player already in possession of a ball cannot catch/touch another "live" ball. A player that touches two or more "live" balls is eliminated. However, players can block a 2nd ball with a ball that is already in their hands, and "dead" balls that are on the floor are okay to be kicked or rolled to a teammate.

NOTE: Since the player who attempts a 'second catch' is out, the thrower is not out if the ball is indeed caught.

NOTE: Under no circumstances can a player (with or without a ball in their hands) be eliminated by being hit with a "dead" ball.

NOTE: As per above, if a player holding a ball is hit by a second ball, that player is out. However, if a teammate catches the second ball while it is still "live", then the teammate has effectively 'saved' the hit player, the thrower is out, and the team that caught the ball returns a player to the court as usual. (See rules 4vii and 4ix). Also, note that the deflection of this second ball into the hands of a teammate can occur either accidentally (i.e. the hit player was unaware that the second ball was coming) or on purpose (i.e. the hit player purposely tries to deflect the ball into the air for a teammate to catch).

ii. Players can throw a ball in any manner (with the exception of squeezing the air out of the ball) from anywhere on their own side of the court.  NOTE: The ball MUST be thrown to eliminate an opponent.  A player cannot touch an opponent with a ball being held in their hand.  The ball must be released for the throw to count.

iii. UPDATED! (SPRING 2019) A player/team cannot hold a ball in their hands in an effort to "stockpile" the balls on their own side of the court. Players must release a ball within 10 seconds of taking possession (which includes touching with hands and/or feet). The goal is to keep the game moving. Teams that do not throw a ball within this 10-second timeframe will be required to give all balls on their side of the court to the other team. If neither team is making an effort to take possession of a ball, both teams will be required to take possession of the ball at the same time in order to keep playing. The shot clock only begins once the opposing team counts OUT LOUD downwards from 10.

iv. Once in possession of a ball, a player cannot under any circumstances place a ball back down on their own side of the court. By doing so, that player is out. This includes putting a ball down in an attempt to catch on a second incoming ball. If you drop the original ball (by accident or on purpose), you are out. If a player throws a ball and it touches the ground before passing over half, the player who threw the ball is out. 

v. NEW! Players may pass a ball to their teammates. However, if the receiving player does not catch or fumbles the ball - the player who attempted the catch is eliminated. Furthermore, since a team only has 10 seconds to throw the ball, a pass to a teammate does NOT reset the 10-second clock, and the ball must be thrown within 10 seconds from the time the first teammate touched the ball. And, remember that no player can touch two "live" balls at the same time - or they are out. 

NOTE: a ball is "live" once released, so a purposeful pass to a teammate, an accidental release of the ball that might hit a teammate or a throw meant for your opposition that hits your teammate all falls within this rule.

vi. To eliminate an opposing player, a "live" ball must hit the player from the NECK downwards. An opponent that is hit in the head is NOT eliminated but the thrower of the ball is eliminated. This rule applies regardless of whether the player was bending down, lying on the ground, jumping, etc. A head shot is a head shot. NOTE: that the ball's first point of contact is what matters (i.e. if a ball first hits the player in the leg or off a ball being used to block, and then bounces up and hits their head, the player is OUT). Teams may agree to play by a modified version of this rule if both captains agree PRIOR to the game starting. 

NOTE: a player may not purposely use their head to hit the ball. A player that does so is out. Please don't abuse this rule.

vii. If a player catches a "live" ball that is thrown at them, the thrower is OUT. IN ADDITION, the team that caught the ball can return a previously eliminated player to the court. The player that returns to the game MUST be the first player who was ruled "out" during that particular game (and the order of returning players should be maintained...i.e. the third player to be eliminated will be the third player to return to the court). Reminder: substitute players must wait until the next game. A player that is already holding a ball cannot "catch" a second ball (as per Rule 4i)

viii. A player that is holding a ball can use it to deflect/block another ball that is thrown at them by an opponent. However, if the ball being held is dropped due to the second ball, the person who dropped the ball is OUT. A deflected ball is still considered "live" until it hits the ground/wall/obstacle. (i.e. if it hits another player or the player using the ball to block before hitting the ground or wall, the hit player is out).

ix. A live ball that rebounds off of a player (from an unsuccessful catch, hits off their body, is deflected by another ball, etc) may be caught by any other in-bounds player prior to the ball becoming dead (hitting ground or wall). As usual, the thrower is OUT, and the catching team can return a player.

NOTE: When a player is hit by a ball and the deflects upwards, there is the possibility that the original ball will either be caught by a teammate (saving the hit player) or the ball will hit the ground/wall/obstacle (meaning the ball is dead and the hit player is out). In this split second window of time, the hit player may be involved with another ball. Anything that happens between the first ball hitting the ground/wall/obstacle and any other subsequent play with a different ball is a live play. This means the player hit with the first ball can catch another ball or get another player out by throwing a ball and hitting another player before the first ball touches the ground/wall/obstacle.

x. It is the responsibility of all players to make a fair and honest call as to whether or not they were hit. Please remember, "it's just dodgeball". Ultra-competitive players are not welcome.

xi. Every time that only 2 players remain on the court (1 from each team), the timekeeper should announce that the two players have "one-minute" to eliminate each other. After the one minute has expired, if the game has not yet ended, each team will return one player to the court. (again, each team must abide by their order of returning players).

xii. Players cannot purposely kick the ball towards their opponents. Hands-only, please.



  • Matches will consist of as many games that can be played in the 55-minute time period.
  • Each game won will count for one point.
  • If a game is still being played when time expires, the team with the most live players on the court at the time will win the game.
  • Ties are allowed during the regular season. If a match is tied at the end of a playoff game, a 3-minute overtime session will break the tie. (a new game should be started right away with a full 6 players). If this final game is not completed within the 3 minutes, then the team with the most players remaining on the court will be declared the winner.  If, after 3 minutes, there are the same number of players left on both teams, then the team that eliminates the next player wins the game. Please note that playoff games should only be 50 minutes in length in anticipation of needing the extra time to settle a tie.


Regular Season Matches

Games can be tied during the regular season.


Playoffs Eligibility and Tiebreak

There must be a winner in a playoff match. In the event that the match ends in a tie, teams will partake in the following tie-breaker until a winner is determined:

If a match is tied at the end of a playoff game, a 3-minute overtime session will break the tie. (a new game should be started right away with a full 6 players). If this final game is not completed within the 3 minutes, then the team with the most players remaining on the court will be declared the winner. If, after 3 minutes, there are the same number of players left on both teams, then the team that eliminates the next player wins the game. Please note that playoff games should only be 50 minutes in length in anticipation of needing the extra time to settle a tie.


Rough Play

Any rough or physical play will result in immediate expulsion from further league play and may result in a lifetime league expulsion. Please see the JAM General Policy for our official guidelines on this subject. It is recognized that incidental contact between players is inevitable; however, all players should go out of their way to avoid creating an unsafe play.  This rule supersedes all others. 

Please note that on-site staff members have full autonomy when supervising games. Games may be stopped entirely, players may be asked to leave the playing area or be removed from the game entirely under their discretion.



There are absolutely no alcoholic beverages permitted on JAM property. Any offenders will be asked to leave the league without refund. No exceptions.

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