The Cactus Dodgeball Rules are created by the Cactus Dodgeball Committee. Players, coaches and team supporters of all dodgeball teams that are a part of the Cactus Dodgeball should abide by the rules set forth in this rulebook.

The rules are intended to uphold the fun spirit and the integrity of the sport for all participants.  After the end of each season, the Committee will review the Rules, and may institute revisions or changes based on feedback from players, coaches and spectators.

Each team captain is responsible for ensuring that all their players read and fully understand the rules and regulations. In the event that there is any confusion or controversy concerning the rules, the Committee has the right to make a final ruling concerning the matter.

We wish you all a great new season that will be even more fun and exciting than previous seasons! We look forward to the opportunity for all of us to make some new lifelong friends in our dodgeball fraternity.




Player substitutions are only allowed between sets or during time-outs as described in “Time-outs & Substitutions” below. If a team makes a catch, it may only revive players who started in that particular set. Inactive players and supporters may assist in ball retrieval as active players cannot leave the court during the game without being eliminated. See “Ball Retrieval” below.


Teams must spread 37 points over 8 minimum but no less than 10 players. Team must have at least two females. The Salary cap is strictly 37 point, no exceptions will be accepted. New players are considered 1 point no matter their skill level. Point system is set by Cactus Committee members. If there is someone not on the list, please email or message us on FB and we will assign them a point value.


During the regular season teams can bring in subs, Teams must follow the male to female ratio rule. Players interested in subbing in a league match must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be authorized by the league manager.
  2. Must be authorized by the opposing team captain.
  3. Sub is equal or close tier or point value to the player they are subbing for.
  4. Are responsible for knowing the rules.

League managers are responsible for all final rulings on eligibility of subs.

**No subs are allowed during the tournaments unless it was a random draw season and they meet all requirements.


Players determined to be missing in action is defined by not showing up for a total of three weeks can be replaced on the active roster by captains per the league manager's approval. All replacements must be done no later than 2 weeks prior to the tournament and meet the above criteria excluding number 2.

New Players permanently joining the team’s active roster will need to make a prorated payment for league registration to the Cactus Dodgeball in an amount determined by the League Manager before joining the team.  The new permanent team player will not be eligible for end of season tournament unless they have played at least three weeks of the regular season. They will not receive any apparel, benefits or discounts that were offered at the beginning of the season. They will not receive a league t-shirt, but if available, may purchase one through the leagues website. If they choose not to purchase a t-shirt and an exception is made by the league manager, they are required to wear a non-competing leagues t-shirt of similar color to the rest of their team.


In full court games, the court shall be a rectangle 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, divided into two equal sections by a centerline and attack-lines (10 feet from and parallel to the centerline). These are the same dimensions as on volleyball court. Court dimensions for half-court games may vary by venue.


A Match consists of 40 minutes of gameplay divided into halves. The game clock will run continuously during each 20-minute half of game play—the clock does not stop between each set. As long as time remains on the game clock in either half of play, a new set may be started, however, any set in progress when time expires shall go into Sudden Death, whether it is at the end of either half or upon the expiry of extraordinary time allotted for a tie breaking match (see “Sudden Death” below). Teams switch sides of the court after halftime.

The referees shall maintain the official match time and have discretion to stop the clock for any sudden break, injury, etc., or shorten/forego a halftime break in the event the match begins late or if the first half overruns.   There will be no ties at the end of matches, so whichever team wins more sets when the game clock expires will be the winner of the match. In the event that the final set of the match extends beyond regulation time (i.e., it commences before and continues after the clock expires) and the outcome of that set ties the match, a special tie-breaking set will be played (see “Tie Breakers” below)...


The object of the game is to score points by eliminating ALL players on the opposing team by getting them out. This may be done by:

1. Hitting an opposing player with a Live Ball anywhere on their person, including their clothing with such Live Ball subsequently hitting the ground or a Dead Object. A player that has been hit by a Live Ball is not out until that Live Ball touches the ground or hits a Dead Object.


  1. If a Live Ball hits an opposing player and ricochets to strike another opposing player before hitting the ground or a Dead Object, then both players are out.
  2. If a Live Ball is blocked by an opposing player (see “Blocking” below) and strikes another opposing player before hitting the ground or a Dead Object, then that player will be out.
  3. FOR NO-STING GAMES ONLY; If Live Ball hits opposing player in the head and player is not on 3 points of contact ball is constituted as dead, play is then stopped for the safety of the player receiving the headshot, players return to their end lines and ref continues game play.
  4. If a Live Ball is thrown at an opposing player and is blocked or ricocheted back to the throwing team while it is still a Live Ball, catching that Live Ball is not constituted as a catch.
  5. If a Live Ball ricochets off a dead player exiting the court and hits another player, the ball is deemed a Dead Ball and the hit does not count.
  6. Since a player that has been hit by a Live Ball is not out until that Live Ball touches the ground or hits a Dead Object, any action that the player performs following the hit, but before the first ball touches the ground or a Dead Object, shall be deemed as “in play.”

EXAMPLE 1: Two Live Balls are thrown at a player. The first ball hits and bounces in the air while the second ball is caught before the first ball hits the ground. The catch is deemed a good catch, however, the player is still out the instant the first ball hits a dead object.

EXAMPLE 2: Player A throws a ball at Player B, but right before the ball hits Player B, Player B throws a ball at Player A. Both balls thrown are Live Balls and both players are out if Player A got hit by Player B’s ball. Such is called a “double out”.

Example 3: If Players A and B are the last players remaining (i.e., there is a one-on-one) and there is a “double out,” the set shall be awarded to the team whose last player died last, keeping in mind that a player is not out until the ball that hit him/her hits the ground or a Dead Object. If Player A’s ball hit Player B before Player B’s ball hit Player A, but Player B’s ball hits the ground before Player A’s ball, Player A died first and Player B’s team is awarded the set.

Example 4: Player A is hit by a Live Ball which bounces high into the air. Player A throws a ball at Player B while the ball that hit him/her is still in the air (i.e. before it hit the ground or a Dead Object). The ball thrown by Player A is still a Live Ball capable of getting Player B Out.  

  1. A ball must be thrown to kill a player from the opposing team. In other words, the ball has to leave the hand and be airborne to be a Live Ball, so tagging a player with a ball in hand will not result in the opposing player being out.

2. Catching a Live Ball thrown by your opponent before it touches the ground or a Dead Object. The instant a Live Ball is caught, the person who threw the ball is out. To complete a catch, the catching player must have complete control of the ball and be touching the ground inbounds. If both feet are in bounds and player has full possession of the ball, player may fall or step out of bounds and come back in and still be safe, this is considered a Momentum Catch.

In addition, catching a Live Ball will revive ANY player that was eliminated in that set and already out of bounds while catch occurred. A player has 5 seconds to re-enter the court after the catch and it is at referees discretion to either allow or not allow a player back in the game if deemed too much time taken to return. The player that comes back into the court must be one of the original players that started the set. If a player comes back into the court that wasn’t part of the starting line up, then that team will lose the bonus of having a player revived.

NOTE: The revived player must re-enter the court from the endline.


  1. If a Live Ball ricochets off an opposing player and is caught by another opposing player before hitting the ground or a Dead Object, then both opposing players are safe and the player that threw the ball is out.

  1. If a Live Ball that is blocked (see “Blocking” below) is caught before the Live Ball hits the ground or a Dead Object, then the player that threw the ball is out.

  1. If a player trying to catch a Live Ball loses balance and falls out of bounds, walks out of bounds or is hit by a Live Ball which hits the ground or a dead Object before that player has complete control of the Ball, then it is not deemed a catch and that player is out.

  1. If a player throws a ball and is hit and killed before his/her ball is caught by an opposing player, the catch still counts if the ball was still a Live Ball and the opposing team may revive a player. For the purpose of statistics, however, the kill would also count if the kill was completed prior to the catch.

  1. If a revived player does not re-enter the court from the baseline and is hit, that player is still out. The referees, however, have discretion to invalidate throws by revived players who do not re-enter the court from the baseline when doing so created an unfair advantage.

  1. If a player is hit by a ball and steps off the court prior to that ball being caught by a teammate, that player is Out. That player or any other previously eliminated player may be revived by the catch, but only ONE player may return.


Players may use the ball(s) in their hands to block an incoming ball. A successful block is one where the player retains control over the ball that is used to deflect the oncoming ball. If the player drops the ball used to block, the player is deemed out even if the Live Ball did not otherwise hit that player. In instances where a player is using more than one ball to block and in doing so drops one or more balls used to block a Live Ball, the blocking player may still be out even if he/she drops a ball that was not used to block if that ball was dislodged directly or indirectly by the impact of the Live Ball. The referees have the final say on whether a ball was dislodged on account of a block.

Example 1:  Player A is holding three balls, one in each hand and a third trapped between the other two. Player A attempts to block an incoming Live Ball with the ball in his/her right hand, but in doing so drops the third ball that was trapped. Even though the third/middle ball was not apparently hit by the Live Ball, the ball was dropped concurrently with and due to the impact of the Live Ball and Player A is out.

Example 2: Player A is holding three balls when opposing Player B throws a Live Ball. Player A clearly drops one ball before using the other two balls to block Player B’s Live Ball. Since Player A did not drop the ball due to the impact of the Live Ball, Player A is still alive.

Example 3: Player A is holding two balls and uses one ball to block an incoming Live Ball. The ball used to block the Live Ball was held out in front of Player A’s face while Player A dropped the ball he/she was holding at his/her side at the time of impact. Since the dropped ball was not clearly a result of the impact of the Live Ball which was blocked, Player A is still alive.

A blocked or deflected ball is still a Live Ball until it either touches the ground or a Dead Object, so a deflected ball that hits another player may still result in an Out if it hits another player, or considered a catch if it is caught.

SPECIAL NOTE: Blocking is not available in Sudden Death. Balls that are blocked in Sudden Death will be deemed to have hit the person using a ball to block.


Active players must remain within the boundaries, and should an active player step, fall or otherwise touch with any part of his/her body beyond the boundary lines, that player would be deemed as out the instant she/he touches out of bounds.


The forward boundary in a full-court game is the center line for men and the opposing team’s attack line for women.


The forward boundary in a full-court game is the center line for all players.

EXCEPTION: A player may legally step over the centerline only during the opening rush.


  1. A thrown ball released BEFORE a player beyond one of the boundary lines will be deemed as a Live Ball and all action from the ball counts even though the throwing player is out regardless.
  2.  A thrown ball released AFTER a player steps beyond one of the boundary lines will be deemed as a Dead Ball as the player is out the instant he/she stepped on the line.
  3. If a player trying to catch a Live Ball loses balance and falls out of bounds, walks out of bounds or is hit by a Live Ball which hits the ground or a dead Object before that player has complete control of the Ball, then it is not deemed a catch and that player is out.


A game begins by placing 6 dodgeballs along the centerline - 3 on one side of the center hash and 3 on the other.  Players then take a position behind the baseline, with at least 1 foot touching the baseline. The referee prior to blowing the whistle will say “this side ready” looking toward one side of the court and then repeat the same statement looking towards the opposite side of the court.  Following the starting whistle by the referee, players may overstep the centerline to retrieve the balls only during the initial rush.

Teams may only retrieve the 3 balls to the right of the center hash on the opening rush. If a ball(s) is left at the line and not cleared by a team then after 5 seconds it will be deemed as a free ball for any team to grab. Once a ball is retrieved it must be taken behind the attack-line (see “The Court” above) before it can be legally thrown.

The ball and both feet have to travel back behind the attack-line before it is considered a Live Ball. Any ball thrown before the player and it crosses the attack-line is considered a Dead Ball, and would not count towards a kill but if the ball is caught, the catch counts.

NOTE: All players must have at least one foot touching the baseline when the referee blows the whistle at the start of each set. At the discretion of the referees, teams may be penalized for false starting or if they are deemed to have blatantly cheated by not having at least one foot on the baseline. Teams shall receive one warning for false starting per half and any subsequent violation in the same half of play will result in the opposition beginning with the opportunity to begin with 4 balls upon the opening rush rather than 3. Post-match, the Committee may penalize players if there is video evidence of continual cheating on the opening rush.


There is a 10 SECOND shot clock verbally initiated by the referees from the time a team receives the burden. A team is prompted to throw based on the following:

  1. At the beginning of a set, if both teams have an equal number of players and each team has three balls after the opening rush, the team that won the last set is obliged to throw first.
  2. The team with more balls on their side of the court is obliged to throw first. Even if some balls are on the ground outside the boundary, the team is obliged to throw as long as more balls are on their half of the court.
  3. If each team has 3 balls, then the side with more players on court is obliged to throw first.
  4. If both teams have 3 balls, and the number of players on court is equal, then the team that threw last is excused from throwing and it is the opposing team’s turn to throw.
  5. If both teams have the same number of players on the court and Team A has 4 balls and Team B has 2 balls, Team A is obligated to throw 2 balls to relieve the burden. Throwing only 1 ball leaving both teams with the same amount of balls and players still applies the burden to Team A.

Once the referees have indicated who has the burden, the team that is required to do so has 10 SECONDS to relieve the burden. The penalty for not doing so is forfeiture of all balls to the opposing team.


The first team to legally eliminate ALL players from the opposing team will gain 1 point for the set. The team with more points at the end of the full 40 minutes time frame will be deemed the winner of the match.


In the likely event that time expires in either half while a set is still under way, that set will instantly go into “Sudden Death.” All the same rules apply in Sudden Death EXCEPT that BLOCKING IS NOT AVAILABLE. Players using a ball to block a Live Ball will be deemed killed as soon as the blocked ball hits a Dead Object just as though the Live Ball had hit the player’s body. Blocked/deflected Live Balls may still be caught with normal consequences, however. The procedure for sudden death is as follows.

  1. At the buzzer denoting the end of regulation play in either half, the game shall stop. Any Live Balls released prior to the expiration of time in either half shall remain Live Balls (i.e., these balls may still kill players or be caught with the normal consequences until such Live Ball becomes dead), however, any ball thrown after time expires shall be deemed dead.
  2. After the game has been stopped, the referees shall redistribute the balls to the remaining players on each side so that each side has three balls.
  3. Upon the referee’s whistle, Sudden Death commences and runs until one team is completely eliminated (i.e., there is no prescribed time limit).


In the event that the match is tied at the end of regulation play, a special 4-minute tie breaking set shall be played. Tie breaker sets shall commence like a normal set upon the referee’s whistle and the time for the tie breaking set shall be kept on the official game clock. If the set has not been completed as the allotted time expires, the tie breaking set shall go into Sudden Death as described above.


Once a player is deemed to be out, she/he must leave the court in a timely manner from the nearest point of exit. If the player is still HOLDING one or more balls when she/he is out, the player IS ALLOWED to pass those balls onto his/her teammates. If a player is NOT in possession of a ball at the instant when she/he gets out, then that player is NOT ALLOWED to touch any balls that may be on the court. At the discretion of the referees, a team may have a ball stripped from them and given to the opposing side, if an infraction occurs.


Each team will be allowed a single 30-second timeout per match. This time-out can only be used if there is some ruling confusion or if a player on the court is injured. At this time a team may substitute any player to take an injured player’s place, however, the injured player is not allowed to come back into the game for the rest of the half.


Rules will be enforced primarily by the "honor system". Players will be expected to act honestly and rule whether or not a hit was legal or whether they were legally eliminated. While they will at times let you know if you are out, a lack of call by a Referee does not remove your obligation to abide by the Honor System. However, because of the fast-paced nature of the sport, sometimes a player would not feel a ball skim their clothing or hair. There will be up to 4 game-officials, whose responsibility will be to rule on any situation in which teams cannot agree. THE GAME OFFICIALS’ DECISION IS FINAL – NO EXCEPTIONS. Blatant dishonesty or failing to adhere to the officials’ decision may result in penalties either during or after the match upon review.  Referees are provided to rule on unclear plays, settle disputes, keep the game moving and ensure player safety.

Team Captains must be the only players that address concerns to Referees and League Officials during the match. They are expected to do so in a courteous and respectful manner, and to confine their discussions to interpretations of the rules and not challenge Referees' decisions regarding judgment.


Even though the nature of sport of dodgeball is fast-paced and competitive, it is expected that each and every player act with sportsmanship and conduct that upholds the integrity of the game. A blatant case of poor conduct or sportsmanship will result in a player’s expulsion from a match after which his/her team must carry out the rest of the sets in the match one player down.

Behavior constituting misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Misconduct during matches will lead to a YELLOW CARD or a RED CARD for the player.

Yellow cards act as a warning for the player for his/her conduct on court, and the team should be warned that 2 yellow cards for the team and the team will play one player short for the remainder of the match (see example below).

Red cards are for serious misconducts during the match, and may be given without prior warning to the offense. Should a player get a red card during a match, he/she is ejected from the match and the team will continue playing one player short for the rest of the match.  

2 yellow cards to the same player in the same match, equate to a red card, and that player will be ejected from the match. Should a player attain 2 red cards, 2 black cards (see below) or a 1 black and 1 red card for the season, that player would be banned from the season indefinitely.

Post-Game Review for Cheating: With the introduction of the high-definition cameras that record most the matches, players that suspect cheating and dishonesty on the dodgeball court may review the video after the match is posted on YouTube. Should there be clear evidence of wrongdoings and blatant cheating, the player in question may be subjected to a post-game black card. Black cards shall be counted with red cards as described above.

NOTE: Public stats for misconduct (i.e., yellow, red and black cards) may be kept and further noted in league-wide correspondence. Players are also reminded that games are posted on YouTube on an unrestricted basis and that any misconduct during such games may be viewed by the general public. Players should keep this in mind at all times and conduct themselves accordingly.


A team is accountable for the actions of their team supporters, ball retrievers, and spectators.

Off-court Interference

Off-court players, coaches, ball retrievers / helpers, and supporters should not interfere with the match. Interference includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Unnecessarily loud or abrupt sounds and actions aimed to distract
  2. Rude gestures
  3. Verbal insults to players
  4. Physical contact with the other team’s players, supporters
  5. Inactive players entering the court
  6. Providing unfair or undue assistance to active players by supporting active players’ balance inordinately or pushing players off during the opening rush

If a team believes that their opponent or their helpers or supporters are unfairly interfering with the game, such team’s captain may request that the referees issue a warning to the opposing team to discontinue the interfering behavior. If the behavior continues, the interfering team may be subject to penalty, including a YELLOW CARD or RED CARD. The referees shall have discretion as to whether the behavior does amount to interference and as to the appropriate penalty in the event a warning is issued but not heeded.

Ball retrievers / helpers

Ball retrievers should NEVER enter the dodgeball court to retrieve or give balls to a player. This includes ball retrievers reaching on to the court to retrieve a ball from the active playing area or to stop a rolling ball from rolling across the centerline. Ball retrievers entering the active playing area will be considered off-court interference and shall be penalized accordingly. Further, if an inactive player reaches on to the court to prevent a ball from rolling across the center line to the opposing team, that ball must be forfeited to the other team.

Once a dodgeball leaves the court’s boundary lines, a team’s ball retriever can collect the ball and pass it to an on-court player. If a ball passes over the half court line, a ball retriever CANNOT reach or crossover to the other team’s side of the court to retrieve the ball. If a ball retriever retrieves a ball from the other team’s side, that ball must be forfeited to the opposing team.

Note: if unmarked on the court, the half-court line is an imaginary line that splits the court into equal halves - this line extends from the actual on-court half-court line to the out of bounds area. The referees will determine whether a ball helper has crossed this imaginary line if there are no markings that extend out of the court.

If a ball comes to rest ON the half-court line, then either team’s ball retrievers can take the ball. Ball retrievers are advised to act fairly and reasonably to avoid any unnecessary altercations. If there are any disputes, the referees have the final say on which team gets the ball.

Premature End to the Match

There may be rare occasions that the referees need to end the match before the official time has ended.  Such reasons for premature end may include and not limited to the following: safety issues, fire alarm, injuries, electrical and lighting problems, arguments and irreconcilable disputes between players.  The Committee reserves the right to make a decision about the final outcome of the match, as there are no draws in dodgeball. After a review of the case, the Committee may do one of the following:

  1. Award the win to the team that was leading in score before the match came to the premature end.

  1. Award the win to the team that was losing before the match prematurely ended, based on wrongdoing or cheating from the other team. The score will be adjusted according to each and every set infraction that is found.

  1. If the set score is tied at the time the match prematurely ended, the win may be awarded to the team with the most number of players who are still alive in the set. Under this ruling, if both teams have the same number of players who are still alive in the set, then the win will be awarded to the team that won the previous set.

  1. Depending on the amount of time left in the match when it is prematurely ended, it may be decided that the entire match be replayed at a later time, or just the remaining time in the match.  (Would only apply to matches that ended due to unusual circumstances and with more than 20 minutes remaining in the match)


In the event that a team is suspected of cheating and/or in hopes of overturning bad calls that could change the score and outcome of the match, video evidence must be submitted to the Commissioner or directors of the League within 1 (ONE) week of the video being uploaded.

Prerequisite conditions to do video challenges are the following:

  1. There is a one-point difference in the final score of the match;
  2. The challenge will overturn the score and hence the victor of the match; and
  3. The call in question dealt with a set-ending play, i.e., had the correct call been made, it is evident that the opposite team would have won the game and the match.

Example: In a sudden-death game, a player on Team A believes he hit Player X on Team B just after the opening rush, but Player X is not whistled out by the referee and he remains in the game. Team B goes on to win the match with Player X being the last live player on the court. Team A wishes to dispute the call and submits clear video evidence in a timely manner that Player X in fact blatantly cheated. The outcome of the match is still not overturned because even though Player X was the last active player on the court, the disputed call/non-call was not on a set-ending play. Player X may, however, still be penalized for cheating.

When there is a call for total overturn of the score where there was an infraction for more than half the total number of sets in the match, the final score will be changed to 0 – 0 to be fair to the other teams in the divisions.  However, the win for the record goes to the other team.

Example: Team A beats Team B 15 – 5.  However, it was proven that Team A had unapproved players playing for them for all 20 sets played.  Instead of the score being changed to 20 – 0 in favor of Team B (which is unfair to the rest of the teams in the same division), the score will be changed to 0 – 0 with the win in favor of Team B.


Weekly rankings are based on teams’ win/loss records. If any teams’ win/loss record is the same, then ranking will continue based on win percentages based on sets won.  If win percentages also happen to be exactly the same, then the higher ranking goes to the team that has played a greater number of sets in total.

Team standings at the end of the season will be used to determine the tournament eligibility and seeding.