Dodgeball means any game in which players try to hit other players with balls and avoid being hit. There are many such games; see List of dodgeball variations. This article is about a well-known form, also called battleball: a team sport with codified rules that is often played in physical education classes and has been featured in a movie, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. It is typically played in elementary school, but has emerged as a popular middle school, high school and college sport as well. It is also popular in informal settings and is often played on a playground, in a gym, or in organized recreational leagues. There are many variations of the game, but generally the main objective of each team is to eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with thrown balls, catching a ball thrown by a member of the opposing team, or forcing them to move outside the court boundaries when a ball is thrown at them.


Four to ten players start on each team's side of the court, though six players per side is most common. Rules dictate both a minimum number of players needed to start the game and a maximum number of players allowed on the court at any one time. The maximum number of players per side is typically the same as the number starting the game.

After a player is eliminated, he may re-enter the match if another player on his team catches an opponent's thrown ball (provided his team does not already have the maximum amount of players on the court). Players must re-enter the game in the order in which they were eliminated.

Some leagues allow players that have been eliminated to assist their team by directing thrown balls back to the players on the court, while other leagues confine eliminated players to a designated area off the court and prohibit them from participating in the game until they are allowed back on the court.


One to ten dodgeballs can be used in a game, but six dodgeballs are most common. Exceptions are usually made if a court is particularly small or if many people participate.

There is no standard measurement or material for a dodgeball. It can vary in size from that of a softball to that of a soccer ball, and is made out of anything from cloth to hard rubber. However, most dodgeballs are roughly the size of a volleyball and composed of foam with a thin plastic shell. Some leagues allow the use of multiple sizes of dodgeballs in a single match (often with restrictions on whether men or women can throw certain sizes), while others use one standard size for all balls.

Rules of playEdit

Once the game has commenced, players throw balls at members of the opposing team. When a player has been hit by a ball that subsequently becomes "dead" due to hitting the ground or a court obstruction, that player has been eliminated and must move to his team's designated bench area. If a player catches a ball thrown by the opposing team, then the player who threw the ball is eliminated and the team that caught the ball can reinstate one of its eliminated players. A player who moves completely out of bounds when a ball is thrown at him and does not catch that ball is also eliminated.

Players can pick up dead balls and throw them back at the other team. Players are allowed to leave the confines of the court to gather balls, but cannot throw the ball until they are back inside the court. A ball thrown from outside the court cannot eliminate an opponent who is hit, but the thrower can be eliminated if the ball is caught.

Depending on the rules of a particular game, a ball in the possession of a player can be used to block incoming balls thrown by the opposing team.

Once all the players on one team are eliminated, the game is over.


In literature, dodgeball in which smaller or weaker children are forced to play against older and stronger children is sometimes depicted as licensed bullying for the amusement of cruel gym teachers. Other writers retain better memories of it.

In addition, the dangerous nature and associated risks of dodgeball have resulted in controversies, lawsuits, and calls to eliminate the game from school physical education programs.[2]



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