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Happy Hour Dodgeball Rules (PDF)


All players participating and registered in Happy Hour Dodgeball games shall behave in a sportsmanlike manner. Any players behaving in an unsportsmanlike manner shall be ejected from the gym and if deemed necessary suspended from the league. Unsportsmanlike behavior can consist of but is not limited to the following:

1) Any personal attacks or harassment based on gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, and national origin

2) Physical violence or threat of physical violence of any kind

3) Taunting in a manner that is malicious or un-welcome.

Note: Good natured taunting is allowed so long as it does not conflict with rule 1. In the instance where a team is offended by any taunting they shall inform the head referee. The referee shall inform the opposing team’s captain and request that the taunting cease. If the taunting does not cease, the head referee can eject the offending player(s) and award a forfeit, as deemed necessary.

Happy Hour Dodgeball is primarily a social organization with the goal of providing a forum for individuals age 21 and over to meet and interact while participating in a relaxed pseudo-sporty atmosphere. Should any player threaten this goal with their behavior, Happy Hour Dodgeball reserves the right to refuse this player’s continued involvement in the league.


Should inclement weather (in this case snow or freezing rain or ice storms) threaten game play on the day a game is scheduled, all team captains and co-captains shall be notified by 4:30 pm, with the expectation that the captain or co-captain will notify their teammates.

The Happy Hour Dodgeball website will be updated by 4:30 pm to reflect such news as whether games will be cancelled. Please check the Happy Hour Dodgeball weather line (202-415-2843) 90 minutes before game time to learn if games are cancelled.

Game cancellations will be decided by Happy Hour Dodgeball and Champions Field House as whether they will open or not.


Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the Field House. Any team caught breaking this rule will be ejected from the league.


All players shall:

1) Have read and signed the Happy Hour Dodgeball required waiver. Any player that has not signed the waiver shall be prohibited from participating in all games.

2) Be at least 21 years old on the day the season opens.

3) Have health insurance that would cover any potential injury that could occur while playing, watching or refereeing kickball on the day the season opens.

4) Have paid their registration fee of $65.

5) All players shall only be allowed to play on one team (unless indicated by Happy Hour Dodgeball).


All teams shall:

1) Consist of a minimum of 12 -14 registered players. There is no maximum number of players per team.

2) Have a captain and a co-captain.


Team captains and co-captains shall be responsible for the following:

1) Ensuring that all players on their team have signed their waiver and paid their registration fee.

2) Ensuring that their players have read and understand the rules provided by Happy Hour Dodgeball.

3) Ensuring that their players act in a sportsmanlike manner while on the fields of play.

4) Ensuring that a referee from their team is present for all games directly preceding theirs or following theirs (as applicable) throughout the entirety of the season and playoffs.

5) Disputing calls on the field. Only the captain or co-captain can argue a call with a referee.


Happy Hour Dodgeball shall provide all equipment needed for game play. Equipment shall consist of cones, a ball, and a league provided t-shirt.


Happy Hour Dodgeball shall provide all registered players with a t-shirt. This t-shirt shall be considered the team’s uniform and all players shall be required to wear the shirt to be considered eligible to play during a game.

Players are permitted to alter their shirts with the following restrictions:

1) The Happy Hour Dodgeball logo shall not be removed (this includes cutting), covered or obscured in any way.

2) No web addresses (other than that of Happy Hour Dodgeball), organization name, or phone number may be included on the shirt.

3) Any words, symbols, or phrases that would run contrary to the Good Sportsmanship rule.

4) Shirt color shall not be changed (unless express consent is given by Happy Hour Dodgeball) through dyeing or tie-dyeing.


All teams shall be assigned a game to officiate every week, either directly before their scheduled game or following their scheduled game. All games shall have a minimum of two referees. The head referee will have the final authority to make all calls and rules interpretations, including player ejections and game forfeits and will handle the master game stopwatch. Referees are required to ensure conformance with all Happy Hour Dodgeball rules during game play. Referees shall make every effort to avoid contacting the ball. Referees shall stand at mid court on the sideline. Referees shall be responsible for calling players who are out and resolving all disputes. *Note: Players are relied upon to observe the honor system and acknowledge when they have been hit and called out.


The playoffs shall occur the final Thursday of the HHDB season. Game play shall remain the same as during the regular season, however any games that result in a tie shall have overtime.

*Note: Should a weekend spot open up, Happy Hour Dodgeball reserves the right to move playoff week to a Saturday at the end of March, 2010.


The first overtime period of any playoff game will begin with a minimum of three (3) players from each team. To begin all overtime periods, players must first take a position with at least one foot "in contact" with their attack line.

*Note: Following the head referee signal, players may move from the attack line and take a position anywhere on their side of the field.

All overtime periods begin with each team having three (3) "balls in hand." The first team to eliminate any ONE opposing player will be declared the winner. The sudden death format continues through all extra periods. One of the three players shall be a woman.


Playoff seeding is determined once the regular season has come to a conclusion and all regular season games have been played.

Playoff Seeding is determined by points amassed. Points are distributed as such: 2 points for a match win, 1 point for a match tie, and 0 points for a loss. The team with the most points will receive the #1 seed in the playoffs, and every team thereafter is slotted accordingly.

In the case of multiple teams having the same amounts of points seeding is determined on the following scale:

1) The team with the least amount of losses will receive the higher seed.

If the teams are still even:

2) If the teams have had a head to head matchup, the team that won said game would receive the higher seed.

If the teams are still even:

3) If the teams played in the same division, common opponents will be examined and the team with the better record against common opponents will received the higher seed.

If the teams are still even:

4) An HHDB official will flip a coin to determine the higher seed as there are no other possible ways that I can determine to break this deadlock!


All Happy Hour Dodgeball games shall take place at Champions Field House (40 Southlawn Court, Rockville, MD 20850)


The playing court shall be marked with sidelines, end-lines, attack lines and a center hash mark through the use of orange cones. The Attack Line is parallel to and 10 ft from centerline. All errant balls leaving the field must be retrieved equally by both teams to avoid delays in the game.


1.1 Game Times:
All dodgeball matches shall have a 50-minute time limit. All play will stop 50 minutes from the time your game begins. The head referee’s stop watch, provided by HHDB will serve as the official game clock. Time updates will be provided at the 25 minute mark, 40 minute mark 45 minute mark and the 49 minute mark.

1.2 Game Start:
The home team is listed on the schedule first. They will start the game on the far side of the court. Substitutions from each team will line up on the wall (or netting) to either the right or left as determined by the head official. *Note: No players can stand behind the opposing team to retrieve balls. Players can stand on their own half of the court on the sideline but may not pass the center line.

1.2.1 Game Time:
All games shall start at the assigned game time. There shall be no grace period for game time starts.

1.2.2 Forfeits:
If a team does not have the minimum number of players by game time, they must still start the game. If the minimum number of players does not show up 10 minutes after game time, a forfeit will be called.

2.1 Players on the Court:
2.2 The maximum numbers of players on the court shall be 8 (5 men, 3 women); minimum number of players is 6 (4 men, 2 women).
Note: There are no limits to the number of females that are allowed on the court at game time, if you want to roll with 8, roll with 8. However, there cannot be more than 5 men on the court under any circumstance. Players may enter the game at any time if they are running late. Substitutions can only be made after the completion of a game, or in the case of injury. Teams may not substitute male for female.

3.1 Beginning the Game:
Prior to beginning a game, an equal number of dodgeballs are placed along the center line on each side of the center hash mark. A standard game consists of 6 balls, 3 on each side of the hash mark. Players then shall take a position behind their end line and wait for the head referee’s call to begin play. Following the call to begin play (typically the Referee will shout “DODGEBALL”) by the head referee, players can approach the center line to retrieve the balls located on the center line. Teams may only retrieve balls placed to the LEFT (as they face the center line) of the center hash mark. If balls remain on the center line after a team has retrieved and moved their balls beyond the attack line, those balls may be retrieved by either team.

3.1.1 False Start:
A false start shall be called if any player(s) cross their end line prior to the head referee’s signal to start the game. Note: Should this infraction occur, play will be stopped and one ball from offending team's side shall be moved to their opponent's side of hash mark. Should this infraction occur again, the same rule shall apply.

3.2 Boundaries:
During game play, all players shall remain within the boundary lines of the court as indicated by the cones placed before game time. A player may be tossed a stray ball from the out of bounds area by a sidelined teammate, provided the player receiving the ball remains completely within their team’s field boundaries. Note: A stray ball is one that has not been picked up and is lying on the ground. Players that are playing in the game may not retrieve a ball that is out of bounds.

4.1 Opening Team Rush:
All balls retrieved at the opening rush shall first be taken beyond the attack line and into the team's backfield before it may be legally thrown at your opponent.

The ball can be thrown to a teammate that is behind the 10’ attack line by the rushing player at the center hash mark should they so desire.

Once the ball is moved beyond the attack line it may be thrown from anywhere on the court, except in the “neutral zone” between the attack line and the center hash mark.

4.1.1 Neutral Zone:
The neutral zone shall be located between the attack line and the center hash mark. The neutral zone allows players who do not have a ball in hand, to retrieve errant balls without the threat of being hit. Players retrieving an errant ball shall quickly enter and exit the neutral zone. Players may not stand in the neutral zone to avoid being hit, once a ball has been retrieved they shall re-enter the court of play. All players shall cross the attack line before throwing the retrieved errant ball from the neutral zone. Players shall not bring balls into the neutral zone.

4.1.2 Out Rule aka Don’t Be A Dick Rule:
HHDB holds each player personally responsible for upholding the honor system while playing dodgeball. This means each player is expected to call him/herself out after being hit by a ball. HHDB expects every player to abide by this sportsmanlike rule or he/she will be removed from the league. Player Out Signal:
Every player who is out (see rule 4.1.2 above) and is still inbounds shall raise their hand over their head as they are exiting the playing field. Players leaving the court shall not be hit by the opposing team while their hand is in the air. Once a player is OUT, they shall immediately drop any balls in hand and exit the playing field at the nearest sideline, regardless of whether it is their team’s sideline or not. *Note: Players who are out shall not attempt to be hit by a thrown ball to attempt to save a teammate. Any players violating this rule shall sit out the next game played.

4.2 Players Shall Not:
a. Hit an opposing player while they are in the neutral zone.
b. Hit an opposing player while they are using the “player out” signal.
c. Exit or re-enter the court through their sideline.
d. Leave the playing court (sideline or neutral zone) to retrieve an errant ball, avoid being hit by, or attempt to catch a ball.
e. Have any part of their body cross over the center line and contact the ground on their opponents' side of the court.
Note: During the "opening rush" many players will cross the center line. Officials should refrain from calling players OUT at this time unless a definite advantage is gained by the action. PLAYERS "OUT": The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players by getting them OUT.

5.1 Games and Matches:
A 7-minute time limit has been established for each regulation dodgeball game and 50 minutes for the match. The first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner of that game. If neither team has been eliminated at the end of regulation, the team with the greater number of remaining players shall be declared the winner. If an equal number of players remain after regulation play, the game will be called a tie.

5.2 Games and Match Scoring:
TWO points will be awarded to the regulation game winner. ONE point will be awarded to each team if the regulation game ends in a tie. At the conclusion of the 50 minute time limit, the team with the most game points will be declared the MATCH winner.

*Note: If a game is in progress when time expires, the head referee will stop play and count the remaining number of players left on the court from each team.

6.1 An OUT is scored by:
a. Hitting an opposing player with a LIVE thrown ball below the shoulders.

*Note: If a player ducks or takes a position with their head below where their shoulders would normally be when standing, i.e. crouching, kneeling, sitting, diving, rolling or laying, and this clearly is the cause for the player being hit above the shoulders, the player is out and the throw is considered legal.

b. Catching a LIVE ball thrown by your opponent (opponent is out).
c. Causing an opponent to drop a held ball as a result of contact by a thrown LIVE ball (usually occurs when a ball is being used to block a thrown ball)

6.2 Live Ball:

a. A thrown ball that strikes or is caught by an opposing player without or before contacting the ground, another player, ball, official or other object.
b. A player may block a thrown ball with a ball being held, provided the held ball is not dropped as a result of the contact with the thrown ball. (See rule 6.1,sub letter c)

*Note: A ball deflecting off a held ball and striking the holder is no longer a LIVE ball.

A live ball that deflects off a player shall remain live only to said player and may only be legally caught by said player. If a teammate or opponent catches said deflected ball, the originally hit player is out.

c. All thrown balls in flight when the game ending buzzer sounds, remain live, and may eliminate an opponent.

6.3 Stalling and the 5 Second Violation:
The following procedure shall be used to prevent "stalling": After a catch, players must release their ball within 5 seconds. This includes any ball within a 10’ circle of the player’s body. Players are not allowed to catch and release to reset the 5 second clock.

It is illegal for the leading team to control all the balls for more than five (5) seconds in an effort to kill the clock. If the leading team controls all the balls--i.e.., all balls are located on their side of the center line--they must make a legitimate effort to get at least one ball across the attack line and into the opponent's backfield. If this is not done within 5 seconds, a "5-second violation" will be called. A team may avoid a 5-second violation by throwing or rolling a ball into the opponent's backfield.

7.1 Infractions

7.2 Removal from Game Play
A player can be removed from a game if:

1) Any part of a player’s body that contacts the playing surface on or over a sideline.

2) They exit or re-enter the field through their sideline.

3) They leave the playing field (sideline or neutral zone) to retrieve an errant ball, avoid being hit by, or attempt to catch a ball.

4) They violate the 5 second rule, by not releasing the ball after 2nd warning by official (see rule 6.3).

7.3 Ejection Rules
Player(s) that are ejected from a game, shall sit out the next game. As a result the offender’s team shall play short a man or woman down on the court while the violator(s) sit out their ejection penalty.

7.3.1 The following can result in an ejection:

1) Hitting an opposing player while they are in the neutral zone.
2) Hitting an opposing player while they are using the "player out" signal.
3) Players NOT raising their hand over their head as they are exiting the playing field, after being hit or called out.
4) Player(s) not abiding by the "honor system".
5) Arguing with HHDB staff, opposing players, abusive language, etc. Any unsportsmanlike conduct deemed by the HHDB official.