Dodgeball World Cup – WDA Rules Explained by Bru Cousins

The first ever Dodgeball World Cup is being held in Manchester this year from the 14th – 17th April but the rules will be different to the ones we know in the UK and Europe. As the Head Coach for the Northern Ireland Knights international team I have been waiting eagerly for the rules to be released and they are finally here.

By all accounts it has been a nightmare getting nations from all around the world, who each play the game with different rules and equipment, to agree on a set of rules.

With each governing body thinking that their way of playing it is the best, or at least that they’ll be disadvantaged if their game is compromised. I’ve heard that the Asia Dodgeball Federation (ADF) was adamant that the balls should be smaller than the UK “men’s size” so that their players can grip them properly. Also we have five balls which is closer to how the game is played in America (more than we’re used to in Europe).

This makes for a fast paced game with focus on throwing as it is VERY hard to catch the 7″ balls, especially when you have three or more being hurled at you at more than 60mph. It is also extremely exhausting as I found out first hand when Manchester Bees took on England in an exhibition match at the DWC 100 days to go countdown event.

With thanks to Rob Kearns (Republic of Ireland international) and Alex “Bevvers” Bembridge (England international) the Manchester Bees have pulled together a list of how the rules differ from the European rules. We hope you find it a useful resource.

• Women’s (AKA Junior 7”) balls will be used for all competitions

• 5 balls will be on court at a time

• The centre Zone is 3m and both teams can go in it

• A match will consist of 2 x 15 minute periods, during this time you will play as many sets as possible. At the end of the match, team with the most sets win.

• Teams will swap ends at half time

• A set will last the maximum of 3 minutes, then play will be stopped and the next set started within 20 seconds

• At the start of the game a maximum of 3 players must ‘rush’ for the balls, the 2 balls to the players left will be designated for each team (so a team will always have at least 2 balls off the rush), the middle ball will be contested for by both teams. A minimum of 1 player must attempt the rush.

• The players running for the centre ball must not touch or go over the centre line

• Players going into the rush may not slide or dive towards the balls

• Balls are deemed live after the rush when it is carried over the attack line, or passed to a player who has both feet behind the attack line

• A dodgeball is still live even after it has been blocked, so if you block a ball then it hits you, you are out, at the same time if you block a ball across the court and it hits an opponent then they are out

• If a ball is still live even after it hits a player, so if it is caught it is a catch, if it hits another player then they are out too. A save is now an out and a catch.

• If a player is injured during a game, he/she will be replaced by a substitute. The substitute will join the back of the queue for players returning to the court in the out box, the player at the front of the queue will rejoin play to replace the injured player on court.

• During any breaks (for injury or while the officials are discussing a decision) all players and coaches must remain in their places before the break (live players stay on court, out players in the out box etc)

• Out players are not allowed to interfere with any live balls

• Players must return to court from the back of the court, only once both feet are on the court are they deemed live players

• For each match a team should provide 2 retrievers, should any balls go off court it is the retrievers job to get the balls back on court as quickly as possible, players cannot leave the court to retrieve dodgeballs

• No kicking the balls

• No rolling the balls across court unless told to do so by an official

• You cannot enter the opponents side of the court to catch a live ball

• Suicides are still legal though – you just have to make it back to your own side of the court without being hit!

• With regards to the 5 second rule, only one ball can be held, all other balls must be thrown

• 5 Second rule is active on the team with 3 or more balls, regardless of the number of players left in on that team

Download a full copy of the WDA rules.