People playing dodgeball.
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WDBF rules trial for spring/summer dodgeball

This spring/summer season, we’ll be trying out a modified version of the World Dodgeball Federation (WDBF) rules in our Tuesday Casual Dodgeball league and Sunday Beach Dodgeball league. If the feedback is positive, we’ll be applying these rule changes to other dodgeball leagues this fall! We’ll be surveying players mid-season to get feedback.

The rules are similar to what you would follow if you were to play at a regional, national, or international tournament, but with a few changes to keep it more casual.

Why are we testing out this change?

At Play Sask, we’ve always had a mission to be different than our competitors — to offer more in our leagues and to lead the way when it comes to making positive changes in our sports communities. We see testing out these rules as a natural extension of our mission!

When we first launched Play Sask in 2017, we followed rules similar to our competitors by default, but since then, we’ve had more experience playing both rec and WDBF rules, and we think the WDBF rules have some benefits and could even be more fun.

Some fun aspects of the WDBF rules include “saving” a teammate by catching a ball that hit them (a rule most newbies intuitively think should exist but isn’t allowed in rec rules), getting out more than one person with a throw, holding more than one ball at a time, and being able to pass a ball to a teammate without worrying they might drop it. Overall, we find the “physics” of the WDBF rules to be more intuitive and logical.

The WDBF rules are also fast becoming the official dodgeball rules as the sport grows in popularity. The World Dodgeball Association would like to see dodgeball become an Olympic sport by the 2028 Games in Los Angeles, and associations like the World Dodgeball Federation, Dodgeball Canada and Sask Dodgeball are looking to standardize rules in leagues. See the full WDBF rules here.

What’s different from current Play Sask rec rules?

The basics of the game haven’t changed: The goal is to get the other team out; you’re out if you get hit or if your ball is caught, and catching a ball means a teammate gets to come back on. But there are some differences!

WDBF Rules — Rec Modified

  • At the opening rush, balls are set on the centre line instead of halfway, with 3 balls on the left and right wings, and a contested ball in the middle. Players may only retrieve balls on the right side of their half. Players may touch or cross the centre line while retrieving those balls during the opening rush. Any balls retrieved during the opening rush must cross a designated attack line to become a live ball instead of touching the back wall.
  • A throw must be a valid attempt to hit an opposing player out. A valid attempt is a throw that lands or passes within 1 meter of a player or a player’s position at the moment the ball was released.
  • The 10-second rule now applies to the whole team. If gameplay stalls, the team with the most balls on their side of the court must throw first.
  • A live ball becomes a dead ball once it touches another live ball, a surface or a dead object, or once it is caught. A live ball remains a live ball after it has been blocked.
    • This means a ball is still live if it hits a player, so you can save a player who was hit if you catch before the ball is dead, a throw can get more than one person out, and all blocks must be completely clean — if the ball you blocked hits you, you’re out.
  • Players can pass balls to teammates, drop balls, and hold more than one ball at once, including blocking with more than one ball. There’s no requirement for a ball to cross half.
  • Players must leave the court entirely before they can come back in — if a catch is made before they leave the court, they are still out.
  • During the one-on-one after players are allowed to cross the line, there is no blocking allowed. While there are no one-on-ones in WDBF rules, there is a “no blocking” rule during sudden death rounds.

What’s the same as current Play Sask rec rules? What’s different from full WBDF rules?

  • On most courts, we won’t be playing with boundaries. Beach dodgeball will use boundaries.
  • We won’t be playing with a referee, though teams will still need to keep track of advantage occasionally to keep the gameplay from stalling.
  • To start the game, someone still calls out “3, 2, 1 dodgeball!” In full WDBF rules, the referee calls the start of the game.
  • Games will continue to be 50 minutes long. In full WDBF rules, games have two 20-minute halves.
  • The first player out is the first player back in. This is the same in WDBF rules.
  • Headshots are still not allowed. They are allowed in full WDBF rules.
  • You’re out if you’re “disarmed” — if you lose control of the ball while blocking. This is the same in WDBF rules.
  • Ending the set remains the same, including the 60-second countdown when there’s only one player left and being able to cross the line in a one-on-one, with the difference of not being allowed to block during a one-on-one. In WDBF rules, there is no time limit when one person is left, and there is no special one-on-one rule.
  • In WDBF rules, there is a sudden death round to end a half where no blocking is allowed, but we’ve migrated this sudden death rule to apply to one-on-ones only.

Still skeptical?

We’ll be hosting Free Drop-in Dodgeball on Tuesdays from April 4 to May 9 so you can try out the new rules (and stay in shape during the break!). Note: There will be no drop-in games on April 11 due to the Easter break.

As always, we’d love to hear from you about this trial — feel free to send an email to [email protected], join us on Discord, or give Ashleigh a call/text at 306-292-1819.