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How to Run a Dodgeball Tournament

A week ago I received an email from someone asking me how to run a Dodgeball Tournament. This was for a recreation department that was looking to run a tournament for the local middle and high school, but the same principles can be applied to camps.


  • Use a tennis court or basketball court since boundary lines are already created.
  • It’s best to have 3 referees (one in the middle and two on the sides) as well as a score (and penalty) keeper.
  • Have places (bleachers, chairs, etc.) for spectators.
  • Tournaments that I have run in the past involved lots of music, refreshments and a good MC.
  • Younger kids who cannot compete enjoy cheering and making signs and decorations ahead of time.


  • Each team must have five players and may have up to two alternates. (The number of players can be changed, of course.)
  • There should be four divisions: Boys High School division, Girls High School division, Boys Middle School division, Girls Middle School division (at camp you could also have a staff division)
  • Each division must have at least four teams.
  • This will be a double elimination tournament.
  • No use of foul language will be tolerated.


  • Team will have no more or no less than five players on the court at the beginning of each game.
  • Each round is the best of three games.
  • Each game has a time limit of three minutes. At the end of three minutes, the team with the most players on the court wins.
  • Two balls will be used during each game. (Increase the number of balls if you have more than five players per team.)
  • Balls will start on the midline at each game.
  • Players that step on or across any boundary line, including the mid-line, will be out.
  • Players who are hit by a ball thrown by the opposing team are out. unless:
    • the ball is caught before hitting the ground,
    • the thrown ball is deemed an intentional head shot,
    • the thrown ball has hit another player first.
  • A player who throws the ball resulting in a head shot is out unless the opposing player is ducking to avoid the ball, in which the player being hit is out.
  • In order to keep the game moving, if a team has both balls on their side, they have five seconds (as counted out loud by a referee) to throw one of the balls. If the team does not discard the ball within five seconds, the charging referee will call one of the players out.
  • If a player catches a thrown ball before it hits the ground, one of their eliminated teammates may return to the court, and the opposing player who threw the ball is out.
  • Players may use a ball to block oncoming balls, but if they lose control of the ball they are holding and drop it, they are out.
  • Players may not physically touch any opposing player. This will result in the player being terminated from the tournament.


  • Players may not argue with the referees decisions.
  • Players may not spike the balls.
  • Players may not kick the balls.
  • Players may not hold more than one ball at a time.
  • Bad sportsmanship will result in a yellow card as well.


You can print off blank dodgeball tournament/bracket sheets at


  • Take team photos.
  • Take photos during the tournament.
  • Create a large bracket that can be hung on the wall.
  • Have music.
  • Provide refreshments.
  • Make it a fund-raiser for a local charity. Then create an adult bracket with a fire dept. team, police dept. team, mayor’s team, etc.
  • Have a best dressed team competition and encourage teams to wear costumes.
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