Capitol Hill Block Party Throwdown Rules


  • We will play with 6 balls on the court. The different colored ball will be considered the burden ball.
  • The Start: Players must start with touching the fence.
  • The End: Play continues until one team is eliminated, the refs call a pause in gameplay, or until the round timer sounds.
  • Multiple outs: Each live ball can get as many people out in a game.
  • Saves: If a ball hits you and a teammate catches it before it becomes dead, it is considered a save. You are safe and the person who threw the ball is also safe.
  • Soft lines: It is okay for players to step on boundary lines, but if a player’s entire footsteps over a sideline or beyond the neutral zone, that player is out.
  • Ball count: The team with the burden ball has ten seconds to relinquish that burden.
  • The Queue: The first player eliminated is the first to come back into a game if there is a catch.
  • Headshots: Direct hits to a standing player’s head are illegal and the thrower is out.
  • Attack Line: This is the farthest that an offensive player can go towards the opponent’s fence.
  • Neutral Zone: The area in the middle of the court that players from either team can occupy.
  • The Honor & Integrity System: Players are responsible for calling themselves out. When in doubt, call yourself out.
  • Community: Get to know your teammates, your opponents, and have fun!


  • Neutral zone: If a player steps completely over the line the neutral zone onto the opponent’s side of the court that player is out.
  • Sidelines: Players are not allowed to step a whole foot over the sidelines or they are out.
  • Out-line: Teams should line up on the right side of their court when two sidelines are present.


  • All balls are placed on the centerline of the court.
  • The ref will start play generally by checking in with both sides and saying “ready, ready, Dodge”


  • On the initial rush, you may only touch the balls on the right side of the court.
  • Balls must be checked all the way to the fence before they are live.
  • After all of your own balls have been checked you may grab the remaining balls on the centerline if the other team did not get theirs.


The ten-second count is how we keep the game moving. When a team possesses the burden ball, it’s in them to get rid of enough balls. Once that occurs, the count resets. Additional balls collected during the count do not increase the number of required throws during this count.

If the required number of balls are not thrown within ten seconds, the ref will stop play and award all balls to the other side.

Reffing the 10 second count is hard. We recommend one ref be dedicated to this. Use your arms to denote which side currently has the burden and start the count by declaring how many balls they need to throw. A silent count is fine but when the count gets down to five seconds make sure you’re loud enough for both teams to hear. On a count down, if you are able to begin the word “zero” without the requisite balls being thrown, stop play immediately, redistribute balls, and restart both teams from the wall.


  • If you get hit, you’re out. Easy right? Well, there are tricky some grey areas.
  • A player is considered out if they are contacted by a live ball thrown by the opposite team and it becomes dead.
  • Clothing: Uniforms and accessories are considered part of a player’s body.
  • Hit etiquette: If a player is hit, they may pass balls under their control to their teammates, raise their arm to signal that they are out, and leave the court immediately without disrupting play.
  • “If in doubt, you’re out!” If you are not sure if you were hit or safe, go out.
  • A player is out the moment they are hit with a ball. The only valid action they can take is to attempt to catch that ball before it dies. A save on that ball is also valid. Any thrown balls, other catches, etc are invalid.


  • If a player catches a ball thrown by an opponent, the thrower is out and one player returns to the catcher’s side from the queue. In the order of first out, first in.
  • A catch is when a player retains control of a ball thrown by an opponent and must land with both feet in bounds.
  • When a player is caught back into the game, that player must enter from the back of the court, near the fence.
  • A returning player has 5 seconds to rejoin the game. They should enter from the back of the court and tag the fence to become active. They are not to make any dodgeball moves until they touch the fence.
  • If a teammate catches a ball that is deflected off another teammate’s body it is considered a catch. The teammate is saved and the thrower is out.
  • Catches from blocks: It is considered a catch if an opponent’s ball hits a blocking ball and is caught by the blocker’s teammate.
  • Catching balls going out of bounds: Player must be in control (see Glossary) of the ball before going out of bounds, with both feet in bounds for a catch to be valid. The catch counts but the player falling out of bounds is out.
  • If there is a catch and neither team knows who was caught the referee will pause the game and choose one player from the throwing side to come off the court.
  • Too close to call: If a player is hit out but makes a catch within the same volley, the player is out, but the catch counts. See the definition of a volley.


  • A block is when a player uses a ball to keep from being hit.
  • Failed Block: If a live ball, thrown by the opponent, hits a player’s blocking ball and then hits the blocker’s body, the player is out.
  • If a player drops their blocking ball because of contact from an incoming throw, the player is out.
  • The fingers and hand are considered part of the ball when holding a ball, the wrist and forearm are not. A player holding a blocker and hit in the hand is not out, a player hit in the forearm is.


As soon as there is a 1v1 situation, the referees will start a ten-second countdown. At the end of the countdown, play will be paused to set up a ‘Joust’. During a joust, the entire court has been converted into a neutral zone that both players can move freely. Sidelines are still active, so stay in the court! During a joust, both players will start with one ball in hand and three additional balls will be placed on the middle line. A referee will start a joust by saying ‘ready, joust!’. A joust will continue until one player has been eliminated. Physical contact is not allowed during a joust. In the case of contact, a referee will decide who initiated contact and will award the win to the opposing player.


Eagles are when a player jumps from the neutral zone into the opponent’s side of the court to make a throw. If their throw was successful in getting someone out, the thrower is still alive but must return to their side immediately. That player is vulnerable until they return to their side of the court, and can be hit by opponents. The eagler is allowed to dodge, but cannot go out of bounds or touch balls until returning to their side of the court. If a player attempting an eagle steps a while foot over the attack line while jumping, that player is immediately out.


  • Headshots are defined as throws that hit players directly in the head while that player is standing upright or in an athletic stance. If a player has significantly lowered their head by kneeling, ducking or crouching, no headshot will be called. On a close call, we’re going to err on the side of the person getting hit in the head
  • Headshots nullify the entire volley. For instance, in a volley of two balls where one hits the defender’s face and another hits their leg, neither hit counts. The defender is safe and the thrower of the headshot is out.
  • High throw warning: Players who throw near head level multiple times in one match will be warned by the referees. If that player throws another head level throw, that player will be called out.


  • If a ball goes off the court, get it back to an active player ASAP.
  • A ball should be returned to the team on the side of the court that it went out on. The goal of shagging is to help the players, and to keep the game moving.
  • Shaggers may not reach on to the playing court or shag balls that are on the other team’s side of the court.
  • If you’re a spectator of the game and ball comes to you, shag it and get it to a player ASAP.


  • When catching, a player must be in full control of the ball without using any out of bounds area or floor as leverage.
  • Any physical contact with an opposing player will deem the player that initiated contact “out”.
  • If a ball is thrown before the first utterance of “joust” the throw is considered as legal.
  • A ball must be picked up in order for the throw to be legal. Kicking, smacking, or spiking a ball is not allowed and any hits resulting from them hit will not count. However, if one of these balls is caught by the opponent, the catch is legal.
  • Players must line up in the order they were eliminated.
  • Substitutions and timeouts: Substitutions and timeouts are not allowed during a game unless there is an injury. The same players who start a game, end the game. Substitution may occur after each individual game (i.e. when you switch sides).
  • Honour System Officiating: It is ultimately up to the players to enforce and uphold the rules of dodgeball when playing or refereeing. Dodgeball relies on the honour system, in which officiating is determined more between players and less from the referees. However, if there is a controversial play, the referees will make the final call. They have the right to stop a game and discuss the incident before proceeding. In respect for the spirit of the game and for fellow players, there is absolutely no protesting allowed. However we encourage players to discuss and clarify any plays in a respectful manner with referees after the game is finished.
  • Clothing (uniforms and accessories) is considered part of a player’s body.
  • A player that is hit mid-eagle is out as soon as they are hit. . A ball thrown by the eagler is only valid if thrown before they were hit.
  • If playing with a timer and the time ends during a match then the team with the least number of outs wins. If there is a tie for the least number of outs then it is a draw.


Dead ball

A dead ball is any ball that has:

  • Not been checked on the rush.
  • Contacted an eliminated player.
  • Contacted another dead ball.
  • Contacted the floor / ceiling / or walls of the gym.
  • Been kicked or spiked.
  • All balls on the rush are dead until they are checked.
  • If a player throws a dead ball without checking it first, that player is out.
  • When a player is out for any reason, all balls under his/her possession are dead.

Dying ball

A ball that has hit a player, but has not yet become dead.

Live ball

A ball that has been activated by checking it past the neutral zone.


A collection of games between two teams.


Being eligible to participate in the game on court.


Ineligible to play in the game as a result of being hit, caught, or touching/going past the court’s boundaries.

Opening Rush

When players approach the center line to retrieve the balls at the signal of the referee.


A player has control of a ball when they have it secured in their hands.

Burden to Throw

If a team has five or more balls it is their responsibility to make an attack and relinquish the original ball majority within 10 seconds. The team must throw N – 4 balls where N is the number of balls the team had when the 10-second count began.


A volley is a group throw of multiple balls. All balls arriving at a defending player at the same time are part of the same volley. Any balls that arrive unambiguously early or late to the defender are not a part of the same volley.