Kabaddi is is a popular game, especially in Asian countries.
The following detailed player guide discusses the rules and regulations of Kabaddi sport, essential equipment, how to play Kabadi for beginners, as well as the advanced player with tips, tricks, techniques, etc.
All the rules of Kabaddi sport have been discussed with examples, images & info graphs.
Kabaddi Rules | How to Play Kabaddi | Kabaddi Court, Scoring, Faults, Infringements [Players Guide 2022]
- 1 Kabaddi Rules | How to Play Kabaddi | Kabaddi Court, Scoring, Faults, Infringements [Players Guide 2022]
- 2 Kabaddi Court: How to Setup? Dimensions & Basic Rules
- 3 Various Lines on Court
- 4 Kabaddi Rules Explained: How to Play Kabaddi?
- 5 Rule #1. Kabaddi Weight Rules
- 6 Rule #2. Rules for Starting and Restarting the Match
- 7 Rule #3. Scoring Rules in Kabaddi: How Score is Counted in Kabaddi?
- 8 Rule #4. Rules for Crossing the Bonus Line
- 9 Rule #5. Rules for Lona Points (All out)
- 10 Rule #6. Rules for Tie-Breaker
- 11 Rule #7. Sudden Death Rules
- 12 Rule #8. Rules for Substitution
- 13 Rule #9. Rules for the Revival of Players
- 14 Rule #10. Infringement and Penalties
- 15 Rule #11. Fouls and Misconduct
- 16 Technical Officials in Kabaddi; Names & Responsibilities
- 17 Frequently Asked Questions About Kabaddi Rules
Kabaddi is basically a game of body contact like rugby.
In this game, one player of each team (known as a raider) has to enter the opposing team’s zone and attempt to chase and touch as many opponent players (known as defenders) as possible without being caught by them in their zone.
If he comes back safely after touching the opponent, his team gets the point.
In case defenders catch him in their zone, they get the point. Teams can score on the raid as well as defense.
Fascinatingly, as soon as the raider enters the opponents’ zone, he needs to breathlessly chant the name of the game, “Kabaddi,” loudly and repeatedly for 30 seconds.
The raider needs to return in 30 seconds, either with a point or without it. This chase and touch process goes on alternate turns. It means each team raids and defends in turns.
Kabaddi is played by two teams of 12 players, where the seven players play on the field, and the rest five players sit outside of the court until their team needs substitutes.
Its court measures 13 meters long and 10 meters wide, with some important lines that we will discuss in detail. Kabaddi is a serious game.
It demands strength, agility, stamina, resilience, endurance, and physical and mental fitness. Kabaddi is one of the historical and famous games in the subcontinent and probably the second most-watched sport in India after cricket.
In addition to Kabaddi, Kho Kho is also a famous local sport played across India.
It is also growing internationally with leaps and bounds. Its governing body, International Kabaddi Federation, was formed in 2004.
The primary object of this body is to monitor its more than 30 associations, devise the rules of Kabaddi and organize competitions globally.
Objectives of Playing Kabaddi Sport
The basic object of this game for each team is to score more overall points than the opposing team in a given duration of the match.
A team with more points than the opponent team is declared the winner of the match after the match consumes its specific time.
A match that ends with equal points for both sides is considered a draw, and no other match is played to declare the winner.
Before you play on Kabaddi, you would need to formulate your team and look out for Kabaddi court.
Team Composition For Kabaddi
In Kabaddi, there need to be two teams playing against each other. Each team should have 12 players in total, while only seven players can take to the court at any one time.
The rest of the players sit in the technical area as substitutes. The match must not start until each team has seven players on the court. The playing position of the player goes like that;
- There are four corners who are basically defenders.
- Two major raiders.
- An all-rounder who performs both as a defender and the third raider.
Kabaddi Court: How to Setup? Dimensions & Basic Rules
Kabaddi is played on a rectangular court of 13 meters in length and 10 meters in width. The surface of the court has to be soft, even, and covered with foam mates.
In rural areas, it is played on clayey or muddy surfaces. There have to be at least 4 meters of space that surrounds all four directions of the court.
It is very important for every Kabaddi lover to have information about the court and its lines before ever trying to either play or watch Kabaddi.
Let’s now discuss the lines and areas of the court in a bit of detail.
- Playing Field
- Surface Marking
a. Playing Field
The playing field of the ground includes all the lines on the court except the lobbies.
Lobbies are two stripes of one meter in width. They are marked on both sides of the court. They go from one end of the court to another end the court.
Lobbies don’t include the playing area until they get activated. Their activation takes place when a raider and defenders come in contact.
c. Surface Markings:
The surface of the court is marked with lines that must not exceed 50 millimeters. All lines make up a complete playing field.
Various Lines on Court
In case any line fades, its visibility is marred, or it changes place, the referee stops the play and remarks on the lines.
There are various lines on the court, such as:
- Boundary Lines
- Mid Lines or March Line
- The Baulk Line
- The Bonus Lines
- Sitting Block
- Technical Areas
1. Boundary lines:
These lines are the outer lines that accommodate the whole of the court. They form the playing field of the court.
2. The Mid Line (March Line):
This is the line that slices the court into two equal halves. Each half of the court measures 6.5 meters in length.
Mid-line defines the areas of two teams. One side of it belongs to one team, while another side belongs to the other team.
3. The Baulk Line:
These lines come inside mid-line on each side of the court. It measures 3.75 meters from the midline.
Baulk line does not cover up the lobbies. It is important for every raider to enter this line before touching any defenders. Otherwise, his attempt will end in smoke.
4. The Bonus Line:
This line is drawn after the balk line and before the end line. It needs to be drawn 1 meter from the balk line on each side of the court, excluding the lobbies.
This line is named so because it gives you the opportunity to earn a point without even touching your opponent.
For so doing, the raider has to manage his one foot to enter this line while having his other foot in the air or slightly off the surface.
5. Sitting Block:
The setting block is drawn at both ends of the courts at a distance of two meters that starts from the end lines.
6. Technical Area:
This area is specifically reserved for officials, couches, and substitutes. Other than them, no one is allowed to occupy this area until and unless the match referee permits.
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Kabaddi Rules Explained: How to Play Kabaddi?
Before you go on to play Kabaddi, stop a while and understand the following rules to play and win Kabaddi in stiff competitions.
Rule #1. Kabaddi Weight Rules
Everyone can play Kabaddi at the level of the hobby. But when it comes to the professional level, one might face some restrictions in one’s way.
Generally, Kabaddi is not the game of heavy-weight persons since it requires quick moves and speedy touches.
Therefore, there is a weight criterion for professional Kabaddi players. For professional players at the international level, 88 kgs or below is readily acceptable.
This may vary at different levels of the game, keeping in view the age factor and format of the game.
Note: The weight is measured 1 hour before the start of the match, on a digital weighing machine, in the presence of officials.
Match Duration: How Long Does a Match Last?
A full Kabaddi match lasts for forty minutes, excluding the break time. It is divided into two equal halves of twenty minutes. Players are given 5 minutes of break time in between two halves of the match.
Note: It is permissible to complete the last raid even if the designated time is completed. During the match, a team can avail time outs
a. Time-out by teams:
In each half of the match, both teams are allowed to take timeouts twice.
Each time out lasts for a maximum of 30 seconds. During time-outs, each team can make changes of the players by substitution.
b. Official time-out:
This time-out is at the will of a referee. He permits such time-outs as a result of serious injuries. These times last for 2 minutes only.
If the injured player is unable to play again, the team can substitute him with another player with the permission of the referee.
- No player is allowed to leave his respective court during both time-outs.
- No substitute, couch, or other team official is allowed to enter the court with the prior permission of the referee.
- In case the above-mentioned rules are violated, a technical point is awarded to the other side as a result of a penalty.
Rule #2. Rules for Starting and Restarting the Match
Each match starts with the flip of the coin/toss.
Winning toss is crucial in Kabaddi, for it offers the chance to the winner to either go for a raid or defense.
If the toss-winning team goes for raid first, another team has to defend it.
If the toss-winning team goes for the defense, the other team has to go a raid first.
Teams need to change their sides after the first half is over.
One team that opted to raid in the first half would go for the defense in the second half, and thus the raid will go to the other team that did not attempt raid in the first half.
- The number of players neither increases nor decreases at the start of the second half of the match.
- Each team has to play its second half with the players that were there when the first half ended.
- Both the teams can substitute players only at the end of the first half.
- However, the players who have played previously and went out of the court cannot be replaced.
Rule #3. Scoring Rules in Kabaddi: How Score is Counted in Kabaddi?
In Kabaddi, both a raider and defenders can score points in a number of following ways;
When a raider enters the opponents’ court, crossing the baulk line, touches the defenders, and comes back to his court without being stopped by the defenders. The more defenders touched, the more points are earned.
When the defenders catch the raider on their side of the court, by maintaining the rules of the game, such as; holding him by his upper or lower limbs or waist.
It is not permissible to catch him by his hair or clothes.
When a raider enters the bonus line, by making his one foot enter the line and the other foot off the surface of the court, and does not even touch any of the defenders and comes back to his side.
When a team breaches technical rules, another team gets a technical point. This point is awarded by the referee.
- A point scored by team A results in the revival of its ousted player,
- The expulsion of one player (the raider who gets caught by defenders during his raid) from team B. It goes vice versa.
- A match that ends with equal points on both sides is declared as a draw
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Rule #4. Rules for Crossing the Bonus Line
Crossing the bonus line is a bit risky and daring. As a rule, the raider has to enter baulk line for scoring a point, this line lies a bit deeper after the baulk line, which makes it quite difficult to enter into.
Additionally, there are fair chances of being caught by the defenders when attempting to enter this line.
The bonus point is subjected to the following conditions:
When a raider manages to enter the bonus line, by making his one foot enter the line and the other foot off the surface of the court.
Simply, he has to ground only one foot in the bonus line area and take his other foot up that is grounded on the baulk line area.
When a raider manages to enter the bonus line before coming in contact with the defenders.
Only one point is awarded no matter how many times he enters the bonus line during his single raid.
The raider gets additional points if he manages to touch the defenders and return safely to his court.
He gets the point no matter if he is caught by the defenders later on.
A bonus point does not help in the revival of the players. Hence, no player comes on the court after his teammate scores bonus points. It is added to the total score of the team.
He gets a bonus point if the defenders are not less than 6.
Rule #5. Rules for Lona Points (All out)
Lona is a unique as well as an interesting scoring mechanism. Let’s find out how a Lona is scored and why it is beneficial for a team.
When a team manages to oust all the defenders of its opposing team, it earns a Lona.
No player is revived after a Lona. Thus, a Lona marks the end of one-half of the match.
A Lona offers two bonus points to the team that puts out all the opponents.
After the Lona, the match remains intact, and the players suffering from the Lona may enter their court as soon as the second half of the match gets started.
The players must enter their respective courts in a period not exceeding 10 seconds in order to avoid a technical point being awarded to the opposing team.
The referee warns the team if it remains outside of the court after 10 seconds.
In case the team does not manage to enter its court in as much as one minute, the referee eliminates that team from the match and declares the other team that has entered the court in a given period as the winner.
It is permissible for the team captain and couch to declare their two remaining defenders out. It is sometimes done to bring the complete set of seven players on the court.
Rule #6. Rules for Tie-Breaker
This rule is applicable to knock-out matches. In this type of match, a team goes out of the tournament if it loses a single match. If a match ends in a draw in knock out system, the following tie-breaker rules are applied:
Both teams play with seven players, those were on the court when the previous match ended.
Five raiders from each team may go for raid alternately. Teams should notify their raiders to the referee before the tie breaker.
The bonus line will become ineffective. Baulk line will act as both; a bonus line and baulk lines. Bonus line rules applied.
Only points are counted. Not “out” or “revival” occurs.
The first raider will raid again in the tiebreaker. If the tie-breaker also ends in a draw. The sudden death rule comes into play.
Rule #7. Sudden Death Rules
Except for five raiders, all the rules of tie breaker are applicable here.
No need to notify five raiders. Anyone can be raider and can raid for 5 minutes.
The first raider in the tie breaker, will become defenders in sudden death.
High scorer after sudden death ends, wins the match. If teams fail to lead, the team that scored first leading point wins.
Rule #8. Rules for Substitution
Except for 5 raiders, all the rules of tiebreaker are applicable here.
No need to notify five raiders. Anyone can be a raider and can raid for 5 minutes.
The first raider in the tiebreaker will become a defender in sudden death.
The high scorer, after sudden death ends, wins the match. If teams fail to lead, the team that scored the first leading point wins.
Rule #9. Rules for the Revival of Players
Revival of players in Kabaddi is very important for maintaining the strength of a team. Let’s see how they are revived.
Substitution takes place during time-outs and half-time. Only injured players can get substituted during official time-outs.
Teams can re-substitute their substituted players but not “out” or “suspended” players.
Only five substitutions can take place. Substitution is ineffective in tie-breaker and sudden death.
The referee needs to be informed while making substitutions.
Rule #10. Infringement and Penalties
Both teams must play judiciously so as to avoid penalties. Let’s find out some common infringements in Kabaddi.
1. Failure to chant the name “Kabaddi” on the opponent court.
As per rule:
- A raider, after entering the opposite side, must chant the word “Kabaddi” repeatedly and in one respiration without fail.
- He has to maintain this for 30 seconds until he returns to his own court.
- If the raider fails to chant the name “Kabaddi” as per rules, he will be declared out, and the chance of the raid goes to the other team.
2. Any Part of the body touching outside of the court
- A raider is declared out when he or any of his body parts crosses the boundary of the court.
- His raid would go in vain if he himself violated the rule.
- In case the defenders violate this rule, the raider maintains his raid.
3. Failure in making a Successful Raid
- The raider, after crossing the baulk line and continuously chanting, touches the defenders and returns his court safely; his raid is successful.
- If he fails to either chant the name or touch the defenders and is caught in his attempt, is known as an unsuccessful raid.
- All a raider has to do is just to make contact with the mid-line after attempting his raid.
- When he succeeds in doing so, his raid is successfully executed.
4. For Defenders: Holding the Raider in Inappropriate Manner
- Holding the raider by limbs or trunk is allowed. However, holding him by his hair or clothes is not permissible.
- If any anti (defender) does so, he is declared out while the raider remains safe.
- Stifling the throat of the raider or stopping him by any means from chanting the slogan is prohibited.
- If any defender tries so, he is declared out, and the raider remains safe.
5. For Raider: Resorting to Inappropriate tactics during his Escape
- The raider is not allowed to intentionally pull or push any defender out of the court. If he does so, he is declared out.
- The raider is allowed to gently touch his opponent’s limbs or trunk.
- He cannot hold his opponents by his body, clothes or hair. Is he does so, he is out.
Rule #11. Fouls and Misconduct
Kabaddi is a game where fouls and misconduct are common. Let’s check the commonest fouls and misconduct in Kabaddi.
A foul is committed when:
Players violate the rules of the game.
They display an unsporting demeanor.
Players disagree with the referee’s decision by either word or action.
Indulge in delaying tactics while starting the match.
Intentionally or unintentionally entering the field or leaving it without prior permission of the referee.
Spitting at opponents, insulting them, using derogatory language or fighting.
NOTE: As a result of the above fouls and misconducts, the referee is entitled to take the following actions with the help of cards of different colors.[
1. Green Card
This card is served as a means of warning. If a player continues to make the same foul, he is served with another green card. After two green cards, the player is served with the following yellow card.
2. Yellow Card
This card holds more power than the green one. It is used after two warnings of green card. This card suspends a player or team official for 2 minutes.
If the player or official continues to exhibit the same foul, he is served with a second yellow card. A second yellow card will make the red card obligatory.
2. Red Card
This card comes into use when players or officials are suspended from the match. A second red card will automatically restrict the offender from participating in the tournament.
The offender, after being served with a red card, must immediately leave the court and the technical area.
Technical Officials in Kabaddi; Names & Responsibilities
There are seven technical officials in Kabaddi match.
1. Referee: Role & Responsibilities in the Match:
The referee is considered all in all in a Kabaddi match. He is the one who enforces and implements the rules of the game. He starts the matches, announces points, issues cards, and decides penalties and substitutions.
2. The Umpires
There are two umpires who assist the match referee. They monitor the match and make decisions in accordance with the rules of the game.
3. The Scorer
He is entitled to the job of recording scores of both teams. At the end of the match, he gets score sheets signed by both the referee and umpires.
4. Assistant Scorers
Their work is to maintain the record of the players who are sent out and revived.
They ensure that players (sent out of the match) have taken their respective places, substitutes, and team officials are in the technical area.
They also assist umpires by monitoring the activities of the infield as well as outfield players during the match and inform the umpires when deemed necessary.
5. The Seventh official
He acts as a reserve official. In case any above-mentioned officials are unable to continue, he comes to fill his vacuum.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kabaddi Rules
1. How many Players are there in Kabaddi?
Each team has 12 players. Among them, only seven players are allowed to participate in the match, and rest 5 players wait outside as substitutes.
2. When do lobbies get Activated?
Lobbies are activated when there occurs physical contact between a raider and the defenders. Before that, lobbies are not part of the play.
3. What is a Pursuit in Kabaddi?
Pursuit, in simple words, is to chase or follow. In Kabaddi, it comes into play when defenders chase the raider, who, after entering the baulk line and touching his defenders, tries to return his court.
Pursuit is permissible when a raider is on the run back to his court after either a successful or otherwise raid.
On the other hand, it is not permissible when the raider delays his chant, attempts a double raid, scrambling after a struggle.
4. What is a struggle in Kabaddi?
The struggle is basically an attempt that a raider makes to escape after he is caught by the defenders.
5. What is a Super Raid?
A raid in which the raider earns 3 or more points in his single raid.
6. What is an Empty Raid?
A raid in which the raider enters in opposite court but fails to score a point and returns to his court without any point.
7. What is do or die Raid?
After two empty raids, the third raid turns into doing or die. The raider has to score a point, or he has to go out of the court. If this raid goes empty, a point is awarded to the opposite team, and the raider goes out.
8. What is a tackle?
Simply, a tackle means to catch the raider successfully. When defenders catch the raider in their zone and hold him for 30 seconds, it becomes a successful tackle. See the image below.
9. What is a Super tackle?
A super tackle comes into play when only 3 remaining defenders manage to catch the raider in their court. A super tackle earns two points. See the image below
10. What is a Dash?
When the defenders, trying to catch the raider, push or thrust the raider out of the court, it is called a dash. See the image below.
To play this game, one has to master its basic rules and practice them regularly. This game, with simple rules, offers you an immensely exciting experience, thrills you with its resounding chant, and entertains you with its twists and turns.
Kabaddi requires the fitness and stamina that you might need while being on the court. Just go through the above-mentioned rules to master the very essence of the game and become a finer player by implementing them in your game.
In addition to that, you can look here for more detailed rules & regulations for major sports.