Kabaddi Rules: How to Play [ Court, Scoring, Faults ] Expert Guide 2022

Last Updated on January 18, 2022 by admin

Kabaddi is is a popular game, especially in Asian countries. The following detailed players guide discuses rules and regulation of Kabaddi sport, essential equipment,  how to play Kabadi for beginner as well as advanced player with tips, tricks and 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]

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 in the opposing team’s zone and attempt chasing and touching as many opponent players (known as defenders) as possible, without being caught by them in their zone. Rules of Kabaddi, How to play kabaddi, official rules, kabaddi court, ground

If he comes back safely after touching opponent, his team gets a point. In case, defenders  catch him in their zone, they get a point. Teams can score on raid as well as defense.

Fascinatingly, as soon as the raider enters opponents’ zone, he needs to breathlessly ch ant 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 7 players play on field and the rest 5 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, physical and mental fitness. Kabaddi is one of the historical and famous games in subcontinent and probably the second most-watched sport in India after cricket. In addition to Kabaddi, Kho Kho is also the 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 opponent team is declared winner of the match, after the match consumes its specific time. A match that ends with equal points for both sides, is considered 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 needs to be two teams playing against each other. Each teams should have 12 players in total, while only 7 players can take to the court at any one time.

Rest of the players sit in technical area as substitutes. Match must not start until each team has 7 players on the court. 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 with 13 meters length and 10 meters 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 surface. There has to be at least 4 meters space that surrounds all four directions of the court.

It is very important, for every Kabaddi lover, to have the information of the court and its lines before ever trying to either play or watch Kabaddi. Kabaddi Court, Rules, Dimension

Let’s now discuss the lines and areas of the court in bit detail.

  • Playing Field
  • Lobbies
  • Surface Marking

a. Playing Field

The playing field of the ground includes all the lines on the court except the lobbies.

b. Lobbies

Lobbies are two stripes with one meter width. They are marked on both sides of the court. They go from one end of the court to other end of 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 the any line fades, its visibility is marred or it changes place, the referee stops the play and remark 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 other 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 mid line. 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 baulk line and before the end line. It needs to be drawn 1 meter from the baulk line on each side of the court, excluding the lobbies.  The Bonus Line- Kabaddi RulesThis line is named so because it gives you the opportunity to earn a point without even touching his opponent. For so doing, the raider has to manage his one foot enter this line, while having his other foot in the air or slightly off the surface.

5. Sitting Block:

The sitting 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 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 hobby. But when it comes to professional level, one might face some restriction 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 criteria for professional Kabaddi players. For professional players at international level, 88 kgs or bellow 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 break time in between two halves of the match.


  • It is permissible to complete the last raid even if the designated time completed.

  • During the match a team can avail time outs

a. Time-out by teams:

In each half of the match, both the teams are allowed to take time outs twice. Each time out lasts for maximum 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 time out last for 2 minutes only. If injured player is unable to play again, the team can substitute him with other player with the permission of the referee.


  • No player is allowed to leave his respective court during the both time outs.

  • No substitute, couch or other team official is allowed to enter the court with prior permission of the referee.

  •  In case, above mentioned rules are violated, a technical point is awarded to the other side as result of a penalty.

Rule #2. Rules for Starting and Restarting of 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, other team has to defend it.
  • If the toss winning team goes for the defend, the other team has to go a raid first.
  • Teams need to change their sides after first half is over.
  • One team that opted raid in first half, would go for the defense in 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 in 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 in their side of the court, by maintaining 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, other team gets a technical point. This point is awarded by 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 bit risky and daring. As a rule, the raider has to enter baulk line for scoring a point, this line lies 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.

Rules for Crossing the Bonus Line, Kabaddi Rules The bonus point is subjected to 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 a point no matter if he is caught by the defenders later on.
  • A bonus point does not help in revival of the players. Hence, no player comes on the court after his teammate scores a 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 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, 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.
  • 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 given period, as winner.
  • It is permissible for the team captain and couch to declare their two remaining defenders out. It is sometimes done for bringing 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 matches, a team goes out of the tournament, if it loses single match. If a match ends in a draw in knock out system, following tie breaker rules are applied:

  • Both teams play with seven players, those were on the court when 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.
  • Bonus line will become ineffective. Baulk line will act as both; a bonus line and baulk lines. Bonus line rules applied.
  • Only points be counted. Not “out” or “revival” occurs.
  • The first raider, will raid again in tie breaker.
  • If the tie breaker also ends in a draw. Sudden death rule comes into play.

 Rule #7. Sudden Death Rules

  • Except 5 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 5 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 #9. Rules for the Revival of Players

Revival of players in Kabaddi is very important for the maintain 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 5 substitutions can take place.
  • Substitution is ineffective in tie-breaker and sudden death.
  • 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 in chanting the name “Kabaddi” in 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 goes in vain if he himself violated the rule.
  • In case the defenders violate this rule, 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 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 successful 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 raider or stopping him, by any means, form 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 opponents’ 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 unsporting demeanor.
  • Players disagree with 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.


As a result of above fouls and misconducts, the referee is entitled to take following actions by the help of cards of different colors.[

1. Green Card

This card is served as a means of warnings. 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 following yellow card.

2. Yellow Card

This card holds more power than the green one. It is used after 2 warnings of green card. This card suspends a player or team official for 2 minutes. If the player or official continues to exhibit same foul he is served with 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. Second red card will automatically restrict the offender form participating in the tournament. The offender, after being served with red card, must immediately leave court and technical area.

Technical Officials in Kabaddi; Names & Responsibilities

There are seven technical officials in Kabaddi match.

1. Referee: Role & Responsibilities in the Match:

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 decide penalties, substitutions.

2. The Umpires

There are two umpires who assist match referee. They monitor the match and make decisions in accordance with the rules of the game.

3. The Scorer

He is entitled with the job of recording score 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 place, substitutes and team officials are in technical area.

They also assist umpires by monitoring the activities of infield as well as outfield players during the match and inform the umpires when deem necessary.

5. The Seventh official

He acts as a reserve official. In case any above mentioned officials is 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 7 players are allowed to participate in the match and rest 5 players wait outside as substitutes.

2. When lobbies gets Activated?

Lobbies are activated when there occurs a 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 successful or otherwise raid. On the other hand, it is not permissible when the raider delays his chant, attempts double raid, scrambling after struggle.

4. What is struggle in Kabaddi?

Struggle in Kabaddi

Struggle is basically an attempt that a raider makes for escaping after he is caught by the defenders.

5. What is a Super Raid?

A raid in which the raider earn 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 do 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 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 second, it becomes a successful tackle. See the image below

Tackle Point, The defenders are scoring a point by tackling the raider, Kabaddi Rules

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

Super tacke in Kabaddi, Kabaddi Rules

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.

Dash in Kabaddi- Kabaddi Rules


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 fitness and stamina that you might need while being on the court. Just go through 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 & regulation for major sports

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