The General Guidelines of Kabaddi Game

The General Guidelines of Kabaddi Game

The Rules of Kabaddi

Kabaddi is an Indian sport played with two teams of 12 players, with 7 players taking to the court at any given time. The game is played on a rectangular court, which is usually a maximum of 13 meters x 10 meters. The midline divides the court into two parts and the court comprises the baulk lines, end lines, bonus lines and lobby area. The game of Kabaddi can be briefly stated as follows.

Kabaddi- the Game of Do or Die

The objective of the game is for your team to score more overall points than the opposing team. To score, a team must send a player (known as a ‘Raider) into the opposing half of the court whilst chanting the word ‘Kabaddi’ repeatedly.

A raider must only use one breath, and chant the word ‘Kabaddi’ repeatedly to show the referee that he is exhaling and not holding his breath. The raider's first goal is to reach over the baulk line. Failure to do it results in the raider being out, and cannot participate in the next part of the game. 

The next goal of the raider is to touch as many players as he can and make it back to the midline before he is caught and tackled by the defenders. He can do this in many ways: with a hand touch, a toe touch, a kick, or by trying to escape a tackle and reaching for the midline.

He gets one point for every opposing defender that he touches so long as he makes it back to the midline, all whilst repeatedly chanting the word ‘kabaddi’. And any touched defenders should get out and couldn't participate in the next round of play.

The defenders (sometimes known as Anti’s) will try and stop the raider returning to the midline, especially if one of them has been touched. They can use several tactics such as the ankle hold, back hold, front tackles and forcing them off the court entirely. If the defenders manage to stop the raider returning to his own half of the court, the raider is out and the defending team gets one point.

The End of the Kabaddi Game  

Once a raid has finished, the opposing team must send out a raider of their own within 5 seconds, or the team will lose a point. Got it? When a player is out, he must wait in the sitting block and is temporarily unable to participate in the game.

Once a raider has been tackled or a point has been scored, they are allowed to revive one of their own players out of the sitting block to re-join the team. It means that every time you score, you can revive one or more players back onto the field of play. The game is played in two 20 minute halves, for a combined playing time of 40 minutes. Highest score at the end of time, wins.

Kabaddi is the ultimate game of cat and mouse, as the defenders have to be far enough away so that they can’t be touched but also close enough to tackle the raider should he decide to make a run for it. This is a highly strategic sport, and there are a few more terms that you’ll need to understand before playing or watching a game, for example:

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The Lobby

The lobby is an extended area of play, which is denoted by the yellow areas here. These are only active when a defender has been touched, and give both raiders and defender more room to try and score or get the raider out.

The Bonus Line

As mentioned before, if a raider puts one foot on the bonus line with one foot in the air, he will score one point so long as he makes it back to the mid line. However, the bonus line is quite far from the midline, and reaching for this line makes it easier for a defender to tackle you. The bonus line is only active when there are 6 or 7 defenders on the court.

Super Tackle

If there are three or less defenders on the defending team and they manage to tackle a raider, this is known as a super tackle, and scores two points. One for eliminating the raider and a bonus point for doing so with 3 or less defenders.

Do or Die Raid

If a team has two unsuccessful raids (i.e. they scored zero both times), the third raid is the ‘do or die raid’. Failed to score in the third raid results in the raider being out.


A pursuit is where a defender charges at a retreating raider with the aim of scoring a quick point off him. This is usually done if the other team is slow to retreat from a raid and a defender is close enough to score a point and make it back to the mid line quickly before the other players realize.

All Out

If in the rare instance a raider gets all the defenders out in one raid, this is known as an ‘all out’. The raiding team gets one point per player and an additional two points. All players are revived after an all out.

Last Line

To the uninitiated, Kabaddi seems strange, confusing and even ridiculous. But once you understand the rules, it becomes an interesting sport to watch. 

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