The game consists of two teams of 7 players on a 10 by 13 meter pitch. The pitch is split into sections, primarily in two halves by the mid line/center line. A game lasts 40 minutes with 20 minutes for each half.
Each team takes turns to send one player into the opponents half, called a raider, and their aim is to try and touch as many players as they can, with any part of their body, and make it back to their half within 30 seconds. However the opposing team, called defenders, can tackle you at any moment.
Throughout the 30 second raid you must chant the word Kabaddi repeatedly without breaking the chant, adding yet another dimension to the game.
Raiding and Defending
For each successful touch you will gain one point for your team, and if a successful tackle is made the opposing/defending team scores a point.
For example if you successfully touch 3 players and make it back to your half by crossing the mid line with any part of your body you will win your team 3 points. However if you are tackled and do not make it successfully back to your half the defending team will get a point and you are knocked out of the game.
If you are knocked out you have to sit in your team’s sitting block. Similarly if you successfully touch 3 players then the opposing 3 players are knocked out of the game and they have to sit in their team’s sitting block. The knocked out players have to sit in their blocks in the order they got knocked out.
After a raid is complete, it is the defending team’s turn to raid and they will send a player from their half to raid in the opposing half. The raider and the players in the opposing half have now become defenders. So all the raiders are also defenders which makes the game unique in that sense.
The team with the most points at the end of the match will win the game!
If one team has less than 7 players on the pitch due to knockouts then these players can be revived if their teammates earn points. For example if there are only 4 players left in your half and your teammate scores 2 points on the raid, 2 players can then come back into the game and you will now have 6 players. Likewise if you start with 4 players and your team makes a successful tackle you can revive 1 player and so there will be 5 players now on the pitch. The players are revived from the sitting block in the same order they were knocked out.
As well as raiding for less than 30 seconds, the raiders must cross the baulk line/check line in order to make the raid legitimate, if they do not the opposing team will gain a technical point.
You cross the baulk line by either crossing over the line with both feet or with one foot whilst the other foot is in the air. The whole foot must be over the line and not touching the line.
Bonus points can be obtained by crossing the bonus line, only one bonus point can be obtained per raid. The bonus point can be collected in the same way as you cross the baulk line with two feet or one foot with the other in the air. The bonus point can only be taken if there are 6 or more defenders on court, otherwise the bonus is not available.
The Lobby area is only active once a touch has been initiated, it is simply to allow extra room for the raider to try and get back.
The end line defines the outer perimeter of the pitch, whilst a raid is going on, if any defender crosses the end line OR steps into the lobby before a touch has occurred they are deemed out and an official will pull them out of the game straight away. The player is then knocked out and a technical point is then given to the raiding team, but the raid still carries on with the remaining defenders. One technical point is awarded for each defender that steps out of the court during a raid.
If the raider steps into the lobby without a touch having been initiated OR crosses the end line they are also deemed out and the raider is knocked out. The defending team will pick up a technical point in this case.
If a touch has occurred, then the defenders are allowed into the lobby and they can go over the end line however some part of the body must be within the pitch or they will be out and technical points will be awarded to the raiding team.
Likewise if a touch has occurred and the raider steps out or gets tackled out of the lobby area the point is awarded to the defending team only if no part of the raider’s body is in contact within the pitch area. The raider is then deemed knocked out.
If the Kabaddi chant is broken then the defending team will gain a technical point and you will be knocked out. Similarly if you raid for longer than 30 seconds the defending team will gain a technical point. In both cases the raider will be knocked out.
If all 7 players are knocked out from one team then the opposing team will gain an additional 2 points and all 7 players are then revived and back in the game, this is called an all out.
If there are 3 defenders or less, and they successfully catch the defender then they will be awarded 2 points instead of one point, however only one player will be revived in this case. This event is called a super tackle.
In the unlikely event a raider scores 3 or more points in one raid this is called a super raid.
If a raider does not get a point on the raid and crosses the baulk line, and gets back to their half within 30 seconds without being tackled, then this is called an empty raid. The same team cannot have 3 empty raids in a row.
The third empty raid is called a do-or-die raid, meaning the raider has to collect a point, bonus or touch, otherwise the raider is deemed out, and the defending team will get a point. This is to prevent time wasting if a team is ahead in the match.
The 7 players adopt the most efficient formation which consists of a 2-3-2 formation. The two players on the ends are called corners, left and right corners respectively. Their partners are called ins, left and right in respectively. The middle player is aptly called centre, and the two players adjacent to the middle are called covers, left and right covers respectively.
It is usually the ins and middle players that predominantly raid, however any player in the pitch can raid, and they all must defend.
More on techniques later, but if you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to get in touch!