Dodgeball is a simple game, played by simple people. That is too simple an analogy to best express the fast, fun sport that dodgeball is. There are many different intricacies and nuances to the game, each of which can be mastered and moulded to better develop your competitiveness and enjoyment. Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge are no longer the five points to the dodgeball star.
Dodgeball is a story, and each story has a beginning, middle and an end. Within these bedrocks, we find the keys to turning a disadvantage to an advantage, taking advantage of situations and the keys to winning.
The start may not seem important, but this initial coming together can be the beginning of the end for the opposition, rather than the end of the beginning. The first sprint to the centre line, can determine who is in possession of the advantage. Tactics are essential here. You need to know your opponents; know their strengths. Getting out someone who can cause you problems later in the game early will stand you in good stead, getting out a player that can help you by providing an easier catching opportunity will only take away your options when the end of the end comes. You need to ensure your fastest players go all out on the sprint. Once they gather the ball, they have two options. Either they pivot and cross the initial no throw line as soon as they can, and take aim and throw, picking off who they can, or they knock the ball back to a teammate who is following up, on the initial no throw line. That then gives them the opportunity to pick off whoever they want, either someone who is still making their way to the centre, or someone who is making their way back or anyone they see fit. Having a crisp retrieve and set, is a great opening tactic that enables you to have the advantage, going in to the middle game……..
The middle game is best described as the time between the start and the end, obviously, but more succinctly after the opening has calmed down and reset, and before the fury has finished. The middle game is a fury. It is frantic and it is fast. Each player needs to be aware and keep their head on the swivel. The best tactic during the middle game is to know your weaknesses. If you can’t throw, don’t. If you can’t catch, don’t. If you can’t dodge, well there is nothing you can do. That isn’t exactly right. If you can’t dodge, you can be the target. I always end up as the target when playing Dodgeball in London. A thrower is at their weakest, when they throw, or just after, and if they are distracted at picking off someone that can’t dodge, they can be picked off themselves. The best way to do this is, is from the side, from the wing, the back wing. You can be effectively behind the thrower when they throw, to then pick them off easily, without the need for power, or a great deal of accuracy. This is a great way to get rid of attacking, front wing players, especially with your unassuming weaker players. A massive momentum changer.
When he middle is done, and one side is down to a couple of players, the end game begins. The idiom that catches win matches, could not be more relevant than here. A catch, for either side, could not be bigger here. 4 on 2, either becomes an almost unassailable 5 on 1, or is turned right around back in to 3 on 3. There is no way you can turn around 4 or more on 1 without a catch. Whoever is left must pick their spot to go all out for the catch. There is no point taking out the weaker throwers at this stage, as you are just limiting your chances of a turnaround. Keep the balls away from the stronger players, keep them at the back, with some accurate, low throws, then be alive for the weaker throwers trying to pick you off as per the middle game. Knowing they are coming and getting the catch, can sometimes be, the only thing you need to win. Once you have more than one player, you can take more risks and play the clock to your advantage. Again, try and take out the strongest player, or keep them out of the game. If it comes down to one on one, the middle game mind set comes back to the fore. Remember your weakness, or more importantly, rank your strengths and weaknesses. If you can dodge, dodge like your life depends on it, if your next best strength is to throw, then don’t try to catch, instead pick your time to throw. If you best strength is to catch, don’t even try and hit them, keep dodging, tire them out and pick the throw that is going to be your best chance of success. Do not be too cautious, and do not be too adventurous. Balance will help you throughout all the bedrocks of dodgeball.