- DO IT: It is essential in order to stay alive! Don’t be afraid to take a risk and make a dodge.
- Keep on moving: Don’t be afraid to move your feet. Always be in a ready position in order to make a quick dodge.
- Be reactive: Waiting until a ball is released from a thrower’s hand is important in order to know where the ball is heading and gives you a better perspective on what way you should dodge.
- Mix it up: Dodging the same way every time is going to make it very convenient for the player throwing at you to guess exactly where you are going and where to throw a ball in order to make a kill every time. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you – watching other players dodge is a good tactic to learning new things, however, not every tactic will work for every shagger, so be sure to try lots of different dodging styles!
- Positioning yourself: As a shagger, you must watch out for balls coming at you from in front and behind. The perfect place for a shagger to be standing is marked with the white line, standing any further back than this will likely result in a ball off the wall making a kill.
- Use your knee pads: As a new shagger, it takes a while to get comfortable with using knee pads. Knee pads are essential, take note of some of the best shaggers you have seen. They all wear knee pads and they all use them. Being able to drop quickly and slide is going to make any shagger more efficient at dodging balls.
- Shag second: Shagging is important, however, you are not helpful if you are dead. Make sure to dodge first before committing to a shag as well as making smart shags. Shagging all the balls is ideal however if letting one ball roll back will save your life as a shagger, make the smart decision to let it roll back.
- Read the court:
- Dodgeball physics: Throwers, when cycling, will more often than not throw in a “V” shape ensuring their ball returns if they have not made a kill. Being able to read this, and knowing exactly where the ball will end up will give you a better chance at breaking the cycle.
- Helping each other out: The more successful teams are the ones that work together. As a shagger, working with the other shaggers around you to help each other out and shag all the balls that you can even if they weren’t thrown at you will result in a very successful shag line when it comes to shagging all the balls.
- Be strategic: Use your common sense to strategically make shags! When making a shag always shag the faster moving ball first regardless of what is closer (keeping in mind making smart shags). While making a shag on the faster moving ball, it is likely that the shagger will have an opportunity to make a shag on the slower ball on the way back, another shagger will make a save on the slower ball or a thrower will pick up the ball on the way to the line.
- Warming up and taking care of arms is a very talked about topic, however, stretching and the use of an active warm-up is also very important for shaggers. It is very easy to face injury when a player jumps on the court without any kind of warm-up. As a shagger, the warmup is going to not only prevent injury but it will help you as a player be ready to make a fast dodge right at the first wave.
General Tips and Tricks:
- Keep your head up: Always be aware of what is happening on the court, the game moves fast. A lot of the time, there are going to be 2 people throwing at one shagger. If you make a dodge on a first ball, make sure you are ready with your head up watching the second thrower or you will be killed every time.
- Stay aware: Even if you aren’t being thrown at (applies mostly for edge shaggers), always be aware of where all the balls are and stay aware that players will throw crosses from time to time. STAY ALERT.
- Don’t give up: Be aware that even if you are hit, there is always the chance that a ball goes into the air. DO NOT under any circumstances give up until you see that ball hit the floor. Get in the habit of looking up!! The ball could be anywhere!
- Communicate: As a shag line, everyone should be talking to each other! Help each other out by communicating if there is a cross, if a ball has gone up, if another shagger doesn’t see a ball that they can shag etc. etc. Don’t be afraid to talk!
Article By: The (usually) awesome Mackenzie Liaisons – Brendan, Dawit, Dylan, Jake, Sam, Wendy, Allie, Ashlynn, Conor, Victoria, and Angela