Health & Safety
The LDL is all about getting out and having a good time. Dodgeball is great because it gets you out and active, making a fun sport as competitive as you want it to be and challenging your body in ways it may never have been challenged before. But for all the reasons it is great, dodgeball also has related risks. It is a highly aerobic and demanding sport, and places you in an almost war-like atmosphere of competition. It is for these reasons that we have written this guide on how to enjoy dodgeball to the fullest without putting yourself in harm’s way.
1. Warm up and Stretch
Dodgeball is hard on the body. Dodging can require the use of pretty much any muscle in the body at a moments notice, and usually that use involves a fast twitch or stretch. Just like any sport, find a warm up and stretching routine that works for you. Don’t throw full strength right away: work up to it slowly as your arm warms up to the motion. On the same note, make sure you have a follow-through with your throw so that the force of the throw is dissipated more gradually. This will save your arm in the long run.
2. Keep your head up
Awareness on the dodgeball court is not only safe, it will also make you a better player. A lot of what makes the best players so good is the fact that they always see the play being formed and can react BEFORE the last second. If you are constantly reading and reacting to what’s happening around you, you are going to be good. Most of your attention should be focused on what the other team is doing, but there’s also plenty to be aware of on your side: who’s getting thrown at, where the balls are, what the doctor is doing, what people are communicating about, where to stand, when to be aggressive and when to back up. Keeping a cool eye on things as they shape up will allow you to plan instead of executing potentially unsafe last-minute reactions.
3. Doctor Saves
Doctors are selected for their ability to dodge and pull people back to the wall quickly. Key word: quickly. So you’ve got Mr. McBurly on your floor rocketing your tiny shagger body towards a cement wall, what’s a dodger to do? Experience shows that there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a head injury. Lean your head forward, or tuck it in front of your arm. Avoiding direct head-on-wall contact is certainly desirable for those of us who have experienced it. You can drag your feet to slow down too, but doctors do not usually like that. By the same token, doctors do not need to throw players THROUGH the wall to save them. Slowing down as you get close to the wall is very safe, especially when you are not under pressure. You have to be fast, but you have to be safe too.
It has become standard strategy during double doctor games to make a wall of people at the front to protect both doctors. With the doctor so close, it is tempting to make a suicide attempt to get over or around the crowd and get an angle to hit the doctor. DO NOT JUMP STRAIGHT INTO A BIG CROWD OF PEOPLE, WHO ARE STANDING STILL WITH THEIR ARMS IN THE AIR.
No one expects it, and there have been injuries. Strategic points to consider:
- The second you touch any one of them, you are out. If you haven’t thrown, your suicide is void.
- These stumps are all standing in front of you with their arms out, deliberately not moving, in a game of dodgeball. You can stand there with the shame ball and kill half their team (because you will get the ball back) and then they are stuck at the front.
- That doctor will very shortly be moving OUT of that crowd of still-standing stumps, and his only thought is hauling ass back to the wall. Many good players will wait in the wings and pick him off at an angle with a perfectly clean shot.
So be smart about it. Suicides can be super awesome, but only when no one gets hurt.