Max Morrison makes himself a target to try dodgeball for Nouse

The second after I arrived at this edition’s Nouse Tries, before I’d even put my rucksack down in the corner of the squash courts, I’d already been hit by a dodgeball. There was only one way to describe this sport – organised chaos!

The session began with a short warm up, to get everyone moving for what turned out to be a series of fast-paced and exciting games. The warm up then continued with some throwing and catching based drills, as well as the most chaotic game of bulldog I’ve ever witnessed! Bulldog is a tag based game where the object is for players to run from one side of the hall to the other, without getting hit by players wielding the dodgeballs in the middle of the hall.

Having never played dodgeball before, along with some new starters present at the session too, the club’s President, David Gray, briefly explained the rules of the game for our benefit. Before I knew it, the first game was underway.

As far as tactics went, I decided to resort to the popular Ben Stiller film: ‘Dodgeball’, for some inspiration on how to play well. The ‘5 D’s of Dodgeball’: “Dodge. Dip. Duck. Dive and Dodge!” Surprisingly, this worked out pretty well for me. The basic rules of dodgeball involve teams lining up on each side of the hall, with a dividing line down the middle where balls are placed. The officials of the game then shout “play dodgeball!” and chaos erupts!

Members of both teams race to the middle to beat the other players to the balls in the middle of the hall. On some occasions, this ended up with players on the floor and some completely missing the balls they were aiming to collect! After that, it’s all fairly simple. If you get hit by a ball, you’re out of the game. If you catch an opposing player’s throw, the thrower is out of the game. If you get hit in the head, it’ll probably hurt, but you are not out in terms of the game; and, finally, you can use a ball in your hand to block any flying shots coming towards you, provided you don’t drop the ball you are using to block with.

Some of the more experienced players really knew how to aim and power their shots properly. For a novice like myself, however, I was a little rustier in this aspect. But I slowly got the hang of the rules, and how to survive in the game for as long as possible. I found out that I was much better at throwing the ball than I was dodging it. The aim and power of my throws was pretty good for a beginner, but I got hit way more often than I really should have!

Before one of the games, David announced a new trick shot he’d invented, which involved pretending to sling the ball forwards (like normal) but instead sling-shotting it round your back in an attempt to catch out your opponents. David decided that from then on, anyone who got a player out using his new trick shot, would be allowed to win back a player for their own team. The following games from then on were inundated with people shouting: “use the shot, use the shot!” I don’t recall anyone actually pulling off the trick shot successfully… but as the saying goes – practice makes perfect!

With dodgeball being a brand new sport to the University this year, David Gray hopes that this year will be spent working to get the club off the ground and moving towards a more serious form of the sport, as well as retaining the fun and social nature of the club which I experienced first hand. The club was really friendly, and everyone was easy to talk to and get along with. During the session, he also informed me that the club is currently in talks with a team in Lancaster with hopes to set up a game for Roses 2018 for the first time ever in the University of York’s sporting history.

As for how I personally found the game, the whole experience can really be described in a few words: energetic, exciting, and absolute carnage! The sport doesn’t just involve launching the dodgeballs as hard as you possibly can at your opponents (although it is a little about that!). It also requires the need for tactics, in the sense that, to survive for as long as possible in a game you must have your wits about you and be prepared to think about what you’re doing in such a chaotic situation.

Overall, dodgeball is seriously fun – it’s exciting to watch the carnage unfold, but even better to get involved in. If you fancy giving it a go, the club enrols new members all year round. And what better time to join the club than in its first year, especially with the prospect of some competitive play coming soon… Training sessions take place once a week in the Derwent Squash Courts, normally on Thursdays at 5-6pm.

If you would like to know more, or if you’re interested in dodgeball, contact [email protected]

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