Come Join In is about welcoming new people to the sport of dodgeball and for British Dodgeball, its member clubs and partners to work together and provide an open and inclusive way into the sport. To do this we need all those with a passion for the sport to have the tools available to them that create opportunities for all people of all age groups to play the game. Dodgeball is an extremely new and developing sport, and its popularity, particularly with young people, is ensuring it is on an upward curve across the UK. As a small and new governing body our constant challenge is to keep up with this curve in order to support those that want to begin their dodgeball journey. We can’t do this without the network of fantastic and ever growing dodgeball clubs across the UK.
On this page we want to highlight those opportunities that are being created and developed, how you as an individual can start playing dodgeball and how clubs and our partners can facilitate growth.
Everyone that plays dodgeball, whether that be at school, college, university or as an adult club player, will have progressed along a journey that started with them discovering an opportunity to play something new. For many this would have been the Freshers Fair at university or a school PE lesson. But what about those adults wanting to try something new and have never played the game before?
The journey for a young person or student is clearly defined as they are in an environment that lends itself to taking part in sport. Opportunities will be available within the school, college or university and exit routes to local clubs will be well known. The only barrier being whether they exist in your local town or university.
Although Come Join In encompasses all opportunities to get into dodgeball, we want to focus here on the new adult player and their journey in the game.
Where will a person find out about dodgeball?
Dodgeball is not a mainstream sport, not yet anyway, it is not featured regularly on our televisions, in our newspapers or news articles. British Dodgeball works with a number of key partners to promote opportunities to play the game, one of whom is our member clubs. There are over 70 local community clubs in towns and cities across the UK that play a key role in advertising the sport to local people through their relationships with local press, county sports partnerships, local authorities, leisure centres, education establishments, the internet and social media.
You can find out more about our member clubs, where they are and how to contact them via our club finder.
First experiences last!
The hardest part for any club to get a new player involved is the initial time of them coming through the door into your session and playing the game. Once that’s achieved the sport should take care of itself, but there are a few things that we recommend you do as a club or coach to support the new player at this stage of their journey.
- Help them to feel welcome – it can be worthwhile for a club to assign a current member with the specific task of making sure new players feel welcome at their first session.
- Ensure the player isn’t out of their depth – putting new players into games where they are playing against the fastest throwers at your club straight away is probably not going to fill them with confidence.
- Make the sessions fun – if new players are taking part in sessions that are all about tactics, tournament play and are overly serious before they have even had a go at the game then they are more than likely to switch off. Make sure sessions are planned to be enjoyable.
- Build a rapport – this can be between the new player and their team mates, the club coach or the whole club. It’s important for a new player to develop an affinity with the club and its members for the long term benefit of all.
- Progress – new players will progress at different speeds. For some, the opportunity to play matches can’t come quick enough, for others the competitive side of the game will be the last thing from their minds. Ensure you build a relationship that enables you as a club to understand each players individual needs.
For players to be sustained in the sport it’s important for them to feel a part of something, whether this be the club or the wider dodgeball community. We have lots of information in our club section about growing your committee and enlisting the help of volunteers from within your club to support you to grow. This will also help the player feel like they are an important cog in the wheel at your dodgeball club, provide them with a sense of ownership and belonging. The next section focuses on opportunities we are creating at British Dodgeball to support new players in the sport.
The following are examples of opportunities British Dodgeball has in place currently or is planning for the near future to enable more new people to be able to play dodgeball. This is not an exhaustive list as new opportunities are being developed each year by our dedicated team. If you would like to find out more about any of these opportunities or there is another opportunity to play dodgeball that you would like to talk to us about then please get in touch via [email protected].
Already taking place:
Regional Leagues – In the 2019-20 dodgeball season British Dodgeball introduced regional dodgeball leagues in 8 locations. The leagues included over 40 teams participating and welcomed an impressive 21 new teams to dodgeball. Many new players to the sport took part in the leagues in what was seen as a welcome way into competitive dodgeball for players at this level. We will continue to develop our regional leagues by expanding to new locations, adding tiers and introducing mixed or women’s only leagues where possible.
Open Competitions – Our open competitions are available for all players and teams to take part in. We run a range of opens throughout the season, some feature different categories for men’s, women’s or mixed and some are large 40 team opens such as the British Open. Our opens present a great experience for new players, but be warned you may come up against some of the best players and teams in the country.
Youth & Community Groups – Not all opportunities to play dodgeball need to be as part of official community clubs. One area we are always supporting through our training and coaching is youth groups and community organisations such as the National Federation of Young Farmers, Boys & Girls Clubs, Youth Zones and The Police. These organisations represent examples of organisations that deliver dodgeball on an ad hoc basis in their community outreach sessions or events. Some of our member clubs are creating great links with organisations such as these to help grow their membership.
Accredited Coaching Companies – The number of accredited coaching companies partnering with British Dodgeball to provide new opportunities for children and young people to play the game is growing each year. Our relationships with these organisations ensures the dodgeball they are delivering is safe, correct and beneficial for both the health and wellbeing of young people and the growth of the sport.
University Dodgeball – Having a go at dodgeball for the first time at university has been a great route into the sport for so many since the sports inception in 2005. Our inclusion as an official BUCS Sport we hope will encourage more universities to set up dodgeball clubs and societies that therefore provide even more opportunities for students to play.
College Dodgeball – We’ve teamed up with the Association of Colleges Sport to provide a fantastic new offer which aims to get more college students playing dodgeball on a regular basis. You can view our offer in the college section of the website.
School competitions – With so many schools playing dodgeball on a regularly basis across the UK we are aiming to provide more and more opportunities each year for schools to take part in our competitions. Our competitions provide a great opportunity for children to represent their school against other children from other schools in a well structured event with qualified referees. You can find out more about our school competition offer here.
The following are areas of future growth for the sport, areas where we either don’t have the capacity yet as an organisation to work in or where there is limited demand at present.
Festivals – Many multi sports festivals or festivals involving sports take place across the UK on a yearly basis. These events have involved dodgeball before and are usually a lot of fun. The vast majority of people taking part are having a go at the sport in varying forms as a one off. Festivals can present a great opportunity for new players to try the sport and for those that are keen then links to clubs will be welcome. We will endeavour to link our member clubs to opportunities such as these when they present themselves via direct communication or through our club finder tool.
Disability Dodgeball – Played using the appropriate rule set and with the correct equipment, dodgeball should always be seen as a highly inclusive sport. Although the demand at present for disability dodgeball is limited we are keen to work with organisations and groups to encourage everyone to have a go at the sport. Our Level 1 Coaching Award provides some great knowledge of inclusive practices and working with differing groups, and our resources and rule sets have been designed in order to make dodgeball more accessible. We also anticipate that the new adult foam dodgeball will be a popular ball for certain groups. However, as the sport is only in its relative infancy our rule sets are adaptable as we hope to have more opportunities to develop disability dodgeball in the future.
Dodgeball for the Over 50’s – Dodgeball should not be only for a young demographic as many people over the age of 50 enjoy sport and the health and social benefits that come with it. We will be looking to support more opportunities for people in this age category to get into dodgeball and we welcome the opportunity to work with our member clubs to do so. The Cheadle & Gatley Griffins is one such dodgeball club who have welcomed over 50’s to their sessions. We have been pleased to work with them in order to access funding that has enabled them to do so more often.