Girls Dodge Too! is our new Sport England funded project that will offer more opportunities for women and girls to not only play dodgeball but to keep doing so for years to come. From our 2020 survey we discovered that over a third of our members dodgeball clubs want to develop or introduce new women and girls club sessions, and in turn enter more female teams into leagues and events.
The initial Girls Dodge Too! project in England will engage over 300 women and girls of all ages and give them a fun experience of dodgeball that will keep them coming back for more.
Provide more women and girls with the opportunity to try dodgeball in a fun and relaxed environment and ensure that the experience they have is positive.
Provide participants with a progression pathway to allow them to progress from the taster sessions to regular club sessions through local festivals, leadership courses and a national festival.
Showcase the amazing women and girls we have within the sport and inspire more women and girls to play.
Empower our Girls Dodge Too! Ambassadors and utilise their skills throughout the project to ensure it is a success.
About the Project
As the initial project is funded by Sport England the project is focused on 8 areas of England, highlighted with the ambassador information below. Areas have been selected due to a particular high demand for dodgeball in those areas, insight gained from Sport England and Youth Sport Trust data 2019/20.
In each area our ambassadors will deliver sessions, attend festivals and promote the opportunities to local women and girls. In each area there will be a total of 8 taster sessions with each session targeting a minimum of 10 new participants. The sessions will be delivered to both under 16 and 16+ groups.
Once the taster sessions have taken place there will be a leaders course delivered in each area that will be open to sign up from those that have attended the initial sessions. Participants will also be invited to attend a festival after the training has been delivered that will enable them to play dodgeball matches against other groups involved in the project.
The project will conclude with a national Girls Dodge Too! Festival that will be open to all those that have taken part in the project and even more experienced women and girls from the dodgeball community.
At all times throughout the project new participants will be signposted to local community clubs. Where one does not exist and there is demand, we will work with local partners to develop a new club.
Girls Dodge Too! Ambassadors
Find out more about our Girls Dodge Too! Ambassadors by clicking on their image below to view their biography and what they have to say about getting involved in the project.
Although the Sport England funded Girls Dodge Too! project focuses on 8 specific areas of England, that is not where Girls Dodge Too! ends. Our ambition is to empower more women and girls of all ages across the whole of the UK to get playing more dodgeball. Below are some downloadable resources, videos and ideas that will help you, your club and your community get involved in #GIRLSDODGETOO!
The White Tigers
Q: What gave you the idea/drive to form a girls team?
A: We had a couple junior girls that consistently turned up to training but we found that the majority of girls that were trying the sport, did not continue after a couple of sessions. We thought that the best way to attract & retain participants was to try to form a girls team to encourage friendship & camaraderie between them.
Q: How do you promote and market your sessions to girls – any tips?
A: We have received funding from our local Youth Council & local Sports Partnership that has enabled us to run girls only sessions for free. Social media is the main outlet for marketing but we also have good relationships with schools who promote within. We have also had coaches volunteer at local School Sports Partnerships initiatives that promote different sports to children, in particular for girls.
Q: Do you adapt your delivery or treat the girls differently to boys – again, any tips to get better retention or engagement from girls?
A: We do have mixed training but the majority of the time the girls will want to & insist on staying together to play against the boys. We have invested in training female volunteers & parents as coaches, including our teenage members so that the girls can feel comfortable communicating with older females. Our teenage girls act as role models & will join the younger sessions & will quite often play in their team to help encourage & coach them on court against the boys. We are running a female dodgeball taster session this coming Sunday where we have a junior session & a women’s taster session. Our women’s team & our female coaches will all be helping to coach/assist.
Q: How is it going in terms of numbers?
A: We still get a regular flow of girls that only attend a couple of sessions but we now have around 20 aged 5-18yrs that consistently attend & take part competitively. The majority of our womens team have come through the junior teams.
Q: Anything else you want to share/anything you learned from this experience?
A: We find that the girls that attend tend to have a ‘pack’ mentality. The more the friendships grow, the more girls will attend & commit. We try to encourage them to be part of the team wherever we can. We allowed them to name the team & they have their own separate kit which they helped to design themselves.
Objective: Grow women’s section at the club and provide a range of opportunities to sustain female members
Plan and Market
We planned and booked to run a women’s only session instead of one of our usual social sessions. We then created a Facebook event on our page and promoted the opportunity using Facebook community groups:
- Mint Manchester
- Manchester Girl
- Hulme Community Forum
- Moss Side & Hulme Community Group
- What’s On Manchester
- Manchester – Gals Who Graduate
We made sure that as many members as possible helped with he marketing and used comments as well as posts in these groups to direct people to the sessions.
When it came to the session itself we had 30 going, and 33 interested on the Facebook event. In total we had 29 actual attendees (approx. 18 new women).
We made sure to run a beginner-friendly session the included some of the below:
- Talked about grip and throwing technique
- Mixed in experienced players in Bees kit who went through rules with those new to the sport
- Plenty of opportunity for socialising and matches
At the end of the session we announced next the steps for those who want to play further – playing at casual social sessions, competitive sessions etc. We also created a new members offer, that means there is no membership needed to attend a competition or members training session.
We also messaged next steps the day after the sessions to reiterate opportunities.