Dodgeball is highly inclusive and any child can take part and enjoy the benefits of playing a fun game with friends. At British Dodgeball we encourage coaches to start supporting children of all ages to play, with those aged 4 and upwards ready to start developing key skills such as catching, throwing, movement and teamwork.
The amount of children taking part in regular physical activity across the United Kingdom is sadly not enough. At British Dodgeball, alongside our clubs and coaches, we want to play our part in improving this by creating as many opportunities for children to be active through dodgeball. Dodgeball is a young sport that was established as recently as 2008, it has quickly become one of the most popular (4th) and in demand (1st) sports for young people across the UK out of over 100 different sports. Dodgeball is played by over 650,000 children and at nearly 40 British Dodgeball affiliated community clubs on a regular basis. Our priority is to work with our clubs and coaches to sustain those participants in dodgeball clubs through regular and exciting opportunities.
Through the Club Development, Coaching and Case Studies below you will find out more about how you can get involved in the future of dodgeball, help develop new and existing clubs and even earn a living growing the game as a qualified dodgeball coach.
With over 650,000 children playing dodgeball on a regular basis across the UK and there only being 40 junior clubs in existence, the opportunity for more successful junior clubs to begin is huge. In this section our aim is to provide the tools that will encourage more people to do so.
No junior club can exist without dedicated adults in the local area that are committed to the running of the club each week. Examples of those running junior clubs currently include current or former dodgeball players, community sports coaches, parents, teachers or community youth leaders. If you have just 1 of these people then its a great start, if you have 2 or 3 then you’re on your way to forming a club committee.
Whether you’re a player, a parent or a coach, each one of you involved in the club will bring a specific skill set that can be beneficial to the development of the club. This may be an ability to engage and inspire children, knowledge of marketing, social media, organisational skills or just that extra pair of hands to help out at sessions.
Each person involved in running a junior club will have their own incentive, this may be to support their children to play the game, to earn a living from coaching or to help out the local community. As long as the end product is that more children are getting the opportunity to play dodgeball in a safe and fun environment British Dodgeball fully support whatever reason you have for running a junior club.
Facilities & Equipment
The vast majority of dodgeball clubs hire space at their local sports centre, high school, college or community centre in order to host their weekly training sessions. This system ensures there is limited risk to clubs as facility fees can be pay as you play and covered by participant fees. Venue providers will usually invoice on a monthly basis allowing you to collect participant fees in advance of payment.
Initial equipment costs are low in comparison to most other sports and are in the region of £100. Although this can seem daunting to begin with, there are lots of ways British Dodgeball can help, including supplying your club with a set of balls as part of our new club award or sourcing funding from local partners to ensure you have enough equipment medium to long term.
Marketing & Promotion
One straight forward and free marketing opportunity for you to use is social media and we encourage all new clubs to set up a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account in order to give your club a voice and advertise to your audience. You can also set up a free email account for your club such as firstname.lastname@example.org in order to give people another way of contacting you and keeping those club enquiries away from your personal account.
Posters and flyers are great if you have somewhere in the community to hand them out or put them up like at the leisure centre or school. We have put together the following downloadable templates, stock photos and promotional video for you to use to help you promote your new sessions.
Dodgeball Poster 1
Dodgeball Poster 2
Dodgeball Poster Template
Developing a successful junior dodgeball club is part of a step by step journey where the club must be sustainable at each stage in order to progress. Sustainability means having enough money coming into the club each week in order to not only pay your expenditure but allow your club to continually grow. Luxury items such as purchasing club playing kit may need to be set aside to begin with as the club prioritises getting enough money in from participant fees in order to pay for the hall hire, coaching and a minimum set of equipment.
Advancing from this early stage can be the most challenging for your club. We’ve highlighted a few proven methods other successful junior dodgeball clubs have used in order to increase their sustainability and grow.
Make sure the pricing of your sessions are right for not only your audience but also to ensure the club is generating enough income to pay its costs and save a little each week to increase its sustainability. Junior dodgeball club session prices can range from £2-£5 per participant per week depending on the area of the country and what membership plans you have in place.
School Taster Days
Giving up your time as a coach to go into schools and deliver taster sessions can be an excellent way of developing the sustainability of your club. It is proven that children will attend your club more regularly once a positive relationship has been built with the coach. In particular if children have seen the club coach in their school delivering an exciting taster session and handing out flyers then their first experience when they attend the club will be a recognisable face.
Setting a membership option that enables you to get an upfront fee for a block of sessions in return for participants getting a discount and benefits. Eden Dodgeball Club offer a junior membership plan of £25 per year that enables members to pay £2 instead of £3 per week and receive not only a members t-shirt but entry into a monthly members prize giveaway. The membership fees received support the club to have that cash in the bank at the beginning of each season.
Develop your Network
In order to grow your club it can be really important to develop partnerships with organisations within your local community that share common interest. Your local Active Partnership or School Sport Partnership if one exists where you are based are two examples of such organisations. Your Active Partnership is your county wide arm of Sport England and supporting an increased and sustained participation in sport where you live will be one of their key priorities. You can find out more about your Active Partnership via their website and engage them in conversations around your needs such as facilities, funding, promotion and training.
A great way to develop your club is to communicate with local schools and the network of School Games Organisers in your area to promote the sessions your school has on offer. School Games Organisers and British Dodgeball run inter school dodgeball competitions each year that act as an opportunity for you to promote your club to new children.
Apply for Funding
There are lots of opportunities out there for funding support and British Dodgeball is always happy to help you try and get funding for your club. Visit our club development and funding section to find out more.
Some age group sessions can, for whatever reason, be trickier than others to engage enough participants to make the session viable. If you are setting up a new under 16’s session and there are only 6 or 7 participants then setting up an under 11’s session where there is more likelihood of getting larger numbers can help support the club as a whole and take the pressure off the older age group session. Enderby Junior Dodgeball Club offer sessions for under 17’s, under 13’s, under 11’s and under 8’s.
The vast majority of junior dodgeball clubs also pay self employed coaches to deliver their sessions. If you currently don’t have a coach available then why not get qualified yourself? You can find out more about junior coaching in the next section.
Did you know you can earn a living as a self employed dodgeball coach? Well you can, and its a great way to grow the game, support the future of your club and provide fantastic opportunities that mean more young people are healthy, active and enjoying dodgeball. In this section you will find out more about how to coach juniors, what is required of you and some free resources to support you on your journey.
We believe there are 5 equally important areas of focus when delivering a session for junior dodgeball players.
1 – Plan Your Session
Be organised and build a structure to your session. The best sessions go with the most amount of pre planning. It’s also important to know the environment you are coaching in and the children that are attending. Ensure the children know the outcomes you want to achieve from the session as it will give them a viewpoint in their mind of where they are going to go to in the session.
2 – Think Safety
Make sure the space you are delivering in is a safe environment for everyone taking part, both physically safe and emotionally safe. Always conduct a risk assessment of the facilities you are using and ask children at the start of each session if there are any injuries.
3 – Use The Correct Equipment
Make sure you’re using the correct dodgeball equipment for the group you’re working with. Under 11’s use size 1 foam dodgeballs, Under 13’s and under 15’s use size 2 cloth dodgeballs and Under 17’s use size 3 cloth dodgeballs. Also available are adult foam dodgeballs which are great for delivering to mixed ability groups. When marking out your dodgeball court use throw down lines or court marking tape, cones can be slip hazards and should only be used for drills.
4 – Build Rapport & Have Fun
Talk to the children in your sessions and build a rapport. It also helps to talk to parents and get to know how the child’s day has been before the session to understand them better. Children want to attend your sessions to learn, to play a game and to have fun. Ensure your sessions are not over serious and children are allowed to express themselves.
5 – Reflect
Write down if there is any aspects that worked really well or that your would like to improve for next time. Talk to the participants and ask them what they have enjoyed the most during the session.
In order to coach dodgeball sessions you must have the following as a minimum:
British Dodgeball Level 2 Coaching Qualification
If you are leading a dodgeball session you need to possess a British Dodgeball Level 2 Coaching Qualification. Our Level 2 course is an 8 hour practical course that will teach you a full understanding of the rules of dodgeball and game play, core skills of the sport, coaching, variations and inclusive practices, refereeing, planning and delivery and evaluating and concluding. You can gain the qualification at the discounted fee of £60pp with coaches membership. To find out more about our available courses view our upcoming open courses.
Criminal Record Check
All coaches working with children and young people must have a valid Criminal Record Check. British Dodgeball offers coaches and clubs this service to aid recruitment in all areas of the UK. You can find out more here.
Safeguarding & Protecting Children
Having a valid Safeguarding & Protecting Children certificate is a pre requisite for those coaching children. The course can be completed either via an online classroom or face to face. You can find the next available course via our partner UK Coaching.
First Aid Qualification
Obtaining a first aid qualification is not a requirement to coach juniors but we strongly advise that at least one person within the club is a qualified first aider. This person should be present during your sessions. If you don’t have a qualified first aider yet then check with your facility provider as they will have a first aider on site if you’re using a public venue.
In order to ensure an adequate level of supervision as well as good safeguarding practice British Dodgeball recommends the minimum coach to participant ratios.
– When working with groups of children aged under 8 years of age, the recommended minimum coach to participant ratio is 1:8.
– When working with groups of children aged over 8 years of age, the recommended minimum coach to participant ratio is 1:12.
You can find our full guidance on coach to participant ratios here.
Below you will find examples of junior dodgeball clubs that have developed over the past few seasons, their story and how they plan to further their development in the future.
As a group of adult players we set up MK Cyclones Dodgeball Club in 2015. In the 2017/18 season we decided to set up a junior section at the club with the motivation being to ensure the club has a long term future and more young people are playing dodgeball.
One of our biggest challenges to achieving sustainability with the junior section was getting the word out when we first started it up. However, once we were able to do some lessons in schools we quickly grew in numbers and we have managed to sustain a good number of people ever since. We know there may be a struggle getting everyone back into playing once the pandemic ends but we’re confident our junior are eager to play.
Our junior enjoy competing in British Dodgeball leagues and opens against other clubs from around the country. They also come away with huge achievements, although never quite reaching the pinnacle, our youth team always puts in a great performance often leaving with either silver or bronze medals.
Through the support of British Dodgeball staff we have managed to secure funding for both equipment and for members to become trained as leaders and coaches. We have also received funding to deliver more sessions in schools and colleges in our local area.
We have many future plans for our junior club that includes providing more opportunities for them to represent the club as part of the competing teams. Our most exciting ambition for 2021 is the development of a women and girls session at the club that will hopefully see more women and girls playing the sport of dodgeball every week.
We (Hilly & Vicky) took over the club in 2016 from Mr Dodgeball as our own children, who weren’t typically main stream sports fans, had discovered dodgeball and absolutely loved it. We both played at the end of sessions with the children and discovered that we loved it too. We then asked Chris to set up an adult group which was open initially to ladies but we extended it to include all adults.
When it looked like the club would close because Chris moved away we were very keen to keep it going in order to continue to offer access to the sport for our children and the rest of the club.
Our first challenge was learning to coach properly so we enrolled on the coaching courses and set about creating the club. We changed the name to Wilmslow Wasps, created a logo and became officially established.
Our biggest challenge was….and still remains…..a proper venue. We are incredibly lucky that we use the gym hall of a local school but it can only accommodate one full size court. This means that we are limited to how big our club can actually get.
A challenge which does cause some issues is commitment. Not so much from children but adults. We have a strong core of children who play every week ….sometimes attending all 3 of our sessions but, for some reason, our adults don’t commit to regular sessions. Again we have a core but it’s only about 6 which is not enough to play proper games. However, as some of our children are getting older we are encouraged by their keenness to join our adult sessions and play at the next level.
Our greatest success is that we are a fully inclusive club that has introduced sport to children & adults who have never really enjoyed sport. We have run sessions in local high schools where the PE teachers have been amazed at the involvement of children who they had pretty much given up on.
We run 3 sessions a week – 1 children’s , 1 junior and 1 adult. We are passionate about inclusion and actively remind our members that every single one of them has a skill which is valuable to the team. We promote resilience, determination, humour, kindness and, as a result, we have a very close family-feel team. We have never allowed members – children or adults – to feel that they are the ‘best player’ . All our coaches follow our club ethos and guidelines on coaching – offering plenty of positive re-enforcement. That way we maintain a non-elitist team where everyone respects and acknowledges each other’s skills and abilities.
Our future plans focus mainly on getting children into sport. When the first lockdown finished we had a long list of children wishing to play but due to the return play guidelines we have had to create a waiting list. This has been very frustrating both for us and the children so keen to join. We certainly look forward to competitions opening up again. We have never had a ‘selection’ process based on skill or a ‘team hierarchy’ so every single member can choose to be part of competitions. Taking part in the competitions has been a huge motivator for many of our children and they are proud to know that they are regarded as one of the most honest teams in the country.
We are extremely proud of our club and all the members. We are delighted that parents tell us what a difference this has made to their child’s life. And likewise, seeing adults getting pleasure from sport when they thought it was all over. Our club is extremely friendly and welcoming. We have enjoyed time together outside of the club, and once lockdown ends, we are all really keen to see each other again. We hope that we will see new members – both young and old- and extend an invitation to anyone who wants to try dodgeball.