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By: Joe Brown
In your pursuit of becoming a Dodgeball Master.. first master the basic moves..

Don't listen to Patches, there are three main areas of dodgeball you need to master: the throw, the catch, the dodge, and you don't even need to master all of them. Meatloaf had it right; 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

1) Throwing:

The throw is important for a few reasons, one of which being so you don't ache in the morning or it stop you sipping your favourite tipple afterwards! Everybody finds their own way to throw to get the power and the accuracy, but a good place to start is to make sure when you throw, your elbow is above your shoulder. This will put less pressure on the rest of the arm joints, otherwise you will "whip" your arm when you throw, causing stress on your shoulder, elbow and wrist. You could also throw side-arm, keeping your shoulder and elbow horizontal. The best exponents of the side-arm will not only generate power, but swing too a la Waqar Younis in his pomp. Power is not always important; accuracy and picking your spots are very handy attributes to be in possession of. Throwers coming from the sides to pick off the aggressive throwers near the centre line can be extremely effective, and provide excellent protection and distraction from, and to, your opponents.

2) Catching:

The catch is the game changer. Catches win matches. The two person switcheroo. When you are down 4 on 1, or worse, a catch is the only thing that is going to keep your team in the game. You have to go all out to go for the catch, not worry about the other balls coming at you and just get that catch. When it is coming at you, accept it in to your body, catch it in your arms trapping it against your chest. Try not to catch it in your fingertips as a slight movement or misjudgement will lead to a drop and some misaligned fingers. Remember, don't over-celebrate that catch and be alive when you come back on - you could be the target of an eagle-eyed thrower. Catchers are the life blood of a team. A catcher that plucks the ball out of the air, snaffles the hardest chances and produces when is needed are the key to a winning team. They may be the unsung, unnoticed player but their contribution can not be understated, for without the catcher, there is no redemption.

3) Dodging:

Yes… 'dodge' is the name of the game!!! Be sharp, be nimble, be fleet of foot. Try and be elusive, keep on the move, but don't be predictable in your movements. Be like the boxer ducking and weaving from the on-coming jab, never giving the opponent an easy chance to hit the mark. If you are a motionless target, you are an easy target. The key to dodging is being able to dodge whilst doing one of the other two main areas. If you are getting hit whenever you go for a throw you are easy pickings. Being focused on dodging what you need to and catching what is catchable have to go hand in hand. Dodging to the very end does help. It gives you the chance to find that weak throw and get the catch, and also tires the throwers out. Unless their technique is spot on, they will be breathing heavy come the important legs, and their throws will be less accurate and less effective.

Dodgeball is a game that everyone can play and everyone can contribute to. Know your strengths, know your limitations. Three dimensions may be the new big thing, but like in movies, good 3D's do not come round that often, if at all. Be a master of one, be an asset to the team. Be a master of two, be on a championship winning team.


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