Basic Competitive Strategy
Written by Patches O'Houlihan Friday, 30 September 2011 21:23
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One of the biggest surprises I had was during my first day of league Dodgeball when I learned that there is “actual” strategy in dodgeball.  I had no idea when I walked onto the court for the first time that people would be baiting me into throws while others were waiting in the wings to pick me off.  That there were players who looked completely un-athletic  that could catch anything I threw at them and that if everyone threw their balls on your team at once that you would quickly be spending the rest of the game on the sidelines as a result of the melee that strategy produced.

As a result of the countless errors I’ve made playing I’ve learned quite a bit about Basic and Advanced Dodgeball Strategy.
  In the next couple paragraphs I’d like to go over some basic team strategy.  This all comes from a competitive perspective and if you’re playing recreational just for fun ignore all this and throw away.

First things first.. Ball control is king.  You have to keep control of atleast a few balls.  If you throw all your balls to the other side of the court at the same time you’ve literally handed that team your best player.  You should always have atleast one or more balls on your side of the court for protection. Only give up as many balls as required by the referee.  Doing this you’ll find that you’re keeping good players in for longer thus giving you a better chance to take a game or so off the opposing team.  I constantly find myself counting the number of balls we have and the number they have after each set of throws.

Other than ball control this is one of the hardest things for team to learn.  I can’t count the times I’ve run up to the line with the goal to take out a specific player and either had the person next to me throw at someone else just flat hang onto their ball while you get caught on a solo throw. I think the reason it’s so hard is players have a little bit of an ego.  They think they can take players out by themselves and make snap decisions at the center court line to throw at a different player hoping to catch them off guard picking up 2 outs instead of just the 1 out.  A successful team in my opinion is one that eliminates the ego throws at the agreed upon player together.  You’ll notice much more reliable success this way. 

It’s coming down towards the end of the game and you realize it’s just you and one other player that’s better than you on your team left.  You have only one ball on your side and the opposing team has all the rest.  Do you hang onto that one ball or do you give it to your teammate to protect him/her?  In my opinion if you think the person next to you is going to be next on the list for a multi-ball attack and they are either better than you are or more likely to take out more players if they survive, you should give them that last ball to protect themselves.  This is playing selfless.  You risk the attack turning your way, but 9 times out of 10 they’ll continue as planned and go after that same player.  Atleast they have something to protect themselves with and if they do survive… watch out other team.. you now have all the balls!

Communication is vital on a team.  Leaning over to your teammate and saying throw at the guy wearing the red shorts and white socks is inefficient. It usually results in your teammate going “there are two dudes with red shorts, which one?”  Also saying throw at #7 or whatever number is on the player’s shirt is also fairly bad.  One of you is usually visually searching around reading everyone shirt trying to find the person you’re talking about.  When you finally both find that specific number the jigs up and he/she knows you’re coming.

You need to make sure your team is communicating fast and very clear.  A basic numbering system is great of this.  Ignore the numbers on the individual player’s jerseys and ignore what they are wearing. 

Instead number the players in your head from left to right on the court.  Player on the far left is #1; the next one over is #2, the next #3 and so on.  These are “position numbers” and not actual player numbers.  So #1 is the first position all the way to the far left.. #2 is the player in the second position right next to #1, etc.  Players will move throughout the game, get out, etc.. so the player currently in the #1 position may not always be the same player.

Now when you throw you with your teammate you say “Throw at One” for example.  There’s no looking what someone’s wearing you both know you’re throwing at the player on the far left.  It’s quick it’s fast and you’ll find there’s a lot less confusion. 

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2011 21:24