Dodgeball is cool ... if you know what you are doing!
Thanks in large part to that goofy Ben Stiller movie from 10 years ago, we have seen a big revival in Dodgeball leagues and events at FunCorp. Perhaps some are trying to wash away some bad memories from PE class, and others are just trying to remember the good old days.
But whether you use FunCorp for a company dodgeball party or not (and we wouldn't recommend it for most offices) here are 3 big ideas we see over and over again that can help you out whether you are trying to run a fundraiser, a company league, or just a 1 day tournament:
1) START the right way
Sure you can grab any rules off the internet and get going. But the STARTING LINE is one of the most important parts the safety of the game.
Traditionally a Dodgeball Game will start with 6 or 8 balls lined up on the center of the court. The main idea is that both teams will run up and grab the dodgeballs off the starting line. So one small piece of advice.
DO NOT LET PLAYERS GRAB ANY BALL OFF THE STARTING LINE!
What you don't want is players diving or even fighting for balls on the starting line. Normally 6 balls will be divided up 3 to each side, where 1 team can ONLY grab their 3 balls and then throw them back to their teammates to make them "go live."
New dodgeball players, or even excited ones, will just run up and grab any ball, to start each match, which is the last thing you want them doing. Its a small concept, but one we have seen people struggle with over and over again. Assign balls on the starting line to each side and tell them they can only grab that side. Well who should tell them that? What a great segway to idea #2
2) Hire real Refs!
Yes yes we know, your just schilling for your amazing FunCorp Services! But even if you dont use us, please use someone. A fun day of dodgeball will easily be ruined by one or two people who will act like dufus'es if there is no referee around. Matches can easily disolve into back and forth bickering about who went out of bounds, whether the balls was caught or trapped or blocked, and yes (shockingly) if a player was hit on the foot or not.
Some companies get this, but then they ask for volunteers, which we think is sometimes even worse. If you are looking for a fun company activity, sticking Joe from accounting into a position to make instant enemies and not do what he is good at is a bad recipe for long term friendships in the office. You want an outside reffing crew making tough calls and being the enforcer and not creating that dynamic in between your co-workers.
Let them work on their celebration dances, and let an outside reffing crew (hopefully wearing ref jerseys!) make the tough calls and keep the games safe and moving along.
Speaking of safe... lets finish with the most important idea of all.
3) Please use FOAM DODGEBALLS!
This is a tricky one, but perhaps the most important. Because nostalgia brings along many requests for that magical red rubber dodgeball with the wavy pattern that everyone remembers. And they are really cheap too! The only problem is they really arent very fun.
We would ALWAYS recommend using a foam non-sting dodgeball. The sizes may vary based on the ages of your group (is this a family event with kids?) but using non-foam balls is just asking for your games to grind to a halt when someone inevitably gets hit in the face, not even on purpose. Don't get us wrong, getting hit in the face in general is no fun (make sure your rule-book deals with "head-shots) but foam dodgeballs will make things much safer and more fun for your co-workers. It will also help with the intimidation factor if some of your employees dont even want to get on the court. We have seen many situations where letting someone hold and squeeze a foam dodgeball will change their perspective on getting involved.
Again Dodgeball is a fairly intimidating sport, and not one we would recommend for most offices, but if you just have to do it, do yourself a favor and use a quality foam dodgeball.
For an extra pro tip, if you are running more than 1 court, try color coding the courts with 2 different color balls, so red goes with 1 court and blue with the 2nd court. When balls invariably fly back and forth it will make the refs and the players experience much better with different colors for different courts.
Keep these 3 big ideas in mind next time your co-workers ask for a dodgeball party, and have fun out there.
Your FunCorp Friends.