Wednesday, February 4, 2009

To have Dodgeball or Not?..That is the Question

Dodgeball..the ever so competitive, all out, target aiming and fun game that most children have been brought up playing in their schools for more than 20 years. And if it wasn't Dodgeball, then it was called something else. But, whether it was called Dodgeball or not, there has always been that game where balls are being thrown at other people and some, either fear for the sake of having a huge welt on their back or they show no mercy. So whats the problem?
The problem is, people are starting to question the safety of Dodgeball and the point behind the game. Most schools are terminating Dodgeball from Physical Education completely, while others are still keeping it with modifications to the game.
But whats wrong with Dodgeball? Here it is--Human targets. Some argue that when playing Dodgeball, we are using students as human targets, which is a negative factor about the game. Also, in Dodgeball, the weaker players are usually hit first and are forced to sit out causing them to be unable to participate. Not only are students human targets and the weaker links are getting picked on first, but the more athletic students are completely dominating the game and appear to be "bullying" the not so athletic students. Last but not least, the rubber balls that used to be used back in day hurt when some whips the ball at you; you would literally have a welt the size of a beach ball for a couple of days.
So why is there an argument after all those cons of Dodgeball? Because there are still pros to Dodgeball. First off, a lot of children love the game and it is a great way to involve everyone. The game also improves many different skills like aiming, catching, throwing, jumping, coordination, agility, and endurance. Unfortunately though, what do physical education teachers do about the students that aren't the best movers? That's where this well known, great game becomes not so great. All it does for these students is begin to even hate the word "Dodgeball" and resent their teacher as soon as he or she says the word, resulting in negative feelings about Physical Education; and us P.E. teachers don't want that!!
Personally, at the elementary level, I think that Dodgeball shouldn't be ruled out completely, but I think it should not be played like it was played 10 years ago. It should be played with modifications. For example, using soft foam balls and focusing on using other targets. Or you can play by simply only hitting the opposing player from the hip down, or use your non-dominate hand, or the ball has to bounce before it hits someone else. There are plenty of ways to modify the game and to still reap the benefits as before.
So--To have Dodgeball or not? That is truly the question.

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