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Monday, September 26, 2011

Dodgeball: To Play or Not To Play....

I want to first make it clear what side I am on for this argument and I then will support my argument with key points. I am all for dodgeball in the Physical Education program. A proficient Physical Educator shall be able to use different variations and regulations in dodgeball to be able to make it a very physical activity as well as an activity that can be used to assess a student's skills. The first point I will make is that dodgeball can be played in a wide variety of environments, not just a gymnasium.
           The ability to be able to play an activity in different environments is at an upmost importance in the school setting. Especially considering the cut-backs that are occurring forcing the physical education program in small or restricting settings. But dodgeball can be played almost everywhere. Any size gymnasium, even a cleared, decent sized classroom, or outdoors. Another key thing is that if you were to take dodgeball outdoors you can play on almost any surface including, but not restricted to, any grass area, tennis courts, concrete, basketball courts, etc. And setting up boundaries are as easy as using cones, book bags, or tape lines.
           A lot of the people against dodgeball say that it is a dangerous, violent game and puts children at risk of getting injured. I highly disagree with that. Equipment for dodgeball is in fact very safe, gator balls. They are soft, very cushioned balls that in fact absorb force as soon as impact is made. Of my 3 years as a camp counselor I have never, ever seen a detrimental injury due to getting hit by a gator ball. Even if you were to search online or ask teachers, it is most likely that they have never had a serious or even minor injury from a child getting struck with a gator ball. On the other hand, sports and activities that include bats, baseballs, softballs, golf balls, gymnastics, etc. have seen serious and even fatal injuries. There is a safety risk in every activity that is incorporated in the physical education curriculum but I do not believe dodgeball is a high-risk activity.

           Another point I would like to make is that dodgeball is an activity in which a physical educator would be capable of using assessment tools to assess their students. Assessing a student's skills in dodgeball is as simple as assessing a student's skills in basketball or baseball. A physical educated person should be capable of developing a skill assessment for a dodgeball setting, as well as in any activity. You can assess students on throwing, catching, running, agility, jumping, strategizing, and much more. You can assess a large variety of fine motor skills in a efficient amount of time. Dodgeball also makes it possible for a physical educator to interact with the students during the activity and assess them first hand.
            The last point I would like to make is that with the proper variations, dodgeball can be a very active activity in which way more than 50% of the overall student population is participating for over a third of the duration of the activity. Variations such as Medic, Star Wars, Corner Ball, Octopus, Spider, Etc. make it possible for children to constantly be active during the duration of the game. Rules also make the game more active, safer, and more skills demanding. For example, a rule I have used before is that once you receive the ball you only get four steps and then you must throw the ball. Another that can be used to keep the game active is that if you get out, you must run to the designated spot, do an activity such as jumping jacks and then return into the game. Another is that if you catch an opponents ball, one of your teammates returns into the game. With so much freedom to make the game of dodgeball your own with rules and variations should encourage a physical education teacher to make this a very enjoyable, useful, and learning game.

             In conclusion, I want to state that dodgeball can be used as a progressive learning activity as well as an assessment tool for teachers. Teaching proper, educated dodgeball and variations of dodgeball can not be done by anyone. A physically educated person will be able to take this activity, make it their own and use it as an important teaching activity.

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