Dodgeball in Philadelphia Sports Network

Updated: find photos from our second season here.

The Fishtown Fish came in fourth place out of 10 teams in the 2011 Philadelphia Sports Network co-ed dodgeball league.

Led by Captain Patch, the nine of us league-first-timers started 0-2 but were then undefeated through the rest of the weekly Thursday night season, until we lost our last meaningless game, going an overall 4-3-1.

Played at the 12th Street Gym in the Gayborhood neighborhood of Center City, the matches are played six versus six players at a time, each side on one half of a basketball court. Hit someone with a ball, that player is out. Catch a throw, the thrower is out and you bring one of your players who was out back in.

Some lessons and strategy we learned while playing our first season. Yes, this is serious stuff.

  1. Get opposing players out in descending order from most talented to least talented, because with more people on the court, it’s easier to get a better player out, due to confusion, etc. Also keeping a weaker player in the game is someone who might make a bad throw to catch.
  2. Strike as one, against one person, calling out what opposing player everyone should target.
  3. Throw low, as those balls are harder to catch and can rise but still hit the target. This is particularly important for slower throwers, as an easy catch not only gets the thrower out but can bring someone else on.
  4. Catch only what comes to you, not worth lunging or taking the risk. Still catches are big momentum turns, so do try, but focus only on bigger, slower balls. A catch is doubly valuable when it brings a player on and gets another player out, so the risk is less worthwhile if all of your players are still on the court.
  5. Watch the quick release throws from the other team to hit that player when everyone is first racing for the balls at the beginning of the match.
  6. Bigger, slower balls are better for blocking than throwing. Big balls are easier to catch and so are harder to get someone out with. Other teams often prey on slower throwers, including some women, so be wary.
  7. Have a regular, easy, fair subbing system, so everyone gets same times out, the talent is spread and everyone feels like he’s getting equal opportunity. Be willing in the final game(s) to go with the best lineup.
  8. Throw against the wall, rather than diagonally across the court whenever possible so the balls have a better chance of rolling back if you miss.
  9. Let ref call you out, as mistakes will be made against both teams in a recreational league, so wait to be called out, and, in return, don’t complain when the other team doesn’t call itself out.
  10. To start game, person who gets balls should hold big ball for defense, as many teams try to quickly attack the early runner.

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