Throughout 2016, we will be posting a series of guides with the aim of improving our readers’ dodgeball skills around the world. We will cover the most common skills in dodgeball, breaking them down into their desired objectives, techniques and successful tactics.
This week: Catching!
Catching is great! Not only does it get your opponent out, but it allows one of your teammates to come back in. Let’s talk about how to up your catch success rate.
Sadly, catching is hard to do well – often people think some players just have the ‘knack’ to catching and that’s that. This is a lie – it takes hard work but anyone can develop their catching skills with the right motivation.
Rule #1 of catching: Always think whether going for a catch is worth the risk of dropping it; you cannot impact on the game if you are out, so don’t do your opponent’s job for them by going for silly catches and dropping them. The following tips should help you improve your catching quickly…
– Stand in the ‘ready position’. Like being a loaded spring, this position lets you dodge quickly or make a catch as needed (more info here).
– Do not ‘fish’ for catches; stick to catching balls aimed at your chest that are hard to dodge.
– Watch the ball all the way from the thrower’s hand into your arms.
– Use your entire body to catch the ball, not just your hands – let the ball hit you as you fold your body around the ball, trapping the ball from bouncing off your chest with your hands.
But what if a ball is thrown at your legs?
Low catching is a useful skill as many players throw low to avoid being caught. The most important thing to make sure of when catching low balls is that you bring your chest low to the ground. You can do this by dropping to your knees (if wearing knee-pads) or squatting backwards into a low sitting position. You are doing this so you can use the surface area of your chest to make a catch – don’t just go for catches with your hands when low.
Hopefully you have found some of these tips useful, but there are no shortcuts to becoming a top class catcher – you need to practice, practice, practice until you get the ‘feel’ for cushioning balls against your body to stop them safely. Once you can do that, you can think about taking riskier, more dramatic catches to bail your team out of a sticky situation!
Manchester Bees are one of the largest dodgeball clubs in the UK and have 2 international head coaches alongside 8 regular international players. As such, the club has a wealth of technical coaching experience and our sessions are one of the best places to come to in the UK if you want to improve yourself as a player (or just have fun playing an exciting new sport)!