Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dodge Ball: to play or not to play

The topic was brought up in class whether or not dodge ball should be included in PE curriculum. I would like to state my formal opinion on the matter. I do not find traditional dodge ball to be appropriate for the PE classroom. However, this is not to say that the skills used in dodge ball are not important skills to posses. With this in mind, lets view the negatives of dodge ball.

The biggest problem that exists in dodge ball is the use of human targets. The idea that by striking your opponent with the ball, regardless of how soft the actual ball is, expresses an underlying theme of harm. Selective targeting of weaker, less agile, participants is inevitable.

Another problem with dodge ball is the fact that activity is not continuous. Like most other elimination sports, dodge ball's goal is to have one player, or a few players on a team, left in the game at the end. The problem is that due to selective targeting, those who would best benefit from physical activity are left sitting out with the majority of the class.

These are perhaps the two biggest challenges that dodge ball poses in the PE environment. My suggestion to any PE teacher is to modify the game to eliminate human targets as well as make the game non-elimination based. Try to come up with variations based on these two changes that still incorporate throwing, catching, dodging, and running. Do this and kid of all ages will enjoy themselves while learning basic skills to be active the rest of their life, taking the game with them outside the classroom setting.