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Since the 2004 movie вЂњDodgeball,вЂќ featuring Ben Stiller, dodgeball clubs and leagues have been sprouting up throughout the country, according to Greta McClain's article вЂњThis Ain't Your Daddy's DodgeballвЂќ in "Digital Journal." While you may not aim to become an elite dodgeball player capable of gymnastic stunts, even to play a recreational game, you need quick reflexes and throwing power or you may spend most of your time on the sidelines. The agility exercises and plyometrics used in such sports as soccer and volleyball can help to condition your body for dodgeball. Perform five to 10 minutes of light cardio to warm up before engaging in exercises.
Dodgeball is a game that requires quickness and reflex speed. You have to focus on the object speeding at you and make split-second decisions on how to avoid the ball's trajectory to avoid elimination. You can perform various agility and footwork drills, such as running sideways or backwards, shuffling and running obstacle courses, ladders and tires to improve your first-step speed and quickness, suggests David Sandler in вЂњSports Power.вЂќ For example, begin a ladder sidestep drill by standing with your left side next to the end of a ladder. Take a lateral step with your left foot into the first square. As soon as your left foot hits the ground, step into the same square with your right foot. Continue this pattern until you've reached the other end of the ladder. Reverse your direction and repeat the exercise, leading with your right foot.
Similar to soccer and volleyball players, dodgeball players qualify as overhead athletes. They have to use their arms, shoulders and upper body to throw a ball forcefully and accurately. By training with a medicine ball, you can simultaneously build power in your upper body as well as your core musculature, which makes these exercises highly efficient. For example, grab a partner and a medicine ball or the dodgeball and use two-handed chest throws forward to throw the ball back and forth. Next, throw the ball back and forth to each other overhead and backwards. Use either a supinated or a pronated grip. To increase the difficulty, throw the ball with one arm. If you aim to blast your abdominal muscles, do a sit-up toss in which you throw the medicine ball to a partner at the top of a sit-up.
Focus on Shoulders
To enhance your performance on the court and prevent injury, do exercises for your shoulder girdle. For example, a shoulder stability exercise begins by placing a rubber ball against a wall. Press into the ball with your throwing arm, keeping your arm straight and abdominals contracted. Slowly roll the ball to trace alphabet letters and avoid shrugging to complete letters. In addition, you can stretch your rotator cuffs -- the small muscles that cap and protect your shoulder joints. Stand with your shoulder blades flat against a wall. Extend your right arm in front of you at chest level and then draw it across your chest. Gently apply pressure with your left hand to deepen the stretch. Hold the peak position for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Games that simulate dodgeball can build your neuromuscular system and improve your motor skills. For example, a game of rounders motivate you and other players to pay attention to the ball. Begin with one team forming a circle around another team. The players standing on the outer perimeter must keep a size-5 sponge ball from leaving the circle. The players inside the circle must dodge the ball. Every time a player in the circle is hit by the ball, the other team scores a point. If the ball exits the circle, the inner circle players score a point. Rotate the teams between the inner and outer circle after a minute of game play.
About the Author
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.