Is There A Definitive Dodgeball Strategy?
Watching a pick up game of dodgeball would convince anyone that there is no such thing as a dodgeball strategy. On the other hand, if those participating have had lots of experience in the sport, or if two teams are playing that are teams in every sense of the word, if you pay close attention you'll see some things happening that suggest dodgeball strategies are very much in existence.
Dodgeball Strategy 101 – Dodge, Catch, Throw - Part of the problem is that dodgeball is for all practical purposes a grade-school level playground or gym activity. There is usually no attempt to "build" a team, or assign positions. It's a free for all. At this level dodgeball strategy is very basic, (1) dodge the ball, (2) if you can't dodge it, try to catch it, and (3) if you catch a ball, try and throw it in such a way that you'll hit someone and they will have trouble either dodging or catching it.
When you get to the level of athletic adults playing the game, in leagues, the above strategies still hold true, at least to the extent that if you don't follow them your team will likely lose, but additional and more sophisticated strategies will come into play. The situation is something like beach volleyball, which has graduated from a pick up game usually having the same number of players on each side, though the number would vary, and usually featuring at least a few playing volleyball for the first time, to competitive beach volleyball where everyone knows their assignment with respect to the position they are in, and everyone is very, very athletic and very, very good at the game.
Ever Changing Dodgeball Strategy - In football, basketball, and baseball, if someone leaves the game because of injuries or fouls, a replacement comes in. The strategies being followed may only be changed slightly to take into account the relative skills of the replacement. In hockey or soccer, when a player leaves the field or rink because of a penalty, the penalized team is one player short and strategies of both teams can change significantly. In dodgeball, players are constantly being eliminated, sometimes to reappear later, sometimes not, and strategy, when it is being implemented, is in a constant state of flux.
Individual Skills Dictates Strategy - It can be hard to implement any kind of dodgeball strategy as the game does not have well defined player positions, and even if it did, individual responsibilities would have to change as players were eliminated. However, dodgeball strategy of sorts can be put into place once the relative skills of the players on the team are known. Some will be better throwers, and that will be their job, some will have good hands, their assignment being to try to catch any ball thrown, while others are extremely adept at dodging a thrown ball and can serve as "bait" in an attempt to get an opponent to throw a ball and miss, giving your team an extra ball to work with.
Where The Balls Are Dictates Strategy - In a typical organized or league dodgeball game there are 6 players on a side to begin with. Dodgeball strategy may dictate playing in zones, with the so-called "wing" positions often assigned to the best athletes, those who have the most endurance and can also throw, catch, or dodge about as well as anyone on the team. Dodgeball strategy is often dictated by the distribution of the balls. There are 6 balls (to start with) and if each team has 3, the playing strategy may be different than if one team has 4 balls and the other two, and even more so if one team as 1 ball and the other team has 5. If the other team should have all 6 balls, you usually have to consider possibly sacrificing one of your players, one who is good at catching, better at dodging, and whose role becomes one of getting as many balls thrown at him (or her) as possible.
There definitely is such a thing as a dodgeball strategy, but it's a strategy that often has to be changed on the fly, and unless you understand the game fairly well, is sometimes quite difficult to recognize.