GiveToLocal: When can dodgeball players expect to return to action in indoor and outdoor settings?
British Dodgeball: Outdoor sessions resumed at the end of March. Indoor junior sessions started on April 12, indoor adult sessions (rule of six) are allowed from May 17 and we can look forward to a full return with no restrictions from June 21.
GiveToLocal: How safe will it be for players to return to action?
BD: Following the measures outlined in our approved return to play guidance, it should be very safe to return to play. It seems that an increasing amount of evidence is coming out that transmission of the virus through equipment transfer is limited so this could help to alleviate people's worries.
GiveToLocal: How much of a challenge has it been for BD to prepare for a return to sport following a year of unprecedented disruption?
BD: It has been tricky! Our activities as an organisation have had to completely stop in many cases. We’ve had to adapt to create online versions of our introductory courses. It’s been hard to gauge the landscape of our clubs but we know that dodgeball is still extremely popular in schools and in casual settings. We can't wait to return and get some competitions and leagues started again.
GiveToLocal: How much enthusiasm is there for a return to dodgeball across the country?
BD: Almost 300 teachers have taken our Introductory School Dodgeball online course in March. This is amazing and shows the appetite for the sport in school settings. Some clubs are still, understandably, in hibernation mode but others have been engaged in our Stay At Home Games with their latest videos getting thousands of views and hundreds of votes across our social media channels.
GiveToLocal: Are you concerned that there will be a drop off of players compared to pre-pandemic numbers or do you anticipate an increased demand to play dodgeball?
BD: We are concerned about a drop off and barriers outside our control could affect clubs. We can’t necessarily control reduced availability at venues due to financial difficulties or compensate for key club volunteers moving away from the sport which means transition periods in terms of club leadership. That said, we think there will be an explosion of new players wishing to take up a new sport and meet new people as we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic.
GiveToLocal: How have you been communicating with BD members during the last 12 months?
BD: Social media, emails and through our website.
GiveToLocal: Can you describe some of the toughest challenges your members have faced during the last 12 months?
BD: All of the regular challenges that everyone has potentially experienced — stemming from isolation and a lack of opportunities to get active and socialise. Additionally, our players form a very tightly knit community and they’ve not had the chance to meet with one another and use this as an opportunity to have fun and blow off steam.
GiveToLocal: As a governing body what are the toughest challenges (beyond the return to sport) that BD has faced since March 2020?
BD: We’ve had to deal with a significantly reduced income from the previous year and it’s difficult to engage members when the sport you’re set up to support can’t be played in its traditional setting. We haven’t had many opportunities to train new coaches and upskill teachers/community leaders.
GiveToLocal: How has dodgeball been supported by additional/emergency funding during the last 12 months?
BD: Many of the staff members have been on the furlough scheme. British Dodgeball has not accessed any direct additional/emergency funding. But we have supported clubs to apply for and to gain funding for services which we can provide such as coach education, equipment provision and marketing support.
GiveToLocal: Do you anticipate a shortfall in income across the board?
BD: Yes. We have had less opportunity to run events and coach training which forms a major part of our organisation's income. Clubs themselves may have fewer members as previous members may have become disengaged or moved away for other job opportunities etc. This means clubs may enter fewer teams into competition — or not enter at all — until they are re-established, having a knock-on effect on our income.
GiveToLocal: How can an organisation like GiveToLocal help dodgeball clubs and their members to look forward to a bright future?
BD: By providing a platform that clubs can use to support themselves financially. As indoor venues become more expensive annually then being able to remain sustainable, whilst paying for training space, is of vital importance. If clubs don’t have their full member base returning to their organised activity then it’s an added problem.
GiveToLocal: Is the future bright for dodgeball?
BD: Overall, yes it is. Before the pandemic, we saw an amazing annual club growth of 25% per year. Dodgeball continues to be extremely popular at junior level, being one of the most played School Games sports (10% of all School Games events were dodgeball in 2019) and in the top five most popular school sports according to the Sport England Active Lives Survey. These two facts mean dodgeball has huge potential to grow as children playing in schools grow up and find — or form — more and more clubs and opportunities where they can continue to play. But returning to play for the next 12 months will be a very tricky time for the sport. It will require extra efforts from club volunteers to make sure clubs remain solvent and help the British dodgeball community recover from the trauma of the pandemic.
Could you coach Dodgeball?
Sport is now returning and with it comes an offer from British Dodgeball to receive discounted training as a dodgeball coach!
More than half a million people play dodgeball each week in the UK and Ofsted revealed dodgeball is the most in-demand sport in primary schools (June 2018).
You can book to attend any upcoming Level 2 coaching course this spring or summer with a 25% discount by using the code aprilcoach.
You don’t need to have completed the Level 1 coaching course to attend the British Dodgeball Level 2 coaching course. Have a look at our upcoming courses and book here