I love dodgeball…have since I was a kid. I have a good arm. Unfortunately, its permanently messed up so I can only throw for five or ten minutes before my arm begins to ache. As a teenager I remember playing dodgeball regularly with Christian Service Brigade (CSB). We used this balls that had a tough rubber exterior. They zinged if someone with a good arm hit you – and of course, a number of us had good arms. At around 8″ in diameter they were hard to palm so speed wasn’t quite so bad, but then we had a few 6″ balls – and these fit perfectly into one’s hand and flew like there was no tomorrow.
I remember on one occasion one of the leaders at my local CSB letting that little ball fly. A leader on the opposing team took it right to the face. His glasses ripped into his nose. Ouch. I think we stopped using the little balls after that.
No need to go into all the gory details, but I’ll add to that that myself and several others probably experienced concussions at various times due to extremely painful headshots – and there are plenty of other body parts that were smacked and left in excruciating pain.
For the last five years I’ve led a youth ministry with my wife Charity at our local church. Of course, the teens oftentimes want to play dodgeball. I was oftentimes hesitant – not only could some of us (including the teens) throw the balls real hard, but the gym was very small – lessening the distance between thrower and victim. That is when we discovered gator skin balls – and these days those rough rubber balls never come out of the closet.
Gator Skin wouldn’t sound particular soft – but these balls – commonly in 6″ and 8″ diameter are made out of a foam coated in a thin but durable plastic. As such they have enough weight to fly rapidly, but give significantly when they hit – resulting in much less pain and agony.
Okay, so they aren’t quite as cheap as other balls – but they last a fairly long time and they allow for a lot more fun (nobody walks away crying [usually]). In this article I’ve included links to a set of gator skins through Amazon. Whether you are a teacher, pastor, youth leader, or otherwise involved in active sports such as dodgeball – I recommend these as a must!