Get an intense cardio workout while having fun

We all played it in school, the game that made us either love or hate gym class. But for most of us, that was the last time we played the sport.

If you were among those who loved dodgeball, take heart: adult dodgeball is being played in Calgary as a fun way to achieve an intense cardio workout.

Cole Jordan, director of the Calgary Recreational Dodgeball Association, says that the teams play as many games as possible within an hour. He says that their record is 39 games in one hour. There are 38 teams that play at various schools around the city on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Jordan says that the muscles being used to dodge are quite different than the ones being used in any other sport. There is a lot of cutting, jumping and running, which engages the leg muscles. When throwing, there is a lot of focus put on the shoulders and triceps. The movements of dodgeball create a full body workout, he says.

“It’s really fast paced. Lots of running and I think it’s surprisingly tiring,” Jordan says.

Dodgeball is a game that gives players instant gratification when they get a hit. With so many games being played, Jordan says it is likely the players will hit lots of people. Getting a hit is the rewarding part of the game but there is also the chance to get hit.

“It’s those high and lows,” Jordan says. “And it’s a game where you’re basically on the balls of your feet the entire time.”

Sometimes dodgeball games can come down to a one-on-one exchange.

Photo by Evan Manconi
Steve McLellan has been playing with the association for seven years. He plays two times a week and he says it is the best cardio workout that he has ever come across.

“I hate working out. If I have to go to the gym, I’m bored in 20 minutes, but with dodgeball you want to come out because you like your team and you like the other teams,” McLellan says.

Michelle Harrison, a special event manager at the Calgary Sport and Social Club, one venue where the game is regularly played, has been taking part in the sport herself for the last five years.
“Dodgeball is a great way to stay active because it’s so much fun. It’s something you look forward to going to. You aren’t dreading it like you might dread going to the gym,” Harrison says.

She says that anyone can join a team and start playing in a recreational division. She says that the skills used in dodgeball are very easy to learn as opposed to a different sport such as volleyball. People may be more nervous to join a volleyball league because they feel they need to already have the necessary skills. With dodgeball, there is a different mentality.

It helps to throw at the same time to make it hard for the other team to dodge.

Photo by Evan Manconi
“You pick it up so fast, so people that maybe were not as athletic in the past or don’t feel like they’re an athletic person, they can really shine,” Harrison says.

The Calgary Sport and Social Club is one venue where people can sign-up to play dodgeball. The deadline for the winter season sign-up is Dec. 19.

McLellan says that dodgeball is a game of fake drama and can seem ridiculous. He says, “It’s a recess-playground game but it’s so active and so intense that you feel like you’re in one of those cheesy sports movies.”

McLellan says that the goal of the Calgary Recreational Dodgeball Association is to provide a fast dodgeball game that is well played and well matched. There are three divisions, with Division 1 being the most competitive and Division 3 being the least competitive. He says the league is set up to accommodate new players, as well as provide experienced dodgeball players with high-level competition.

“It’s a really fun way to get in shape without taking yourself too seriously,” McLellan says.

emanconi@cjournal.ca