THE BALL is very much in the court of a dodgeball coach from Leamington aiming to champion the sport.
Mark Allan, who plays for Leamington Spartans and has competed in the world championships, is setting up a dodgeball club for youngsters.
The game, which is popular in schools, involves two teams which aim to eliminate the opposition by throwing balls at them. Players must dodge the ball to avoid getting hit and eliminated.
Like professional team sports such as football and rugby, dodgeball has leagues, tournaments and a world championship.
There are almost 200 registered dodgeball teams in the UK and nearly 50 countries are expected to compete in the ninth world championship in Glasgow this September.
Despite this, the game is still considered in its infancy.
But the 26-year-old is aiming to change that by popularising the sport beyond a recreational level, when he becomes a full-time dodgeball coach.
He said: “Since January I have decided to follow my passion in life. I used to have an office job doing marketing but I’m now working to become a coach and do my part to grow the sport by giving kids the opportunity to learn and play dodgeball.
“My job is to give kids a platform to continue playing this fantastic sport and show them that it doesn’t just have to be a sport that is played as a treat at school.
“And if they grow a passion for it, just like netball and football, there are leagues and tournaments that they can get involved in and there are even routes into the national teams.
“I have spoken to hundreds of teachers and parents, whenever we talk about dodgeball, they all say how much their kids love playing it and they themselves reminisce over playing it during their childhood and it brings back good memories.”
Mark had his first taste of the growing team sport at university and has never looked back
“Taking up dodgeball is the best decision I’ve ever made. Before joining I was quite a shy guy, and because of the inclusive culture I thrived. It brought me out of my shell, made me a much more confident individual and now I’m planning to make a career out of it.
“I love the inclusiveness, it doesn’t matter if you’re big, small, girl or boy, there are so many different styles of play that no matter who you are there is a style that will suit you and play to your strengths. Also, the culture that surrounds the game at every level is like no other sport. Dodgeball is a family – it’s a game that is built on honesty and mutual respect which just makes it a joy to play.”
Classes are £5 and take place on Mondays at Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre for young people aged seven to 16.
Search ‘Dodgeball Club Leamington Spa’ on Facebook to find out more.