What’s Coming this Summer Season
Despite COVID-related restrictions being prolonged by the government until late July, competitive dodgeball is still coming back this summer! British Dodgeball has confirmed that this latest development does not affect their competition calendar, which is chock-filled with opens and leagues to make up for the missing 2020-21 season.
What can you expect from the short but intense mini-season of dodgeball this summer?
The Events: Opens and Leagues
First up, everyone’s favourite: opens are back! Single days of intense dodgeball with a chance at winning some shiny trophies and medals at the end – what more could you want?
British Dodgeball is running a host of opens for both adults and juniors this summer. The full list can be found on their website, with a range of events hosted all across the country: from the opening event in Nottingham, to a pair of foam competitions in Manchester and Coventry, to a Scottish open (specific location still tbc). There’s mixed events too, and the expectation is that the foam events will be mixed. Junior events will be held in Leicester, Bolton, and Dunblane.
Overall the opens should provide a great way of easing back into competitive dodgeball, with enough events and locations that, in theory, teams shouldn’t have to travel halfway across the country to compete. Entries opened on the 31st of May, with many events already sold out.
Then we have the regional leagues. British Dodgeball has trialled regional league structures before, particularly in cities, as a way of letting more casual teams participate without having to battle their way through national leagues. Regional leagues are a great move for BD this summer, as it ensures player safety by limiting cross-country travel, while also packing a lot of punch in a shorter space of time.
Regional leagues will take place across four weekends: the 3/4th July; 24/25th July; 14/15th August; and the 4/5th September, bringing us neatly up to the start of the 2021-22 season. They’re open to all teams, including universities, and we can expect to see some national level clubs swarming in to make up for lost time.
The regional leagues will be run in:
N Ireland - Queens
N West - Manchester
W Midlands - Stafford
E Midlands - Leicester
S East – Enfield
N East - York
S West - Wiltshire
South - Southampton
And a Welsh league, which is still, at the time of writing, tbc. The deadline for regional league sign-down was the 18th of June. So expect to hear the line-ups soon, and let us know who your predicted winners are!
Obviously events won’t look exactly how they did back in ye olde pre-pandemic days, but at that, the differences are not as monumental as some might worry. British Dodgeball has outlined the steps clubs will have to take in their Return to Play guidance document, as well as a presentation they ran in mid-May. But we’ll summarise the main points.
All teams will have to complete COVID-19 registration forms for their participating players, as well as any support staff present (eg: coaches). These forms will have player names, email addresses, and phone numbers, so that everyone can be contacted easily if need be after the event. These sheets will be stored by BD for 21 days.
Players should complete lateral flow tests ahead of time, and generally try to engage in safe behaviours ahead of competitions. Most of competition rules are the same as the ones you’re already following for club trainings, including travel advice (try to limit cars to house bubbles where possible).
When it comes to the actual competition day, expect to see less people than you normally would at the event. Since regulations limit indoor gatherings to 1 person per 100sqft, this means, for a standard hall, 60 people can gather. This means approximately 8 teams of 8 players, allowing for event staff (including refs). These teams of 8 include any coaching staff, which means teams will have to choose between bringing 2 subs or bringing a coach and a sub. This will differ depending on specific halls and whether the regulations are changed over the coming weeks.
On top of COVID restrictions, bear in mind your own physical restrictions. Leagues and opens are more strenuous than your average training session, and, due to the long break, players might end up pushing themselves too hard to try to play at pre-pandemic levels.
Make sure that you remember to drink lots of water during the competition day, as well as in the run up to the competition and the day after. Stretching is also important: make sure you’re keeping limber during the day and warming up before each match. You should also be doing cool down stretches. You can watch our guide to warm-ups, run by Spartans player Alex Harrison, as a good starting point for getting back into things.
Try to make sure you get some training in before you launch straight back into opens and leagues. Also note, if you’re a super keen player, that some opens fall on the same weekends as regional leagues, so only book a double dodgeball weekend if you’re certain you’re physically up to it.
The summer of dodgeball is about to begin, so make sure you get signed down, suited up, and warmed up – ready to fill your trophy cabinet and meet up with some long-missed faces. Stay safe, and go get ‘em!
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