Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Should Dodgeball Be a Part of a Physical Education Curriculum?

In our last Motor Development class, we had a discussion on different games and activities that were integrated into our PE classes growing up that are nowadays not part of a typical PE curriculum. Dodgeball in particular was a very hot button topic. Just about every student in the class, myself included, agreed that playing dodgeball was an enjoyable experience growing up. However, we also agreed that we were all very good at dodgeball whereas our former classmates who weren't as skilled in throwing, catching, and dodging probably did not have nearly as an enjoyable experience as we did.

As a future physical educator, I look at the game of Dodgeball much differently than I did when I played the game in elementary school. After 4th grade, my school district did not allow dodgeball to be played in PE classes and I remember being upset because of how much I loved playing. Now, I find myself defending the stance that Dodgeball should not be part of a Physical Education curriculum. Proponents of Dodgeball argue that it helps develop motor skills such as agility, throwing, and catching, but aren't there a hundred other games that can be played that do the same exact thing without making students human targets? I am lucky that I had the necessary motor development skills to allow me to succeed in Dodgeball back when I played in class because I can't imagine that being pelted with rubber balls is a positive experience. Bullying definitely exists in Dodgeball and since one of the goals of Physical Education is to get all students to enjoy physical activity, I don't see how Dodgeball is a good fit.

Generally speaking, the kids who don't like Dodgeball are usually less skilled movers and often, these are the students who don't participate in regular physical activity as they grow older into adulthood. Instead of forcing them to play an elimination game with questionable motives, why not integrate games that a larger percentage of students enjoy that maximize activity time and assist in developing motor skills equally as effective as Dodgeball?

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