Tag Archives: dodgeball

Octoball

At a Doe River Gorge, a Christian campground in Elizabethton, Tennessee, my family was introduced to the game Octoball. An easy game to learn, it’s been a hit with all of my children, and it’s a game they can all play together.

Octoball is an outdoor game played in an octagonal “ring” made of eight boards, each one 12′ x 8′ x 2″. New wood from the lumber store can be expensive, but older pieces can be used. Once the ring is set up, all you need is a volleyball, and you’re ready to play.

The object of the game is similar to that of dodgeball — avoid getting hit by the ball. The last person standing in the ring is declared the winner.

To play, one person starts the play by throwing the ball and hitting it on the side of the ring.  Then players try to hit each other with the ball. If a player hits the ball and it touches another player below the knee, then that player is out; if it hits above the knee, the player is still in the game.

Additional rules include:

  • No player may hit the ball twice in succession unless the ball hits the wall in between hits.
  • If a player hits the ball and it goes out of the ring without touching the wall, that player is out.
  • If a player hits the ball and it touches the wall and then goes out of the ring, that player is still in the game.

While older kids can usually hit the ball with more force and better direction, the younger ones can run and jump quickly out of the way. The last two left in the ring often differ a great deal in age, making it a fun game for everyone!

Homeschool PE

A few years ago, my children were involved in a summer soccer program taught by a man who used to coach a high school soccer team. As the summer came to a close, one of the moms thought we should get the coach to start a homeschool PE class. Our city’s YMCA offered classes, but they were thirty minutes away – could we convince the coach to start up something nearby?

We did! Three years later, he’s still a salesman by day and a homeschool PE coach two afternoons a week. For one hour on Mondays and Thursdays, children ages 5 through high school get to participate in dodgeball, kickball, softball, flag football, soccer, and more.

The coach divides the students into two groups, ages 5 – 9 and 10 and up. This year it’s been a little harder, though, as he hasn’t had as many parents volunteer to help out, even though he offers a discount in the fees. When enough parents are there, however, the program runs smoothly. We meet at a local park or in a church gym. The coach leads the older kids in sports activities and provides plans and equipment for the moms who work with the younger ones. Every once in a while, he switches off, working with the younger children while a mom referees the games of the older students.

One of the biggest benefits of this PE program, however, has been the time of fellowship the students have with each other. We meet with the same friends on a regular basis, and almost everyone stays about a half hour after the class is over. Moms have time to visit with and encourage each other, teens start up their own game of basketball, middle school girls huddle around talking with each other, and younger children play on the playground. ¬†There’s usually 30-40 students there each time, providing lots of opportunities for friendships.