In the movie Dodgeball, Patches O'Houlihan says there are five D's in dodgeball -- dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. But the game is no longer a comical schoolyard pastime. It's transformed into a professional competition and its popularity has attracted some of the world's best athletes. To go pro in dodgeball, you'll have to be one of the best.
National Dodgeball League
Founded in 2004, the National Dodgeball League is America's only professional dodgeball league. It is headquartered in Minnesota and runs 18 different professional dodgeball teams across the country. The teams are split into the National and American Dodgeball Conferences. The professional teams serve major markets in Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Antonio and Richmond. The NDL also oversees the Dodgeball World Championship, the world's largest amateur dodgeball tournament held annually in Las Vegas.
Train Like a Professional
The popularity of dodgeball has exploded, so you're going to run into a lot of competition for those few open professional roster spots. You need to train like any other professional athlete. Build a base of stabilizing strength by getting into the gym to lift free weights at least twice a week. Lose fat and develop lean muscle through a high protein diet, getting 60 percent of your calories from lean meat, 30 percent from fruits and vegetables and 10 percent from healthy sources of fat. Increase cardiovascular endurance to stay active on the floor the entire game and strengthen anaerobic stamina for strong throws and powerful evasive maneuvers. Perform high intensity interval training, plyometrics, agility exercises and explosive Olympic lifts weekly.
Current NDL players are responsible for running an amateur tour of qualifying dodgeball matches for the World Dodgeball Championship in Las Vegas. Check the NDL website for a schedule of events, get a team together and sign up. Read the rules for each game and practice with a group of dedicated players, then attend the amateur event. Winners advance deeper into the World Dodgeball Championship tournament, which provides you more time to show off your skills and get the attention of professional scouts and coaches.
Stand out Then Try out
A professional-quality dodgeball player should be able to stand out among a crowd of amateurs. Once you've made a name for yourself at the amateur level, it's time to contact the league and try out for individual teams. The NDL does not conduct league-wide tryouts. Much like other professional leagues, individual teams are responsible for player procurement. Go to the NDL website and fill out the tryout contact form. Or you can choose to email teams directly and ask if there are any open tryouts coming up. Show up to the tryout, stay confident, perform and, if you're good enough, you'll get signed.
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