With the start of the NCDA’s Women’s Division, Michigan State has put in all of their efforts to start their own team and it paid off. Starting the year with one returning women’s player, the Spartans were able to recruit eight more athletes, creating the NCDA’s first ever full women’s roster. Since September, they have worked tirelessly to not only learn the game and all of its rules, but learn more about each other and establish a team foundation. Coming from very different sports and academic backgrounds, we have decided to highlight the Michigan State Women’s Club Dodgeball Team for February and learn more about their success in forming our first full Dodgette squad.
Q. How did you find out about dodgeball and what made you decide to join the team?
- Sparticipation freshman year, it looked like fun! – Helena
- Ethan ran around with a giant banner at Sparticipation, it was kinda hard to miss and I decided to try it out – Paige
- My mom sent me a post that the MSU Dodgeball Team had posted and said I should join. I was reluctant at first but then I realized it was a good way to not only stay in shape but be a part of team, so I joined the team. -Mia
- My friends forced me to come with them to a practice but I ended up loving it so I kept going – Allie
Q. As the season has gone on, how do you feel you’ve progressed as a player?
- I’ve gotten better in my form so my throws have started getting a little stronger and i’m working on my aim. – Helena
- I can definitely catch a lot better, I think its just because I’ve gotten more comfortable playing the game – Paige
- It’s hard for me to say, going into the sport I thought I would be good at it because I was a unit on the dodgeball court during gym class in middle school. But I quickly learned dodgeball is a lot more intense and strategy based. I have my good days where I can see improvement in myself but I also have my bad days where I seem to lose all skill I may possess. It’s something I’m always working on. -Mia
- I’ve started to learn how to throw better, i’ve never played a throwing sport before so it was definitely a learning experience – Allie
Q. While this team is brand new, what is your favorite thing about dodgeball/the team so far?
- Everyone is positive and happy to be there to get better and have fun. – Helena
- Since I’m a freshman, it’s awesome to know that there are so many really awesome people I’ll be playing with throughout college – Paige
- While this team is brand new, my favorite thing is that everyone on this team has something they contribute that is specifically unique to them. I think our team fits well together and we make each other stronger. Plus we all just want to have fun which always makes things a lot more enjoyable. -Mia
- Everyone on the team is really nice, and we’ve done a lot of bonding things and we all seem to get along well. It also helps with everyone being new because we are all learning and growing together. – Allie
Q. What felt like the biggest/most difficult change to deal with when moving from co-Ed to all ladies? Court size? Dodgeball size? Number of players on the court? Etc…
- It feels like a different game because everything is closer together and there are fewer people. If your team isn’t tight it is a lot easier to be picked off. – Helena
- It’s really different, much smaller and I feel like sometimes its almost more stressful because no one can really hang out in the back – Paige
- It’s difficult because everything I thought I knew about dodgeball has changed: the rules, the court size, the ball size, the number of players, the people you play with, and strategies to best play the game. It can be difficult to keep track of everything and be successful on the court at times. – Mia
Q. With this being the first season for women’s division, what are some things you’d like to see from the league in future years?
- I guess just more support in creating more women’s teams across the country. -Helena
- I think there needs to be more advertising. If we want more girls to join we have to advertise a lot more than we are right now – Paige
- I would like to see more women’s teams, and just a growth in the women’s division. I think it would also be a good idea to advertise womens dodgeball more because a lot of people don’t know about it – Allie
- I would like to see growth, in future years it would be awesome to see the women’s division have the same number of opportunities as the co-ed division. – Mia
Q. What advice would you give teams struggling to start a women’s team?
- I guess just be welcoming to girls willing to show up. Don’t make the girls feel like an outcast by taking it easy on them. Include them in drills and in game plays. – Helena
- Be really supportive to everyone, no matter their skill level – Paige
- Being patient with those who decide to join and create a space that is inclusive and welcoming. It can be pretty intense walking into a place you are unfamiliar with, so having people who take the time to be welcoming and friendly can make all the difference. – Mia
Q. How do you feel the pinch teams can help women’s teams establish themselves and grow within the NCDA?
- Be supportive to the girls is all they need to do. Just knowing that the guys are always there for us is motivation enough – Paige
- The pinch teams have a great deal of knowledge and experience in establishing themselves within the NCDA, so I feel one way they could help would be to offer insight or advice. If the pinch teams and the women’s teams work collaboratively together and support each other to the best of their ability I feel as though both teams will be able to better establish themselves. At the end of the day both teams are here to play dodgeball, so helping each other will make it so both teams can do just that. – Mia
Q. Do you have any team goals as the women’s division becomes more established?
- Win natty’s – Helena
- WIN NATTY’s, and get even more publicity for dodgeball in general as a sport – Paige
- Win natty’s but also just have fun. – Mia
- Win nattys, but also just grow as a team – Allie