Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Alternative names: Roller Dodge, Between Two Fires / Kahden tulen välissä
Objective: To get comfortable moving around on your skates; to improve your agility; to improve your reaction time; to practice playing both offense and defense at the same time (if playing with more than one ball)
Typical length of drill: 30 mins
Materials needed: Many cones or brightly colored painter's tape to mark out the different areas; one or more large, soft foam balls; 10 or more skaters divided into two separate teams
Skill level required: A command of basic skills is important so that no one gets injured
Description: Decide in advance if you will use one, two, or more balls in this game (directions below are for a game using TWO balls).

Make a large rectangle on the floor using your cones or painter's tape, and split the rectangle in half creating two facing courts.  The end zone behind each side of the court is "the field".    One player from each team is stationed in the field behind the opposing team's court (see illustration).  This way both teams are flanked by opponents on each side.  For the purpose of this explanation we will call this person "the cow".  Each cow gets a ball at the beginning of the game, and when the whistle blows, the cows are the first to start throwing the balls.  
Remember to always aim BELOW the neck when you throw the ball.

The object of the game is to hit people from the opposing team with the ball in order to send them to the field.  Once all members of one team are in the field, the opposing team wins the game.

The skaters who are on the court are allowed to catch and throw the balls as well.  If a ball is caught before it hits the ground, the thrower of the ball gets sent to the field.  In advanced game play, each time a ball is caught, a member of the catcher's team is simultanously allowed to return from the field to the court (you should decide in advance if you would like to play the game with this bonus, note that it makes the game longer).  Any time a ball hits a player before hitting the ground, that person is sent to the field.  This includes failed catches.  Players on the same team are allowed to pass the ball to one another, either by throwing or rolling (and you cannot send your own teammates to the field by doing this).  Players on the court are not allowed to retrieve balls from the field and players in the field are not allowed to retrieve balls from the court.  No one is permitted to retrieve balls from the opposing team's court or field.  Players in the field are allowed to pass the ball to the players on the court, and vice versa.

In the illustration below you will see that the field extends beyond the end zone to wrap around the courts completely.  Decide in advance if you wish to allow your cows to use the whole area around the court or only the end zone behind each court.

An illustration of a team of 6 yellow skaters playing
against a team of 6 green skaters, using an extended field.

Additional notes: Roller Dodge is an actual, legitimate sport, developed by Tom Green, a retired referee for the Dallas Derby Devils.  The version portrayed here in this drill is a bit different though, this one is based on a children's game.  I learned this one from my teammates in Finland and we had an incredible time playing it.  The game was not only fun but it was a great team builder, and I think this is an excellent way to do some bonding with the referees as they too like to have fun and they too need to work on their skating skills, agility, and reaction time!

Please note: This is a drill you can also do OFF skates!

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