How to Kill Dodgeball

DodgeballWhen I first came to my church, I discovered, much to my dismay, that the favorite past-time of the youth was playing dodgeball. Having played the game in the past, I figured that it couldn’t be too bad when played during youth. After all, we are a church group, right? Surely they would play it in a loving way. Boy was I wrong! My youth group played dodgeball in a way that made even some of my toughest adults run for cover. It was a brutal game and after seeing them play a couple of times, I began to search for an alternative.

As luck would have it, our Junior high youth went on mission trip my first summer to the Methodist children’s home in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. (On a side note, I highly recommend this as a mission opportunity for Junior high youth, both the children’s home and the ranch) While we were there, we led the children in a chapel service and had a couple of opportunities to play games with them. They taught us a game, called Kaboom Tag, that we took back to our youth group. This game turned out to be a great replacement for Dodgeball. It involves lots of running and ball throwing but since it is played with a softer ball (and only one ball) it doesn’t result in injuries and hurt feelings. Here is how the game is played:

Kaboom Tag is best played in a gym or large room (with no breakable things around!). One person is “It” and is given the ball. I recommend that you use a Koosh ball about the size of a volleyball. It is critical that you don’t use a hard ball. The person with the ball can take up to 3 steps and then must throw the ball. If they hit someone, that person is out and sits down exactly where they were hit. If they hit someone on the head, they are not out since head shots are discouraged. If the person catches the ball, the thrower is out and sits down where they are. Whoever picks up the ball next becomes “It” and can take 3 steps before throwing the ball. What makes this game interesting is the people who have been hit and sit down. They are now “landmines” which must be avoided by the people still moving around. They must remain sitting on the floor with their legs crossed and their butts on the ground. If they touch someone who is still up, that person is also out and must sit down. So those still playing must not only avoid the person with the ball, but the people who are “landmines” as well. When there are only 2 people left, you eliminate the 3 step rule so that the game doesn’t continue forever. When you have a winner, you can start a new game with the winner being the first person who is “It.”

The best thing about this game is that everyone participates! Even those who are “out” are still an active part of the game as landmines. This keeps people from sitting on the sidelines waiting for the next game to start.

If you try Kaboom Tag, let me know what you think of it. Also, what other dodgeball alternatives do you have at your church?
Georgia Harrison is a veteran and certified youth worker in the North Texas Conference.  She’s an ordained deacon and an all around awesome person.  She is married to Charles Harrison and they have two amazing kids.  The whole family has a heart for missions like you wouldn’t believe.  In fact, if you’d like to tell her how great she is or just hear more about mission opportunities, you can email her at  Be blessed. (Georgia didn’t write her own bio, just in case you were wondering.  -EJ)


  1. Gerogia is a sweetheart! I love this alternative and look forward to playing it with my youth group in the very near future! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Georgia Harrison

      Thanks Rosemarie! Hope you enjoy the game. 🙂 The best part about the game, which I forgot to mention, is that even the people that are tagged are still a part of the game, so no one is waiting on the sidelines for the next game to start.

  2. Carissa Tarkington

    I learned this when you taught at the volunteer event at Perkins School of Youth Ministry a few years back. My current youth group loves this game. They beg to play it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Hey,

    My name is Jason Pritchard and I work for the Calgary Boys and Girls Club Non profit. I am the Youth Engagement coordinator and I am currently trying to make a brochure/trifold to get more youth out to the Club. This dodgeball picture is awesome! and I was wondering if I could put this on my promo (non-of this will be used to create income).

    Please let me know,

    • Hey Jason,

      This is a stock photo image which we’ve purchased rights to use. We generally get images from iStockPhoto. You can easily download this image, from us and we’d never really know, but I might suggest spending a few bucks to support the photographer by purchasing a copy for your own uses.

  4. Hi Georgia!

    We play almost the same game, but a variant called Scatterball. Same basic concept, except instead of the kids who’ve been hit being landmines, they can still throw the ball at people and get them “out” while they are seated. So kids who are still in will roll the ball to one of the kids who are seated and they will throw it at another kid, or roll it back to the person who rolled it to them, but closer to their target. These kids a

    But I like the idea of the kids being “mines” as well. Will try it this week!

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