Aylsham children learn dodgeball skills from international captain

James Tuthill, Scotland dodgeball team captain, visits St Michael's Nursery & Infant School, Aylsham. Pictured with pupils, left to right, Oscar Hart, Daniel Ambrose, Evie Cordner, Taylor Dimmock, Evie Robinson and Harry Ritchie.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY James Tuthill, Scotland dodgeball team captain, visits St Michael's Nursery & Infant School, Aylsham. Pictured with pupils, left to right, Oscar Hart, Daniel Ambrose, Evie Cordner, Taylor Dimmock, Evie Robinson and Harry Ritchie. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Saturday, April 26, 2014
6:03 PM

Budding sports fans learned dodgeball skills from an international sportsman.

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How to play dodgeball?

The aim is to “knock out” opponents by hitting them below the shoulders.

Six balls, including two smaller ones which only female players can throw, are placed in the no-man’s land area in the middle of the pitch. Players rush to grab them at the start, but have to return to their base line to throw them.

If someone catches your ball you are out and one of their team comes back in - a double swing.

If a male player hits a female player in the face, he is sent to the back of the ‘out’ line. If a female player hits a male player in the face, people laugh and the game continues.

A player can block a throw with a ball they are holding, with play continuing as normal, as long as the ball they are holding isn’t knocked out of their hand.

Matches normally consist of three sets lasting 2.5 min and are won by the team with the most players left. Equal scores are decided by sudden death shoot outs.

James Tuthill, 23, captain of the Scotland Highlanders international team, held a special session yesterday for nearly 100 children from St Michael’s Nursery and Infant School in Aylsham.

The activity was part of drive to get more of the youngsters involved in a new after school dodgeball club, led by Mr Tuthill from Mundesley.

He said: “I wanted to inspire some new players. I was very impressed by the children. A couple of the kids came up with new names for dodging, which I will use.

“I love dodgeball because it is really inclusive. Anyone can play it and it is really fun. It is nice to go these schools and see children playing it. I really want to help them develop these skills.”

James Tuthill, Scotland dodgeball team captain, visits St Michael's Nursery & Infant School, Aylsham. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYJames Tuthill, Scotland dodgeball team captain, visits St Michael's Nursery & Infant School, Aylsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

As well as playing for the Scotland national team he teaches dodgeball to children at north Norfolk schools for Premier Sport.

He will also run the weekly club, which started last week, at the Aylsham school until the summer term.

The sport was made popular by a 2004 Hollywood movie starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan.

Julie Wones, PE co-ordinator at St Michael’s Nursery and Infant School, said: “By running a taster session you can double or triple the numbers. It introduces the children into a new sport and sparks an interest. The pupils absolutely loved it. There was so much laughing and cheering each other on.”

She added the school was keen to push sport because it allowed certain pupils to shine and improved children’s ability to learn.

Current clubs for the youngsters, aged between four and seven, include yoga, funk fitness and basic skills including throwing and catching.

Mr Tuthill, who grew up in King’s Lynn and Fakenham, became hooked on dodgeball after joining a team while studying at the University of Bedfordshire between 2010-last year.

During his second year he was picked to play for the Scottish Highlanders and has been captain for nearly two years.

The team recently competed in the Home Nations tournament with France, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Wales and England and will be playing in the European championships in Austria this August.

Despite having Norfolk roots, he was picked for the Scottish team because of his Scottish relations through his grandfather Eric Little from Cromer.

A dodgeball team consists of six players and a match involves five three-minute games.

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