Shinball – An Alternative to Dodgeball (Teaching Tip)

Shinball is a variation of dodgeball and it’s one of my favourite games to play in gym.

In this game there are no teams. It is everyone versus everyone.

All you need is a soft dodgeball (or two or three depending on the needs of your group.) I always start with one ball until the students get the hang of it.

The rules are quite simple. Just like dodgeball, you want to avoid getting hit by the ball. The entire gym is the playing area so you can run around without worry of stepping on to the wrong side of the gym or outside of the boundaries.


1) If you have the ball, you can only take 5 steps with it. This stops students from running around and targetting a specific player. It also keeps the game moving faster. For older students or if you have a smaller playing area, you can modify this rule so they can only take 3 steps.

2) If you get hit with the ball, you need to sit down. The game is called Shinball because you can kneel down so that one of your shins is on the ground. You can pivot on that spot like you would in basketball but you cannot move from it.

3) Players that are down can get back up again IF they retrieve a ball AND are able to hit one of the players still up and about. They are then free and the recently hit player is now down.

4) Keep playing until there is a sole victor.

Introducing the game

It can be frustrating for students who get hit and are stuck waiting to get a ball for their chance to get back in the game. As such, once everyone has the hang of the game, I blow my whistle and reset the game, “Okay, we all know how to play now, everyone up”

I then add an extra ball or two.

I really like this variation of dodgeball and my students do as well.

Students love Dodgeball

I haven’t met a class that doesn’t like dodgeball but I think it is a much over-played game in gym class. It’s nice to play once in a while but we should make sure that we vary the games we do play and even the style of dodgeball from time to time.

Do you have any great variations you’d like to share?

Please leave a comment below.

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