New to Lakeside: GaGa Ball!

Posted on June 13, 2019

What's GaGa Ball?

GaGa Ball is taking America by storm! It'is an action-packed ball game that can be played by all ages. The rules are simple, and it's easy to organize a game. The best part of playing GaGa Ball is that it doesn’t require kids to have a strong throwing arm or excellent hand-eye coordination. That means children of any skill level can get into it! This guide will give you everything you need to know about GaGa Ball.

The best way to describe GaGa Ball is as a "safer and more exciting version of dodgeball." The entire game is played inside of a GaGa Ball pit, which is an octagon-shaped or hexagonal-shaped area surrounded by a 3-foot fence. The surface of the ball pit can be any hard surface, including cement, grass, dirt, bitumen and compacted sand.

What do you need to play?

To play GaGa ball, you will require:

  • A GaGa ball pit
  • A ball — any kind of playground ball will do
  • A stable surface — concrete or bitumen works best because the ball can bounce and travel more easily
  • A set of rules (see below)
  • A referee — usually a supervisor, teacher, parent or even a friend willing to sit out.

What are the rules?

The rules are simple! Before you start the game, choose a referee. The referee is responsible for ensuring fair play and declaring players “OUT.”

1. All players (usually 6-12 players of all ages) must start inside the pit touching the wall with their hands, and the ball is tossed up in the air by the referee or a player. All players yell "GA!" on the first bounce and "GA!" on the second bounce. The ball is then in play, and the players can leave the wall.

2. Players hit the ball with their hands only, attempting to hit the ball at the legs of their opponents. Players may NOT throw the ball – it must be hit with either an open hand or fist (unless players agree to play with open hands only).

3. Any player who’s touched below the waist by the ball (directly or off of the wall) is “OUT” and must leave the pit. If a player kicks the ball, they’re “OUT.” If the ball contacts the player above the waist, the player is still in.

4. Blocking with hands/arms is allowed, however kneeling on the ground is NOT allowed. A player is “OUT” if he or she kneels to avoid getting hit.

5. If the ball goes out of the GaGa Ball pit, the last player to touch the ball is “OUT.”

6. If a player catches the ball before it bounces, the player who had the last contact with the ball is eliminated.

7. Once a player hits the ball, he or she must wait until the ball touches someone else before hitting it again (no double touches).

8. If there are only 2 players remaining, a player may hit the ball up to 3 times in a row. The ball is "rejuvenated" by contact with the wall, and the hit count resets.

9. The last player out is the winner and gets to start the next game.

TEAM GAGA BALL: Teaming, or intentional passing of the ball to other players, is allowed if agreed prior to play, and TEAMS must be specified in advance of play.

Please remember: do not sit on the wall. Be honest and respectful, and have fun!

What kind of balls are used for the game?

GaGa Ball can be played with any kind of bouncy ball, including soccer balls, basketballs and volleyballs. However, to have the most fun in a GaGa Ball pit, it helps to have a ball that is very lightweight. This allows the players to obtain more velocity when they hit the ball with their hand. Having a ball that bounces well is also a great idea because it makes the game more unpredictable and exciting

The size of a GaGa ball can be anywhere between 8-10" in diameter. It just needs to be big enough for the kids to accurately hit and small enough so they can jump over it.

History of GaGa Ball

Although GaGa Ball is a relatively new game for kids in the U.S., it has been around for many years in other countries. “GaGa” means “Touch Touch” in Hebrew and children have been playing GaGa Ball in Israel for many decades — which is why many people believe the game originated in Israel.

The game was first played in the U.S. at Jewish summer camps in the 1970s. In 2010, a man named Cliff Silverman saw his daughter playing the game and having the time of her life. He decided to design some GaGa Ball pits that could be easily installed in schools, parks and people’s homes. This helped to accelerate the popularity of the game.

Benefits of the Sport

Here are just a few benefits of getting kids involved in GaGa Ball!

  • GaGa Ball an inclusive game that can be played by children of all ages. An individual’s level of athletic ability is less important when playing GaGa Ball.
  • It's a fast-paced game with rounds that end within a few minutes. This means the kids that get out early will only be sidelined for a short amount of time.
  • GaGa Ball helps children develop their physical skills, including their hand-eye coordination, reaction speed, jumping skills and dexterity.
  • The rules of GaGa Ball are simple to learn.
  • The skills that kids learn while playing GaGa Ball will translate into other sports like soccer, football and basketball.
  • It's a very safe game because the ball is aimed below the waist.
  • GaGa Ball requires very little equipment, so it's easy to have a quick game (or 10).

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