I hated my first session – Anthony Aldred

In this installment of our internation interview series, we asked an iconic athlete of dodgeball, Anthony Aldred, about his beginnings, tournaments and favourite moments.

* Can you give us a bit of a background of your Dodgeball playing career? When did you start playing dodgeball?
– I started playing dodgeball in 2013 after I graduated from university. My flat mate at the time invited me along and I’ve been playing ever since. Since then I’ve gone on to play as part of the Granite City Guerrillas men’s team winning quite a few competitions and league titles in Scotland and also getting the opportunity to play in England at open events and the British Championships. In 2017 I made the Scotland Highlanders Men’s team and took part in the Six Nations where the team came away with a gold medal. I’ve also represented Scotland at the European Championships in 2017,2018 and 2019 along with the Northern European Championships in 2018.

* What inspired you to start playing dodgeball?
– I was less inspired and more intrigued about it. My flat mate had been trying to get me to go for a while but I was too busy finishing off my degree to get involved. Once I graduated I went along with him and a few others. I hated my first session, but everyone seemed to enjoy it so I went back. I’m glad I did as I absolutely love it.

Anthony Aldred

* Do you remember your first time on the court?
– Not in great detail, but I remember being targeted early on in most games because I was the new guy. It probably didn’t help I was wearing blue and everyone else was wearing a black Granite City Guerrillas vest so I stood out ALOT.

* Your most beautiful moment in your career?
– Winning the bronze medal at the Euros in Italy 2018. The atmosphere of that event was amazing along with the setup and I truly felt like I had contributed in a positive way to achieving that medal.

* Best event you played at?
– I’d have to say the 2018 Euros in Italy. I think having all the teams in such close proximity really made the social side and after party amazing! I got to speak to people I hadn’t before each night which has set it aside from other events. I won’t miss queuing for breakfast, lunch and dinner though

* What are you most important achievements so far on a national and club level?
– At club level our highest achievement is either the Scottish Championship or Scottish league. They are pretty similar with only a few clubs for the league but a few extra teams for the championship. Unfortunately Scotland doesn’t have a huge amount of clubs but we are hoping these events become more competitive in the future as other cities and towns get teams and the sport grows in our country. Nationally my highest achievement is a gold medal as part of the Scotland men’s team at the UKDBA Six Nations event in Liverpool 2016. But I’m more proud of the Bronze medal from the 2018 European Championships.

Scotland Highlanders - Anthony Aldred
Scotland Highlanders – Anthony Aldred

* How do you prepare before tournaments?
– In the lead up to a tournament it’s all about team practice for me. You need to become a tight unit and look after each other on court. So I’d want as much game time with my team.In the moments before a game I’m probably getting a quick snack or going for multiple nervous toilet stops though

* How many times do you play a week?
– Normally it’s between 2-3 times a week depending on what training or events are happening. It’s a mixture of open sessions, team sessions and international training along with competitions.

* Any tips you can lend to aspiring dodgeball players?
– Find your strength and focus on that to start with. If you try and learn or focus on too many things you won’t see much progress and get a bit disheartened. Plus if you have one great skill It will give you something to fall back on in a game and you can kind of direct play towards your strength. Focusing on one thing also allows you to break things down into tiny parts.

Tom Brady or Lebron James
Lebron. I played basketball when I was younger and although I don’t keep up to date with it now, I’m definitely more   interested in what’s going on there than American football.
Coldplay or Ed Sheeran
Neither! They are both terrible. 
Gran Tourismo 5 or Carcassone 
Gran Tourismo 5. Only because I grew up playing the Gran Tourismo games, Need for Speed Underground is where it’s at though.
The Mandalorian or The Queen’s Gambit
The Mandalorian… but only because of the memes! I haven’t watched either. 
Dog or Cat
Dogs! I love dogs. Plus I’ve got a dog and do t think I’d ever own a cat.
Chicago Pizza or Big Mac 
Pizza! Lots of options and great hot or cold.
Tomato or Chilli 
Tomato, I’m not good with spicy foods.
Bora Bora or Kathmandu
Bora Bora, I’d just love to relax next to those crystal clear waters.
Rangers or Celtics
Boston Celtics… because basketball. Neither if you mean the football teams here in Scotland. I have to support my local team of Aberdeen for that…. MON IH DONS!

Cloth or foam ball
Cloth. It’s what I know and have played the most, but I’m keen to try foam. I just wish the rules were consistent across all the ball types for ease. 

* Which team or nation is your favorite opponent?
– Sweden. They are such a fun team to be around and the last time we played them at the Euros in 2019 it was such a close game. So close and action packed but also super friendly and fair. It ended in a draw and I don’t think anyone was disappointed by that. They have improved hugely since I first saw them but still bring a fun aspect to the game.

* Who is your best dodgeball player?
– I don’t think there is one player that stands out above everyone else as ‘the best player’ for me. That’s not to say I don’t think players are great , there are a lot of players I admire. I just think I’d be doing players a disservice if I named just one person. There are definitely a lot of quieter players that are going a bit unnoticed because of bigger personalities too. 

* You have built up an amazing collection of sports jerseys! Just how many do you own?
– I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s in the region of 200 dodgeball shirts now. But that’s continuing to grow and it’s definitely something that’s snowballed as the Instagram account has grown. But I’m still enjoying speaking with everyone along the way and swapping my way to new and exciting shirts/teams.

* Do you remember which one was the first you got?
– The first shirt outside of the club I play for was the Malaysian WDA 2016 Home shirt made by Ozz Vampo. It’s yellow and black tiger stripe and mandarin collar had me hooked, so I just had to get one. It took a while to get here so I might have received a different jersey before it, but it was definitely worth the wait. It was great to learn about all the other teams playing at the time too and Malaysia definitely set themselves apart as looking super professional in their photos and social media.

Granite City Guerrillas

* We had a year which foiled many things. We barely had any Dodgeball tournaments, for example. What would be your most important takeaway of 2020?
– To have fun and enjoy dodgeball when we get back to playing. Let’s enjoy the game, enjoy the sport and enjoy being surrounded by our friends. It’s why we play.

* Finally, what advice do you have for those who are just being introduced to this wonderful game? Why play dodgeball?
– Play dodgeball because it’s fun and you can meet some amazing people from different places in the world. It’s also a very inclusive and supportive sport too and one you can play at all levels depending on what’s important to you and continue to play into old age.


The ambassador of Dodgeball – Annika Jedliczka

As a member of the Austrian women’s and mixed team, Annika Jedliczka has recently won the European Championship. As the ambassador of Dodgeball, she recently also had the opportunity to meet the presdient of the International Olympic Committee. In our  – by now traditional – international dodgeball player interview (Krista Leveleky was the first, Tamás Ward was last year’s guest), we talked with her about the beginnings, the most interesting moments, and the opportunities of female competitors in the dodgeball.

Why is Dodgeball the sport of the future? According to Annika,

„people often prefer to watch men’s matches, while women’s matches only come second. This is where Dodgeball is different and cut above the rest. This sport is the best example to follow by mixed team sports.

The guys do, in fact, throw more often. But it takes more than just strength to throw the ball such that it will not be caught. It’s only natural that our throws are not as powerful as the guys’, but it’s not true that we can’t throw well and accurately.”

* Can you give us a bit of a background of your Dodgeball playing career? When did you start playing dodgeball?
– I started playing Dodgeball November 2012 at one of the legendary Dodgeball Mania Events in Vienna. My team won the title and half a year later I was asked if I wanna play Euros for Austria in Chester. Ever since then I am part of Dodgeball Austria and had 11 international appearances for Austria. 

* What inspired you to start playing dodgeball?
– I would love to tell an inspiring story but the truth is a friend from school just asked me if I wanna join their team and I said yes. What made me stay was the community and the friends I made there.

* Do you remember your first time on the court?
– No. But I remember the final of the first tournament I played. I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere and super nervous. 

* Your most beautiful moment in your career?
– Thats a tough one… there are so many. A few that I will always remember are: the moment the whistle was blown and we were European champions for the 4th time in a row and also won womens mens and Mixed division at euros 2019, our boys becoming world champs and one of our team rituals where we all together listen to a specific song the day before a tournament starts.

* Best event you played at?
– Euros 2018 in Lignano (in terms of organisation, food, accommodation,  players comfort) and Euros 2019 in Newcastle (in terms of results:)) 

* How do you prepare before tournaments?
– We are lucky to have an awesome coaching team that leads us through those phases with everything it needs: personal skill development, strength and mobility training, tactics, practicing playing sitiations and a lot of talking.

* How many times do you play a week?
– Normally 2-3 times a week, now that corona had other plans for us only once..

* Any tips you can lend to aspiring dodgeball players?
– Apart from playing, tactics and personal skill development I would say: team communication and video analytics! 

* Which team or nation is your favorite opponent?
– Has to be England. Cause its the closest and the games that stay in my mind the longest. But I really like to meet all the nations on and off court.

* Who is your best dodgeball player?
– Stefan Leitinger. Men’s and mixed player as well as womens coach for a reason. He has done a lot to help Dodgeball Austria coming that far.

* Did you see the Austria – Hungary men’s quarterfinals at the Central European Championship? With the outcome getting decided only in its final moments (16-12).
– Yes I have seen it. It was a close game and it is wonderful to see other countries stepping up and becoming stronger and stronger. It is good for our beloved sport and everyone playing it. 

* Finally, what advice do you have for those who are just being introduced to this wonderful game? Why play dodgeball?
– The game itself is just fun. It has so many diferent aspects so that anyone can play it. It is action, adrenalin,  teamwork, skill, fun… dont know why u shouldnt.And not to forget: the community. I ve been playing a lot of different sports in different teams, but the dodgeball community for sure is something very special that i dont wanna miss in my life.


A Hungarian World Champion of Dodgeball – Tamas Ward

The sport already has a world champion with Hungarian roots – as member of the English National Dodgeball team, Tamas Ward will have a good shot at claiming the title of European Champion as well next week.

Tamas Ward

* Can you give us a bit of a background of your Dodgeball playing career? When did you start playing dodgeball?
– I started playing dodgeball back in 2011 whilst at college and have been playing ever since. First for Reepham Raiders, later for Bedford Bulls and presently for Bedford Rangers. 

* What inspired you to start playing dodgeball?
– I enjoyed playing it throughout school and with a lot of my friends playing for Reepham.

* Do you remember your first time on the court?
– Yep! Love the atmosphere even if I spent most of my time in the outbox!

* Your most beautiful moment in your career?
– Winning the World Cup with England back in 2016! 

* Best event you played at?
– World Cup in Manchester 2016!

* How many times do you play a week?
– Two or three times a week including tournaments at the weekend.

* Any predictions for England at the European Championship European Dodgeball Federation ? Can England win all three categories like at Euro19?
– We have the strength and depth to go all the way again. So England winning all three of course!

Tamas Ward

* How do you think the other nations will go at the European Championship? Any nation you’d like to single out for being a favourite for success on this stage?
– Austria are always very strong and focused and will be fierce competitors. Other home nations such as Scotland and Northern Ireland will also pose a threat. 

* Which nation is your favorite opponent?
– I always enjoy playing Scotland being such a rival we always have a good game against them.

* Any tips you can lend to hungarian dodgeball players?
– Also playing as much dodgeball as possible throughout.

Thank you Tamas and good luck!


The World Championships had a Hungarian medallist, too!

By way of Krista Leveleky of the Australian team, the World Championships had yet again a participant and medallist of Hungarian ancestry, this time in New York. We’ve had a little chat with her about preparing for the event and her overall experiences.

Krista Leveleky (18)

* First of all, congratulations for your results on the Dodgeball World Cup. As the only Hungarian-related player of the World Cup.
– Thank you, we were of course hoping for the first place but are still very happy with bronze.

* When was the decision made that you can take part on the World Cup with the Australian team?
– Trials for the Australian Dodgeball team (Dodgeroos) started in December 2017 and the final squad was announced in April 2018.

* What was the reaction from your friends and family?
– My friends and family and myself were so excited to hear I had made the team especially since this is my first time representing my country at an international competition. 

* Was it easy to train together?How the team prepared for the World Cup? 
– The Dodgeroos were lucky in a way this year because the entire squad is from the same state of Australia so this meant is was quite easy for us all to train together.
We trained once or twice a week every week leading up to the World Cup. The training included fitness, strategy and skill development.

* What do you think about the level of games on the World Cup? 
– I was so excited to play in the World Cup and to play against the top nations in our sport. The level of competition was really tough. 

* What do you think about the opponents?
– I was most excited to see how we play against the Austrian team because they were really strong opponents.

* Which was your favourite match?
– My favourite match was against Singapore because that was my international debut and we played extremely well. It’s a match I won’t forget.

Krista Leveleky (18)

* What was the most memorable moment on the World Cup?
– So that’s also my most memorable moment as well as walking out in Madison Square Garden, the worlds most famous sporting arena for our first match against Canada. 

* Do you have any message to the Hungarian Dodgeball Team?
– Train hard on and off the Dodgeball court – diet and gym can make a huge difference. Good luck!