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.