mamba gaga ball pits at zanderfest fundraiser

GaGa Ball, also known as Octoball, is a variation of dodgeball in which players in a large GaGa “pit” try to eliminate opponents by striking them in the legs with the ball. GaGa, which in Hebrew means “touch-touch”, was invented over 30 years ago. GaGa Ball became popular in Jewish summer camps in Australia and Israel, then spread back to the US where it’s popularity is exploding. ABC news called it the “kinder, gentler version” of dodgeball and child care-givers recognize that it is a safer way to provide much needed physical activity for kids of any age and athletic ability.

GaGa Rules

  1. Players start inside pit touching the sides. One player throws the gaga ball up into the air. Players yell “Ga” as it bounces and the ball is in play after the second bounce (“Ga-Ga”).
  2. Players can hit the ball with one hand, but cannot pick up and throw it.
  3. If the ball touches a player anywhere on or below the knee, that player is eliminated.
  4. A player cannot touch the ball two times in a row – the ball must first touch another player or the pit wall or it is called a “double touch” and that player is out.
  5. Players may not kick the ball since this means touching the ball below the knee.
  6. If the ball is hit out of the pit, then the last player to touch the ball is out.
  7. Players who are out must leave the GaGa pit immediately.
  8. The last player out is the winner and gets to start the next game.

GaGa Variations

Domination GaGa

This variation is great for “leveling the playing field” among players of various ages and/or athletic ability. Gameplay is as above except that when a player gets “out”, any player who was previously gotten out by that player can re-enter the pit.

Mayhem GaGa

Use up to 4 balls for this game (different colored balls work best to help keep track of “double touches”). Players may not see it coming!

Dodge GaGa

If a player catches the ball in the air, the last person to hit the ball is out.

Team GaGa

Players stay on opposite sides of pit (which can be re-shaped into a rectangle or even “figure 8”) and play until one team is totally eliminated. Getting each opponent out allows a teammate to re-enter. Can be combined with “Dodge GaGa” allowing ball to be caught.

Defender GaGa

Each player picks a wall panel to defend from being hit by the others. Keep score by number of hits and high score loses!