GaGa (or Gaga) Ball gets its name from the Israeli word for “hit” – ga – and originated in Israel. Therefore, GaGa Ball means “Hit, Hit Ball.” A fun and active game, GaGa is played with a ball and any number of players in an enclosed space. The object of the game is for players to use their hands to hit the other players with the ball, while avoiding being hit themselves. Players are eliminated if they are hit by the ball.
Table of Contents
Preparing to Play
- Choose a Ball
GaGa Ball is played with a foam ball, kick ball, volleyball, or a soccer ball. Whatever ball you choose should be a good size and inflate. There are some advantages and disadvantages for both the kickball and the soccer ball. A kickball is soft and bounces well. However, it is harder to hit and almost too bouncy. A soccer ball is harder and can hurt a player. Any size ball can be used, but a mid-size ball is best.
- Find a Place to Play
The area where you play should be enclosed and totally clear. An empty room or a squash court will work. The area needs to be level and have walls.
- Assemble the Players
GaGa Ball is designed for large groups, ideally from five to thirty players. However, you need to make sure the playing area is not too large for a small group, but large enough for a big one.
How to Play GaGa Ball
- The game begins when a chosen player holds the ball and yells, “Ga!” The other plays respond with, “Ga!” to indicate they are ready. Then the ball is thrown against the side of the playing area or up in the air. When the ball bounces once, it is considered “live” and play begins.
- Players hit the ball at the other players while using their hands to block. If a player is hit, or just touched by the ball, they are out.
- If a player “double hits” the ball, they are out. The ball may be hit twice by the same player if it bounces off the ball between the two hits. Just touching the ball counts as a hit.
- Players removed from the game stand still on the sides or in the corners of the play area. They are treated as walls when balls bounce off them during play.
- Continue removing eliminated players, until only two players remain. These two players have a showdown to see who wins the game. Holding the ball is still not allowed, although the final two players may touch the ball three times in a row.
- If you keep facing the ball, you are less likely to be eliminated.
- Stand hunched over with your arms and fists in front of your legs, palms facing out.
- Try jumping to avoid the ball.
- Face the ball at all times, and you will be tough to eliminate.
- If you are an older player, try hitting the ball with your fists. This is not suggested if playing with young children who might be hurt.
- Play defensively as well as offensively, trying to stop the ball instead of just hitting it.
- Don’t forget to use the walls to bounce the ball and hit the other players from behind.
- If you are playing with older people, use your body for hip checks and box outs. A hip check is simply using your hips to stop a player. With a box out, you use your elbow to block the player, then turn away from that player to hit the ball.
- Ask if it is okay to use the stance of putting the hands in front of the legs. This move, called “turtling,” is sometimes against the rules.
- If you have boards enclosing the playing area, have eliminated players crouch outside the boards. These players are allowed to hit the ball to get a still-participating player out of the game. If they manage to do so, they take the player’s place.
- Players in some games are eliminated for hitting a ball out of bounds.
- Rules may include that players are only eliminated if the ball hits them from the waist down.
- Another variation allows catching the ball when it is in the air to eliminate the player who hit a pop-up.
- Sometimes games are played with more than one ball.
- Gaga Ball can also be played as a team game.
Gaga Pit Ball
Gaga Pit Ball is played in a 20-foot-diameter octagonal pen with 3 foot high walls. An action packed game with multiple players very similar to dodge ball, this game is both fun to watch and play.
How to Make a Gaga Pit
A Gaga Ball pit is simply an area designed for playing the game of GaGa Ball, octagonal in shape, with three foot walls. Sometimes players build an impromptu court with five or six sides out of whatever they have, such as tipped-over folding tables. Remember that whatever you use must have walls off of which you can bounce the ball.
How to Play Pit Gaga Ball
- All the players – any number – assemble in the pit and touch a wall.
- One player tosses the ball in the center of the pit, where it bounces twice on the ground. As it bounces, all the players say, “Ga!” for each of the two times it does so. After the second bounce, the ball is in play.
- Players move around the walled-in octagon play area, attempting to hit other players with the ball.
- Players can only hit the ball with an open hand and cannot hit it twice in a row, unless it touches the boundary wall or another player between the two touches.
- The goal of the game is to eliminate other players by hitting them with the ball below the knees. Those hits striking above the knees do not count.
- Players can use the three-foot tall boundary wall to help them jump and dodge, but if a player falls outside the playing area, they are eliminated.
- The winner of the game is the last one remaining after all other players are out.
- A game normally lasts about five to seven minutes.
Gaga Pit Ball Rules
- Make sure you slap-hit the ball with your hand and aim it at other players’ legs at the knee or below.
- When the ball hits or touches anyone at the knee or below, the hit player is out and must leave the Gaga pit.
- Any time a player makes any type of contact with the ball at the knee or below, the player is out.
- When the ball goes out of the pit, the last person the ball touched is out.
- A player can only hit the ball one time, but if the ball either touches another player or the wall, then a player is allowed to hit it again.
- A player can dribble the ball against the wall to position it.
- Players can move around anywhere inside the pit during the game.
- Be careful when playing with children that are very young, avoiding hard hits and head shots.
- If you wish to speed up the end of the game, give the last few players a count-down for a tie game
- Try playing with more than one ball.
- Play the game as teams. The team that wins three games out of five is the winner.
- Expand the hit area to be above the knee.
- If a player catches a ball, the person that hit it is eliminated.
- Try rotation instead of elimination. Have only a set number of players in the pit and when one is eliminated, the player at the front of the line of those waiting to play takes the eliminated player’s place. This works very well if you have a very large group and a playing pit that will not accommodate all the players.
- Make the rules easier for young players, such as having to be hit below the knees a set number of multiple times to be out.
- Do not play Gaga Ball in rooms with things that will break or windows.
- Drink plenty of water if you play for a long time, especially outdoors.
Take a group of people of any or every age, throw them in an empty, walled room or Gaga pit, toss in a ball and watch the fun. Add some music if you wish to increase the energy level. Fun to play and fun to watch; that’s Gaga ball!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.