There has been a lot of buzz lately about the game of gaga and its rise in popularity throughout the US. But what exactly is gaga?

Gaga – which translates to “touch, touch” in Hebrew- is believed to have originated in Israel. It was fairly popular in Jewish camps and community centers in the 1970s, but it has seen a huge increase in use at camps and schools outside of the Jewish community in recent years. Gaga, which is very similar to dodgeball, is a fun and easy game for kids of all ages and genders. The object of the game is to strike the gaga ball at your opponents, hitting them below the waist, while avoiding balls from the other players at the same time. The game can be played by groups of individual players, teams, or one-on-one matches. Gaga has also been called Israeli Dodgeball and Octo-Ball. 

The game itself is played in a large hexagon or octagon shaped ring, commonly called a Gaga Pit. Some other names for it include Gaga Court or Gaga Ball Pit. The game is started by one player throwing the ball up into the air. When it bounces, all the players say “GA” every time the ball hits the ground for the first three bounces. After that, the game has officially begun. A player is not allowed to hit the ball twice in a row unless it bounces off a wall or another player. Players are out of the game if they get been hit by the ball or if they hit the ball out of the pit. If a player catches the ball without it bouncing beforehand, the last person to touch the ball is out. Players must leave the pit once they are eliminated.

 

Gaga Rules of Play:

1) To begin the game, each player must have at least one hand touching the wall.

2) Players must hit the ball with open hands. Picking up the ball and throwing it is not allowed.

3) If the ball hits a player anywhere below the waist (in some versions, below the knees), that player must leave the game.

4) A player cannot touch the ball two times in a row. The ball must hit another player or the wall before they can hit it again. If a player violates this rule, it is called double touch, and they are eliminated from the game. (Some versions allow double and even triple touch).

5) If a player hits a ball out of the court, and the ball does not touch anyone else, that player is out.

6) Players cannot kick the ball as this violates the ‘below the waist’ rule, and thus will eliminate them from the game.

7) The winner is the last person left in the game.

 

For more visual instructions on how to play gaga, watch the following video: How to Play Gaga. This video goes over the gaga rules and shows parts of an actual game.