Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Any Feed aka Squirrel Crossing

Apparently you can purchase
this greeting card here
Whenever I play this game I get a warm and fuzzy. I learned it from my former boss, Bryan Hartley, who is one of the best instructors I have ever met. He just has a great way of communicating, no matter if you are a 5-year-old with the tags still on your racquet, a battle-weary club player, or a cocky high level junior. Bryan called this game Scum Feed. Jorge Capestany cleans it up a little by renaming it Squirrel Crossing. Both names make me giggle. Doesn't matter to me which you call it. Your players are gonna love it.

This game works best with more than four players. Four players take the court somewhere around the service line. Extra players are at the net post, ready to come in. Coach feeds the ball in; players play out the point. Whoever makes the error comes out and the next player in line takes their place. Play proceeds quickly, so those waiting at the net post must pay attention so that they know whose place to take after each point. Hence the name 'Squirrel Crossing' - as Jorge C says, at some point in the game someone at the net post is always caught napping, looking like a squirrel trying to cross a busy road.

Here's the twist: coach feeds absolutely ridiculous feeds to make things interesting. Always within the level of the players, but even lower level players can appreciate some ridiculous feeds. Bryan could do magical things with a ball and racquet. I can never hope to achieve that level of scummy feed. But I did learn a few tricks from him such as looking at one player while feeding in the opposite direction, or feeding a miserably high lob for someone to chase down, or hand-tossing a ball when they are expecting it to come off the racquet. You would be amazed how quickly their focus sharpens once they realize you will not be feeding the usual perfect-ball-to-the-forehand they have come to expect. They may complain at first, but don't be fooled! They love it! The crazier the feed, the better!
Squirrel Crossing doesn't get any better than this
Update: regarding the feed, I also sometimes let the next Squirrel feed the ball. Talk about some crazy feeds!