Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Roller Derby

Shout-out to Brian Clark, former tennis coach at USC-Lancaster. I learned this game while working at one of his summer camps. It's a fun activity for just about any level and age. The larger the group, the better!

Divide players into two teams. Teams face each other across net. Everyone is on the court at the same time, so make sure everyone is spread out and has plenty of room. Ball is fed and basically anything goes as long as they don't touch the ball with their hands.  Multiple bounces, multiple hits, carrying ball on racquet, multiple players handling balls, scooping it up the net to keep it from rolling, dribbling, you name it. In fact, the more players are involved in handling the ball before it is sent back over the net, the more fun this is! As long as the ball is still bouncing, it is live and playable. Once a ball is allowed to roll, no more bouncing, ball is dead and point is awarded to other team.

Some tips are required for safety and to keep a little control of the chaos that is bound (and intended) to ensue.

  • Safety first - especially with large groups. Make sure they start each new point spread out, even if they don't end up that way after the ball is in play.
  • First bounce must be within playable area but after that, anything goes. So for example if after the first bounce the ball rolls past the baseline or onto the next court, that's okay - team must pursue until they send it back over the net. Things can get a little crazy and ball may bounce back to other team's territory without being deliberately sent there. Just make a judgment call if it happens. This game is pretty loosey-goosey. 
  • Roller Derby works with a variety of balls but obviously is more lively with the yellow balls; foam balls come in second, then the various low compressions. The LC balls make this a bit more of a challenge since they don't bounce as much, but it is still fun.

Like Jail Break, this is a game that the kids will play endlessly if you let them. I usually save it as a reward at the end of a clinic. You can let them play it for a set period of time, or until one team earns X number of points.