Monday, August 13, 2012

Star Catcher

What's not to like?
Thank you NatGeo for the pretty pic
I first saw Star Catcher demonstrated at a USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop. It works best with large groups playing across multiple courts, especially if you have 36-foot courts set up adjacent to each other to make switching courts simple and quick. P.E. teachers: this activity works great in the gym.

Assign one side of the courts as the Star side and send one player per court to that side. All other players will be challenging the Stars to become the new Star. Challengers take turns playing singles against the Star players. As soon as a point is complete, the challenger rotates to a different court and a new challenger comes in. Make sure challengers understand this and don't hang out at one court to earn all their points.

Challengers must earn three points to become a Star. When the third point is earned, the challenger takes the place of whichever Star player they have beaten to earn the third point. That Star player now becomes a challenger. There is no need for the Star players to keep track of points earned. They just need to keep winning to remain a Star.

I played this recently with beginners ages 6-9 on 36-foot courts with red balls. Although most were new to tennis and the rallies did not last long, they picked up the concept very quickly and enjoyed playing it. Everyone had an opportunity to be a Star. I had the challengers bounce feed to start the point. If they were unable to get the ball in play after two tries, they were out and someone else came in to try.