Passing Etiquette

Date: Wed, 7 Sep 94 12:22:33 EDT
Subject: *Passing* Etiquette

This post is about what is considered acceptable, vs what only mentally
challenged people might want to try:

Generally the rule has become "catcher beware" or "catch at your own
risk."  If I can throw it, you ought to either catch it, or run - your
choice.  This is the way both catcher and thrower will make the most
progress.  With too much kindness, new things will never be learned!
     However there are some special cases.  One, which Andrew Conway
mentioned in another post, is the right-to-right double in 4-count (every
others).  It does mess up flourishes and right hand techniques which stall
a club.  Generally, do not mix right-to-right doubles into what you are
throwing, if your partner is doing tricks at the same time.  However,
among the very experienced passers, this too, is ok, they will know how to
adjust what they are doing to deal with it.
    Another case is just downright dangerous.  Do not throw a 5-spin high
pass in 2-count (express) or any other pattern, and then throw a
single-spin pass under it, to be caught before the 5-spin.  Almost always
the catcher will be watching the high pass, and not expecting the low one.
 They will not even see it, because they are looking up.  The only way
this is not dangerous, is if you plainly state what you are planning
     The last case is with beginning passers.  Do not do anything
unexpected.  They will put their face in the way, and blame you!  In fact,
with new passers, be careful about maintaining the pattern after a club
has fallen.  Most often, they will put all their attention on stopping to
get that club, and once grasped, they will spring back up holding a club
in their hand and a smile on their face - for a moment!
     One little thing you can always do which is quite helpful during
unpolished passes - throw to the outside.  If you have little control of a
trick, then you'll want to avoid passing to the inside, which is likely to
crash the catcher's pattern, and could result in injury or insults.
     I'm guilty of a breech of etiquette!  Andrew Conway claimed that I
never say "no" to anyone when it comes to passing, but lately at
conventions, I've had so many people who want to pass with me that I have
had to be selective.  Naturally, I chose to pass with only the best
catchers, as anyone would.  Now, I believe this is wrong.  Next
convention, I'm going to try to be more democratic.  I'm learning to have
fun at all levels of passing.  It is fun to see a new passer learn a new
trick, even if it is something I regard as simple.  If I have ever said no
to you at previous conventions, etc, ask again. But of course, keep in
mind, I may be truly overwhelmed with people I "should" pass with.  

Furthermore, I'm not really that good.  I have a reputation as some sort
of a passer, but there must be 100 people who are better than me.  I've
just figured out a technique or two which don't really require very much
     Lately, there has been a new style, first shown to me by Frank
Olivier a few years ago, which is interesting.  Instead of agreeing ahead
of time on a pattern, we just start throwing clubs.  It up to each passer
to catch whatever comes, whenever it comes. Within a moment, the pattern
resolves to 2-count, 3-count, pairs, 4-count, whatever.  Furthermore, it
is ok (when passing with Frank) to change patterns without warning at any

     I have stretched what I learned from Frank to cover a common
situation in 4-count, and other patterns, where the passer throws a pass
out of time.  If I'm aware, I try to multiplex catch the extra club, and
maintain the pattern, instead of dropping or stopping.  Beginning passers
love this - when it works.  - Jeff Napier - 

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