Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Serve Progression #1

The Serve: the most important stroke of this game. Expect to see lots of serve drills in this blog. I gotta million of 'em! This one is pretty basic. I first saw it at a PTR Certification and have used it in some form or other many times since.

Begin in the middle of the service box, not far from where your players may expect to hit a volley rather than a serve. Mark four spots across the court (represented by the red Xs in my cheesy homemade graphic at right). These four spots are the four spots one might likely serve from: out wide at deuce and ad (for doubles), and near the hash mark or middle ad and deuce side (for singles). Each player serves from each of the four positions, working their way across the court (usually from left to right or ad to deuce). After all have served at the first position, move back to position #2 at service line and repeat. Then back to position #3, halfway between service line and baseline. Fourth and last position at baseline. Allow 2 balls per serve, as in a real game. Assign points as follows:

Over Net: 1
Cross Court: 2
Inside Correct Service Box: 3
Foot Fault: - 5
In Net: - 2
Long/Wide: - 1

My adaptation to this scoring system: for my older players, I eliminate the first two options. They either get it in the correct box, or they get point penalties.

Because they are starting so close to they net, they have an opportunity to rack up the points before they get farther back on the court and errors are more likely.

Player with most points at end of rotations wins.

Caution: as with any activity where players are charged to keep track of their own scores, sad to say there is the possibility for, shall we say, creative bookkeepping. You may have to 'help' them keep score.