Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Three T's: Tag Team Tennis

Extra points if you
know where this sign is from
Tag Team Tennis (TTT) aka Relay Tennis is enshrined as one of the Top 10 Games Every Tennis Coach Better Know Or Else. And with good reason! It is road-tested. I use it all the time and find it very effective for all ages and abilities. It's a good warm-up, simple to explain and execute, needs no props, is good for large groups, requires focus, and best of all, rewards consistency.

Divide your players into two groups. Send them to opposite sides of the court. Someone bounce feeds the first ball and a singles point is played out. Here's the trick: each player hits only ONE ball in the point. Hit ball, run to end of your group's line, hope next player is paying attention and runs in behind you to hit the next ball. Whoever misses feeds the next ball. You can play this without points for a set time period as a warm-up, or play it for points until one side wins.

Because this activity emphasizes consistency, no winners are allowed to be hit. Winners result in point for other team.

Variations

  • For players who have trouble rallying, they can play TTT by tossing the ball rather than using their racquets. 
  • Increase difficulty by stipulating particular shots to be hit - all forehands, all backhands, all cross-court, two bounces, etc. 
  • Racquet drop: once your players understand TTT, add this fun component. Whoever makes an error must set their racquet down and share remaining racquets. Game ends when one team runs out of racquets. Coach may call a racquet drop for any number of infractions such as not paying attention, feeding ball improperly, etc.