Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ready, Aim, Volley!

I developed this activity recently by blending the Happy Feet warm-up with Capture the Net.

  • Scatter some tennis balls at the net.
  • Place some spots at volley distance from the net.
  • Have players leave their racquets at the net.
  • Adjourn to the baseline.
  • Coach will give two verbal commands.
    • Coach says 'Happy Feet!'. Players start moving their feet as described in the blog post on Happy Feet.
    • Coach says 'Go!' or whatever the special word of the day is. On this signal, players rush to net, collect racquet, collect one ball, and self-feed to volley it over the net. Once ball has been hit, player(s) put racquet down and return to baseline.

Encourage players to try different spots each time. Remind them to face sideways and start with their racquets held high to hit their volleys.

Progression
(Singly or in some combination)
  • Add targets across the court. 
  • Have player call their target and aim for it with their self-fed volley.
  • Work as teams to hit each target at least once before all balls are eliminated from player side of net. 
  • Coach feeds balls from across court. Add spots for one or two ground strokes before progressing to net volley. 
Note: very young players may have difficulty hitting the volley over the net with a self-feed (toss). Encourage them to keep working on this as it progresses nicely to an overhand serve. However if they are having trouble, transition to #4 above and toss the ball to them once they have arrived at the net.