Monday, July 30, 2012

Win In 5 (or die trying)

Bust out your untangling skills for this drill
This may be the most complicated activity I have seen included in a QuickStart booklet. I had to put on my thinking cap to figure it out. It would be a challenge for any adult clinic, so feel free to give it a try there also.

I like the concept. Its intention is to create an understanding of how to build points. It is for more experienced players who are able to place shots.  It says you will need five players per team, which I disagree with - see below. If you don't have five, you can have the players rotate relay-fashion but this will make an already complicated game even more difficult.

Assign each player per team a number 1-5. Each player is responsible for a different shot. For example let's say our teams are Red Team and Blue Team. Player #1 on Red Team, aka Red 1, serves from deuce. Player #1 on Blue Team aka Blue 1, returns from deuce side serve straight ahead. Meanwhile after Red 1 has served, they get out of the way and Red 2 pops in to the court on the ad side to take the straight ahead return from Blue 1.

Red 2 must hit a cross court shot. Blue 2 is now on their own ad court ready for it since Blue 1 hit their return and got off the court.

Are you confused yet??

Blue 2 hits down the line to Red 3 who is ready and waiting at their own deuce side baseline.

Red 3 hits cross court. Blue 3 is at their deuce side wide, awaiting the shot.

After Red 3 hits cross court, this completes the cycle of 5 shots alluded to in the title. To recap, here are the five shots:
Serve (hit by Red 1)
Return (hit by Blue 1)
Cross Court (hit by Red 2)
Down the Line (hit by Blue 2)
Cross Court (hit by Red 3)

As if that weren't confusing enough, here's the scoring strategy. If Red 3's fifth shot ends the point, the Red Team wins 5 points. If it is not a winner and play continues, so be it, but whichever team wins that point only gets one point. First team to 25 wins.

It is not clear from the instructions but it appears if Red 3's shot does not end the point, play continues between Red 3 and Blue 3 - no further player rotation is needed in that point. Also I assume the next point is begun by Red 4 serving with Blue 4 returning and the other players maintaining their original order in line. Again, not clear from the instructions.

Seems to me this would be better with three players per side so they can work on specific shots each time. For instance Blue 2 is working on their down the line shot while Red 3 is working on their cross court ground stroke. Play one game to 25 with all six players in the position the entire game. Once that game is complete, players move to a different spot so they can work on a different shot.

The graphic included for this game causes even more confusion. It looks like a plate of court diagram spaghetti! It will be easier to understand walking through it with one player on court at a time and IMO having them focus on one shot each per game rather than worry about where they are in the rotation after every hit ball.

I agree with their suggestions on variations to make this easier.
  • Reduce number of shots required to win point to 3 - serve, return, and 3rd shot.
  • Eliminate 1 point scoring feature and award 5 points to winning team no matter how it is won (as long as the minimum number of balls has been played, of course). 
Good grief! Good luck!