Friday, September 28, 2012

3 of a Kind

Here's a great activity to promote consistency and building on momentum. It's another selection from Aaron Fox's presentation 10 Games for 10 and Under Tennis at the 2012 PTR Symposium. BTW have you penciled in May 2013 for the next symposium? It will be at Hilton Head.

3 of a Kind is my favorite kind of drill. It is simple and effective, good for all levels, good for any size group, no special equipment required. The objective is to win 3 points in a row. To emphasize the importance of building momentum, one team will always have a score of 0 because whenever one team earns a point, the other team goes back to zero.


  • are endless. Combine this scoring strategy with just about any other drill you find in this blog or elsewhere.
  • Can be played with only two players playing singles or two large teams rotating players after every point.
  • Works great for doubles also.
  • Coach fed or player bounce feeds to start point. Hint: when I have players feeding, I usually let the team who just lost the last point start the next point.

Easier - slower balls, smaller courts, or lose the racquets completely and have players tossing and catching instead.
Harder - designate type of balls hit (short, deep, cross court, volley, forehand, backhand, etc.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In The Middle Solves The Riddle

Look at all of that beautiful middle
space just waiting for you to hit into it
"In the middle solves the riddle" is one of those old tennis saws that may be annoying after you have heard it for the umpteenth time, but it really is true. Keeping the ball in the middle of the court is a smart strategy for both singles and doubles. Lots more real estate there, lower margin of error, less chance of donating a great opportunity to your opponent(s). This game should get your players in the Middle Mindset. You will need at least 4 players (although you could squeak by with three).

Two players begin at the net. Two more face them at the opposite baseline. Coach at net post feeds ball to baseline team. When ball is fed, net players must move laterally to their respective alley sidelines, then get back into position. This movement will create a nice big empty hole in the middle of the court for the baseline team to hit to. As with Two On One, this is a tiring drill, so keep the rotation intervals brief. Play to 3-5 points or feed 3-5 balls to each baseline team before rotating.

You could play this as a variation of Two On One if you are short a player.

Two On One

Be thankful you are not
facing these two in this drill
Two On One is a demanding activity, perfect for odd numbers of players. It's a simple concept with many potential variations.

Two players set up at the net. A third player is at the baseline across the net from them. One of the net players feeds the first ball cooperatively to the baseline player and they play out the point. Net players must cover their entire court; baseline player is only responsible for the singles court (no alleys).

This can be very frustrating and tiring for the baseline player, so my recommendation is a quick rotation after 3-5 points. The baseline player should be focused on not giving the net team much, if anything, to work with. The net players should be focused on putting the ball away whenever possible.


  • Reduce the options for the players, such as no lobs or all forehands.
  • Make it a cooperative activity similar to a league warm-up - net players must return all balls playable to baseline player so he/she can work on passing shots/lobs.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Crash is the last of Aaron Fox's 10 Games for 10 and Under Tennis from his 2012 PTR Symposium presentation. It is a variation of what he calls 'Dingles' but may be more familiar to you as One Ball, Two Ball with a dash of Rush N Crush. You will need at least 4 players, two teams of two. They should be able to rally from the baseline.

Four players take the court across the net from each other at the baseline. One team feeds. Both players on this team feed one ball each so that two balls are in play at the same time. Each player plays straight ahead only with their opponent. When someone misses, they yell 'Crash' and all four players must rush to the net and play out the remaining ball/point. If someone fails to rush the net, their team loses the point. First team to 11 points wins.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reality Check: New 10 and Under Tennis Competencies

USTA recently released a set of videos explaining the competencies expected at the various levels of progress in 10 and Under Tennis (red ball, orange ball, green ball). I have not watched all of them yet - there a lot! But my first reaction after watching the first red ball video is the same reaction I have watching most red ball demonstration videos: this player is clearly not a red ball player! They appear to be orange ball or higher level players borrowed for the video. At least when USTA Florida created their version of 10U videos, they stated up front they had an orange ball player playing the role of a red ball player. If the USTA video stars are red ball players, they are the biggest, strongest, most athletic red ball players in the world.

I love that USTA is putting so much support behind the 10U initiative. There is no doubt these players and the skills they demonstrate in the videos are definitely what we instructors should be aiming for as we teach young beginners.  I would have a stronger connection to the videos if the players were more believable to me. I would also love to have courts full of 6-year-olds performing at this level. Are these videos are a little distanced from reality, or is it just me?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Top 10 Must Haves For Junior Beginners

As a 10 and Under Tennis specialist, many of my students have never set foot on a tennis court before our first meeting. Their parents often ask me what the player needs to bring. Unlike some sports such as hockey and football, our needs are simple. The absolute must-haves are 1) shoes and 2) racquet. Do the math and you will see that I have eight other items I find extremely useful for the junior beginner tennis experience. Push comes to shove, those two will do.

Look for the reinforced sole
at the ball of the foot below
the big toe
It is extremely important for safety reasons that your player's shoes are athletic/sneakers. It is important for the maintenance of our facilities that they are the non-marking variety. Most kids have sneakers, and many of these are running shoes. That's okay but they do sometimes tend to be a little too grippy on hard courts. So if your child is going to get serious about tennis, at some point you might want to consider getting them some true tennis shoes. You want the sole of the shoe to match the surface they will be playing on. Generally speaking this is a court shoe. If your facility has clay courts, they do make clay court-specific shoes. Encourage your player to save the tennis sneaks for tennis and wear the non-tennis shoes for other stuff - school, errands, etc.

Tennis, like most sports, is evolving and taking advantage of many technological updates. One big change is multiple racquet sizes for juniors. They now come in 19, 21, 23 and 25 inch lengths (adult racquets start at 27 inches). If this is your child's first experience with tennis it is extremely important the racquet fit the child, especially if the child is 10 or younger. Today's racquets are lighter and smaller and generally designed to fit the height of your child. Read the label carefully before you buy. Resist the urge to dust off that wooden Pancho Gonzales antique you rescued from your granny's garage sale. :)

That's the two items you just can't do without. The following are more items your player will find useful. Have I overlooked anything?

Are you the right demographic
for this item??
For boys and girls, it is so important to have a place to stash an extra tennis ball or two, especially when you start playing in tournaments and no coach is there with a cart full of balls, tossing you one whenever you need it. I have been to too many introductory events where inordinate amounts of time are wasted during a match because players don't have pockets and are moseying all over the court after every point to retrieve balls for serve. For the love of all that is holy, please acquire some shorts with pockets for your player. For the girls, if they are into the tennis attire, good news - the little undershorts under most tennis skirts are stretchy and designed for you to be able to tuck a ball there and actually have it stay there while you are running around on the court - very convenient! If that is not an option there are also little inexpensive plastic ball holders that clip onto the waistband of your shorts. Fair warning: I have never seen anyone under age 40 use one of these things. I have never seen a male of any age use one. You have been warned.

Most of my new students come out without any type of head covering or shade apparatus. I realize this is a matter of personal preference. Since I live and teach in the south, I consider a hat a matter of self-preservation. Shading the eyes and head is just common sense. For players with lots of hair, hats are a twofer - they shade your eyes and keep your hair out of your face. Sunglasses may better suit your player. I suggest tossing a hat or visor in your bag JIC - Just In Case!

Speaking of bags - once my students start getting serious about tennis, they find they are accumulating lots of items to lug to the lesson, and a bag becomes very handy. It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to be new. But having a bag for all the tennis stuff helps everyone stay organized and helps prevent that uh-oh moment when you arrive at your tennis lesson and realize you left your racquet at home. Also, it eases the transition from Mom/Dad lugging all the tennis stuff to the students being responsible for all their tennis stuff! If you are interested in a tennis-specific bag, there are lots of them out there. Find one you like online, then Google like crazy to find the best deal.

Water Bottle
Many facilities have water on the courts, but not all. Even if they do have water on court, bringing your own water bottle to refill is the green thing to do.

This is a personal preference because I am a sweat hog and I use a towel frequently when teaching, never mind when playing. Most people have a perfectly suitable hand towel lying about at home with nothing better to do. Put it in the bag!

Because I live in South Carolina. Enough said.

Bug Spray
Because I live in South Carolina. Enough said.

Not usually needed for a 45-60 minute lesson, but definitely handy when your player starts playing tournaments. Average match lasts 1.5 hours; some can go longer, and your player will likely play more than one match per day. More about proper nutrition for competition in another blog post.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

California Corners

Here's another singles activity for two or more players from Aaron Fox's presentation at the 2012 PTR Symposium. It has the added bonus of also being a fitness challenge. But I guess all singles drills are a fitness challenge, aren't they??

Two players (or teams of players) begin on each end of the court diagonally from each other at the intersection of the singles line and the baseline. One end or team is designated as the Running Team. Coach feeds first ball to the Running Team to opposite half of the court from wherever they are lined up. So for example if the players are lined up on the deuce side corner, coach feeds first ball into the middle of the ad side of the Running court. Players play out the court. Player who wins the point runs back and touches the corner where they began the point, and coach feeds next ball. Coach always feeds Running Team side regardless of who wins each point. First team to 11 wins and teams switch roles (non-running team is now Running Team for round 2).

Easier - use slower balls and smaller courts.
Harder - put restrictions on play such as hitting balls beyond service line, only forehands, only backhands, only cross court, etc.

Aaron, I hope you don't mind if I call this Carolina Corners when I use it. :)

UPDATE: My orange ball students love this game. I have been using this frequently, pairing it with whatever stroke we are emphasizing during the lesson. For example if we are working on our forehands, I play this game by making the first fed ball to their forehand.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Interview With JTT LLC Ava Montgomery

Ava Montgomery is the USTA Jr. Team Tennis local league coordinator in Murfreesboro, TN. This is her first year to be an LLC.  In addition to her LLC duties, she also maintains a blog for her league with lots of great team pictures, so check it out here. Thanks, Ava, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions.

10U10S: How did you get involved with your local JTT?
AM: I've been involved with our local JTT program as a parent volunteer and team captain for four years.  My son was a freshman in high school the first year we had a JTT program in Murfreesboro.  So, that is how I was introduced to JTT.

Boro JTT 10s Wilson Warriors
10U10S:How is your JTT season structured?
AMWe had four JTT seasons in 2012:  Spring, Summer, August, and Fall.  

10U10S:How many kids participate? What age groups?
AM: We offered JTT for players age 5-18 of all levels. We had about 80 players in the Spring and August.  We had about 90 players in the Fall.  We had almost 200 players in the Summer!  Since this was the first year Murfreesboro had a large JTT program and my first year to be the coordinator, it was a little overwhelming.  I've learned a LOT and I enjoyed working with the players and parents.

10U10S:Who are your team coaches?
AMWe use parent volunteers to be the team captains for our JTT Teams.  One of our summer teams paid a pro to be their captain.  That team was "Boro Green" and they won the 2012 State JTT 18 Under Intermediate Tournament and were Finalists in the 2012 JTT Southern Section JTT 18 Under Intermediate Tournament in Auburn, Alabama.  My son played for Boro Green and my family really enjoyed our local league and both tournaments.

10U10S:How do you recruit volunteers?
AMWe use a LOT of teenage volunteers in our JTT program.  Some of our local middle and high schools require their students to work service hours.  So, I recruit helpers for the 8 Under JTT Program from these schools.  I also recruit volunteers from our local middle and high school tennis teams.  Even if the volunteers aren't tennis players, they are great for helping set up and take down mini-nets, load and unload tennis "stuff" from my car, and play games with the 5-8 year old players.  Some of these helpers have told me they'd like to take tennis lessons and start playing tennis because they have so much fun helping with JTT.

10U10S:What advice would you give players considering participating? 
AMIf a parent or player comes to me and asks about participating in JTT, I do my best to encourage them to do so or to try tournaments or other play formats.  I tell all of them JTT is a great place to get match play experience and have fun.  Even if the adults aren't familiar with tennis, I encourage them to come help with JTT because they can learn while they help.  Some of these parents participated in our local adult clinics this summer and started playing tennis themselves!

Who's On Court?

Here's a question for all of you tennis coaches out there: where do your students' parents hang out during your lessons?

My coaching experience began with camps and Jr. Team Tennis, so either there were no parents (camps) or tons of parents (JTT) but all off court since there were so many of them. As I progressed to more traditional clinic-style teaching, the classes were smaller and the times were such (afternoon/evening) that it was not unusual for a few parents to be hanging around waiting for the lesson to be over. Sometimes they drift onto court but I usually ask them to observe off court so that they (and their child) get in the habit of the parents being off court when their child starts playing tournaments. I don't mind that they are very nearby and can hear and see everything we say and do together on court. I just have it in my mind that the only ones on the court should be the players, not the fans.

Recently I observed other teaching pros with a different philosophy. During what appear to be private lessons, while the student is hitting with the pro, the parent is wandering around on court collecting balls and depositing them in the cart. My first impression: hey, this is great! A real time-saver - no tedious ball pickup during the private, all time devoted to instruction. But the closer I looked, the less I liked this. Plenty of convo was going on between parent and pro during lesson, which is fine on one hand, but seems somewhat distracting on the other. I guess I am thinking the lesson time is a time for student and teacher to bond, communicate, collaborate, and the focus should be on the student. But I also understand why developing a similar relationship with the parent is important. Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


This drill would be easier
if we all had wings
The Butterfly drill is a fixed pattern drill. Will Hamilton of featured it in his recent preview of the US Open final between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. It requires strong directional skills, but I have some ideas on how to modify it for beginners. This drill gets its name from the shape or pattern of the ball paths if it is performed correctly.

  • Two players play singles. They begin cross court from each other. 
  • Player 1 feeds ball cross court to Player 2. 
  • Player 2 hits this ball straight ahead/down the line
  • Player 1, after feeding first ball, runs to other sideline to hit Player 2's ball, again cross court. 
  • In the meantime Player 2 has headed to the opposite sideline to return this second cross court ball and again hits it straight ahead/down the line, where (hopefully) Player 1 is waiting. 
  • Players continue running sideline to sideline working on these two strokes. 
You can make this a point play game, or play for a set number of minutes before players switch roles.

As you can see, this activity requires both directional skills and a high level of fitness. I think it is plenty hard enough as-is, so here are some ideas for making it easier.

Easiest - players toss and catch balls rather than hitting them with racquets.
Medium - play on smaller courts with slower balls.

Play as doubles in service boxes. Less running required, but still demands a high level of concentration and a medium level of directional skills.

Monday, September 17, 2012

5 Points

5 Points from the air
Hence the name
If you are a PTR certified tennis professional or have attended any USTA-sponsored coaching workshops in the last couple of years, you probably already know we are being asked to abandon the old style of tennis instruction where students stand in lines waiting in turns to hit balls fed one at a time by the pro all the way over there across the court. "No Laps, No Lines, No Lectures" is the new mantra. I support this most of the time. Standing in line is boring, and hitting a dead ball feed has little resemblance to what the player will see during a live match. However.

Sometimes players need some repetition just to get comfortable with what they are expected to learn. Quick example: I had some orange ball players just moving out of beginner status. They were able to rally and play but their technique left a little to be desired. So we spent one lesson focusing on swing path and point of contact, which meant I spent a good deal of time feeding them dead balls to let them experiment with the new technique. I was very pleased with the results. Sure, they stood in one spot for 15-20 minutes and did nothing but bang balls back to me. But by the time we finished, their forehands looked ten times better.

So I put together this simple blend of dead ball feeds and action to improve results and player experience when you feel some dead ball feeds are called for. BTW I named it after a popular retail area in downtown Columbia, SC. Go Cocks!

Assign players numbers so that they know whose turn it is in the rotation. Player One is the first to receive the dead ball feeds. All other players are behind the cart retrieving balls. After Player One has had 5 tries, he/she rotates over to ball retrieval and Player Two is now hitting feeds. Continue until all players have had their turns, cart is empty, mission is accomplished, whatever. Feed quickly and keep them moving and active - no slacking on retrieval duty. Encourage all players to get all 5 of their chances over the net and in play. This can easily be adapted to a point competition.

Variation: Rather than having a maximum of 5 balls, hitting player stays until they make a mistake.

Friday, September 14, 2012

One Third-Two Thirds

If you want to get really tricky
and you have lots of throw down lines
try dividing the court like this
While we are on the topic of dividing the court, here's another drill from Aaron Fox. Rather than dividing it into halves as in Slash, try dividing it into thirds. Aaron suggests dividing it vertically but I think it would work horizontally as well. One player is allowed to hit into two of the opponent's thirds; the other player may only hit into one of the opponent's thirds. Throw down lines or cones will be useful for this activity.

Coach chooses who hits into 1/3 and who hits into 2/3
Each player chooses their own 1/3
Each player chooses for his/her opponent which 1/3

Too difficult? Have both players hitting into 2/3 of the court.
Too easy? Have both players hitting into only 1/3 of the court.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I'll take the slice on the deuce side please
Thanks Aaron Fox for this simple but versatile and effective drill, presented at the February 2012 PTR Symposium in Orlando. The object of Slash is to improve directional consistency, so it is for advanced beginners and up.

Divide the courts into halves. Singles play is confined to those halves. First player to 11 points wins.

Divide court in half front to back.
Divide court in half deuce/ad.
Divide court in half diagonally.

Note this simple drill can easily consume an entire teaching hour or more if you play first to 11, best 2 of 3 for each variation. Or, develop a series of lessons progressing from each 'slash' or division of the court. IMO the way they are listed above is also the progression of easiest to hardest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Meltdown is a variation of Squirrel Crossing for large groups to eliminate long lines at the net post waiting to play in. Objective is for all players to focus on point play and move in to open positions quickly.

Divide players into two teams. Uneven is okay. Game is played inside service boxes only. Two players from each team take the court in the service boxes. All others are lined up behind the service line waiting to play in. Coach is at sideline feeding in first ball of each point.

As in Squirrel Crossing, the waiting player takes the place of the player who makes an error. Player making error moves to end of their team's line. This game needs to  move quickly - coach can be merciless and is under no obligation to wait until replacement player is ready.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rush N Crush

Rush N Crush is a tennis evergreen. As a doubles player and ever so fond of the net, I can't believe I have taken so long to include this drill.

Four players at a time, two on each baseline. Coach feeds in a short ball. All four players rush in and play out the point. After point ends, all four rotate out and two new doubles teams play next point.


  • Let the winners stay and only rotate the non-winning team.
  • Designate a winning side and have the winning team run to that side at the end of the point. 
  • Have both teams run to opposite baseline after each point, regardless if they win or lose the point.
  • Convert to a singles activity by having players play singles cross-court one on one. Players are still lined up on both halves of the court; they just play one at a time rather than as a doubles team. Coach feeds first ball quickly. Deuce to deuce plays out point; then coach feeds ad side players and they play out their point. Quick feeds and rotations to keep things moving.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stuff It

I saw this relay game in a booklet designed by Jason Jamison for carnivals and other large events. I have modified it slightly. You will need some tennis balls, two containers and enough players for two teams of 2 or more players each.

Stuffing shirts is less awkward
when it is your own shirt
Each team selects a Stuffer and sends them to the opposite side of the court with an empty container of your choice.* An empty ball hopper works fine. The rest of the team stays at their baseline. When coach says Go!, each team has 60 seconds to bounce feed balls to their Stuffer, who must retrieve them and put them in the hopper. Players take turns hitting one ball over the net one at a time. Whichever team has the most balls in their hopper at the end of the 60 seconds wins.

So this activity encourages getting the ball over the net and sending it to a target. Variation: have teams serving cross-court to their Stuffer.

In the original game the Stuffer was stuffing a t-shirt or jacket, presumably worn by another team member. By changing this to a hopper we have no one standing around getting stuffed <g> and no awkwardness about stuffing someone else's clothing with tennis balls.

*Having difficulty selecting a Stuffer? Try Fing Fong Fooey.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Volley Shootout

The purpose of the Volley Shootout is to improve reaction time when hitting the volley and to encourage hitting the volley to a proper target. You will need a hoop or other marker for the tossing player. Yep, you guessed it - it's from my PTR Kids Tennis Manual.

Place the hoop or spot on the court. Tossing player must stay here when tossing the ball. They are trying to get the ball past the player across the net, who is trying to take the tossed ball as a volley and put it away. Tosser gets one point for each ball they get past the volleyer. Volleyer gets one point for each clean winner. The tossing player must not leave their spot/hoop, but if they can touch the ball before it bounces twice, no points are awarded.

Toss 10 balls, then players switch roles.

Tried this with some orange ball players recently. I didn't have any hoops handy so I made both players stay in one half of the court, facing each other straight ahead in their respective service boxes. So the tossing player got an advantage of having a larger area to work in, and the volleying player had to hit better volleys to keep it away from the tosser. A great exercise for working on angled volleys!

The main difficulty with this activity is what kind of tosses to allow. Immediately had to outlaw lobs and constantly had to remind them to toss underhand only. Also no fair tossing outside of playing area. In other words toss had to be on same half of court we were playing on, more or less straight ahead. I was hoping they would figure it out on their own, but I had to break down and suggest  the importance of figuring out which side was the volleyer's backhand side and perhaps try to pass them on that side?? Light bulbs went on. Tossers gained additional advantage by keeping the ball low - another valuable lesson. This one they learned on their own after a couple of unfortunate high tosses turned into stinging volley winners!

We also modified this game to a team format, first to 11 wins, best two out of three. By the end of about 20 minutes of play we had refined the tossing and also had some great angled volley winners coming off some racquets. We finished the hour playing doubs, trying to put their new-found volley skills into practical application. Highly recommend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Three Teaching Aids I Want (and Three I Don't)

The latest Oncourt Offcourt tennis supply catalog arrived recently. Lots of goodies for 10 and Under Tennis. Here are my top three, and three I will pass on for now.

#1: Hoop Target Set
As you may know from some of my other blog posts, hula hoops are high on my list of next teaching aid acquisition. When I saw these in the catalog, I liked having the bricks to double their use - vertical as well as horizontal. Has anyone tried these? Are they worthwhile or should I just buy some regular hoops? It says these hoops are only 27" in diameter. Regular hoops are quite a bit bigger.

#2: Smart Squares
These are square spots with inspiring words printed on them such as 'Dream' and 'Respect'. I like the positive encouragement aspect but am trying to get away from using spots. Too many students think they have to stay on the spots! Thoughts??

#3: Pocket Radar
Nothing gets players fired up about working on their serves like a radar readout. At my previous club, we used to invite the local law enforcement personnel to our big events so they would bring their radar guns and clock serves for our serving contest. Then we bought the SpeedTrac product which wasn't bad - easy to read, simple to use, relatively affordable. But I see in this new catalog there is a Pocket Radar . For the same price as the SpeedTrac ($199) it is about the size of a large cell phone and works off two AAA batteries. It also has the ability to track player data over time. Too bad the player can't see it from across the net, like you can the SpeedTrac. But the size and data features might make it worthwhile.

Nice Try - But Not For Me
QuickStart Multi Cart - a trim profile lightweight cart with four interchangeable color coded baskets. Red basket for red balls, orange basket for orange balls, etc. Love the concept, neatness, organization. This may work for you at your club, but here's my issue. Our facility is huge, 30 courts. I have a loooooong walk from the main clubhouse (and supply closet) to the QuickStart courts, then a shorter walk from the QS to the 60 foot courts for back-to-back lessons. This cart would be great if a) I only needed two types of balls for back-to-back lessons, or b) my club was smaller or storage was closer to my courts and I had time to swap out baskets depending on the lesson. As it is now, I sometimes teach a foam ball or a green ball class before or after the red and orange classes, so most days I am going to need a third or fourth type of ball and don't have time to run back to the storage area to get them - I need to bring everything with me the first time around. Rumor has it an additional storage building closer to the QS courts is in my future. When this comes to pass, I will revisit this idea.

Nice Try #2
Oncourt Offcourt's new portable net system comes with a built-in scorekeeper. It is a simple set of plastic clips that slide up and down some numbers printed on the vertical edge of the net binding. For those of you who do not have permanent QuickStart courts (like I do - brag) and need some portable mini-nets, this is a cool feature. Couldn't help wondering what happens when the plastic clips break or get lost. Back to the clothes pins, I guess!

Gonna Pass On These
Knockdown Targets - we had these at another facility where I worked. The kids loved them. But they are pain in the posterior to store and transport from storage to court. Unless you have plenty of storage room adjacent to your QuickStart courts, or are willing to wrestle them back and forth between lessons, I would pass on these.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Volley Recovery

Oh so handy - I use them every day
My favorite shot to teach and to hit is the volley. Naturally this is because it is my best shot. So imagine my joy when I came across this great activity in my PTR Kids Tennis manual - a volley drill for 10 and unders! It is similar to the Cone Catch Relay, so if your students are familiar with that one, they will pick this one up quickly.

One player will be tossing (underhand!) and catching the ball. The other player will be hitting volleys off the tossed ball, so the players need to be old enough to toss decent feeds to forehand and backhand.

The tossing player will have a cone and needs easy but safe access to the ball hopper. The hitting player will need his/her racquet and a throw down spot. Spot should be placed 4-6 feet from the net on the hitting player's side.

Tosser alternates tossing balls to forehand and backhand of hitting player. Hitting player hits volleys off of these tossed balls - no bounce. After each volley, hitting player must recover to spot, then move forward to hit next volley. Throwing player must try to catch volley in cone after one bounce.

After 10 tosses, players switch roles.