Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Butterfly

This drill would be easier
if we all had wings
The Butterfly drill is a fixed pattern drill. Will Hamilton of www.fuzzyyellowballs.com 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.

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

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