Thursday, March 28, 2013

1-2 Punch

Float that serve out wide like a butterfly,
then sting like a bee with your second shot
Recently I was reading Cosmin Miholca's blog entry about practicing serving out wide. He has some very simple and practical advice on how (and why!) to accomplish this. Boiling it down, he suggests:
  • Setting up some targets about a foot inside the singles line and 3 feet inside the service line on the deuce court. In other words, give a comfortable margin of error. 
  • Use a slice serve on the deuce side, brushing the '3 o'clock' position on the ball. 
  • On the ad side, use a kick serve to accomplish same (brushing up from 7 o'clock to 1 o'clock). 
  • To add the '2' to the punch you will either need a partner returning serve or a coach or partner feeding a second ball to simulate the return. Either way, practice putting this ball far from your opponent, who should be busy recovering position from your out-wide serve.

This is an admirable goal for our advanced beginners and up, but what about the young beginners?

  • Stick with the 1-2 theme. 
  • Have them serve to an out-wide target, then toss them the second ball for down-the-line. If they are having trouble serving, do the entire exercise with them tossing to targets rather than hitting/serving.
Consider point play with one point awarded each time BOTH balls are on target. Want an even more competitive aspect? Add a second player receiving the 'serve'. Server gets one point for each ball he/she gets past receiver. Receiver gets one point for each ball he/she catches after one bounce. First to X wins.