Thursday, March 7, 2013

Black Hole 2 - Serve and Return

If you are a USTA member and you receive their 15-30 digital magazine, you may have seen this game in their most recent issue. In the video explaining the game, host John Evert didn't give it a name, so I did. It is similar to the Black Hole game, where hitting various locations on the court determine how points are awarded. We are modifying Black Hole to make it a serve/return of serve activity.

Two players play out singles points. Part of the server's side is marked with stripes or small cones. If the returner's ball lands behind the marked area, the returner gets one point. If the returner's ball does not land in the marked area, the server gets a point. So in this example, the Black Hole is where we do NOT want the return of serve to land. It is the returner's job to hit a quality return. It is the server's job to hit such a nice serve as to make the returner's job very difficult. First to XX points wins, depending on how you want to structure the game.
Ignore the Play arrow from this screen capture. If you want to see
 the full video, click here. Inside the yellow cones is the
Black Hole. No bueno!

As for which part of the court is marked off, in the video, the goal was to return the ball deep, behind the halfway point of the back court (midway between the service line and the baseline) as well as in the  2-3 foot 'alley' adjacent to the singles sideline. So ideally the returner is returning deep cross court, or deep down the line. Even in the middle of the court is okay as long as it is deep. This may be too challenging for younger players, so consider asking them to aim for a large square deep and cross court, or just anywhere deep.