Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get In The Zone

Maybe this is what we should call
the neutral zone
Tennis.com has a great article out on reducing errors. Naturally we all want to reduce errors. But I don't think enough players realize the commonly reported statistic that 80% of tennis points are determine by errors. I don't have any way of verifying this stat, but since it helps me underscore the importance of playing smart, I am going to keep using it until I hear otherwise!

The analysis of the tennis court and its various zones in the article is a must-read for players who are able to understand the strategy of using the proper shot at the proper time. This may be your advanced beginners and up. There are a couple of different activities in this blog that help players determine which shot to hit, or more to the point, which shots NOT to hit, depending on where you are on the court. For my students, the biggest mistake I see is that they are overzealous about hitting winners at the wrong time. A close second is the exact opposite: failing to end the point when they are in what I call the 'kill' zone (near the net). 

So I have concocted this zonal activity to reinforce not only the zones of the court but what should and shouldn't be done in each. 

Divide the court into thirds laterally. Baseline third is the defensive ('grind') zone. Net zone is the offensive ('kill') zone. Middle third is the neutral zone. Players play singles points from the baseline. They earn one point each time their ball lands in the baseline third (baseline to baseline). No points earned or deducted if player or ball is in neutral zone. Point deducted for any ball landing in offensive zone. Final twist: point also deducted if player is pulled into offensive zone but fails to put the point away. First to X wins (your choice based on level of players and size of group).  Note entire game could be concluded in a single point if you have a couple of moonballers on court together. Scorekeeping could be complicated so consider enlisting waiting players to help keep the score.