Saturday, April 13, 2013

Takeaway

Takeaway is a very simple consistency drill flexible enough for just about any level of player. I stole it
from a former colleague, Susie Brown. I throw it into the mix occasionally as a warm-up. I also plan on using it as part of my Personal Best challenge. More about that in a future blog post.

Coach can either set a baseline number or have the player 'pick a number between 1 and ??'. This second option works best the first time you do it. Once the player catches on, they will pick small numbers. Don't say I didn't warn you. Anyway - let's say the number is 10. Coach feeds designated shot, let's say forehand, to player. Player gets one point for every forehand hit into play, one point is deducted for each error. Once goal is achieved, either move on to next activity or switch to another shot or another location on the court.

For example recently I used this as a warm-up in a private. I had the student hitting forehands, then backhands from the service line. Once the goals were achieved, she moved to the baseline and repeated the challenge. One could also then challenge them to hit all shots cross court, down the line, topspin, lob, etc. etc. Player's goal should be to achieve the goal number in the shortest amount of time. You could also challenge them to achieve the goal with a minimum number of balls.

I don't like this for large groups as there is too much standing around, but for small groups or privates it is fine. With a small group, rather than have extra players waiting off court, have two or more across the net from the competing player returning balls. Count each rally as one toward the competing player's goal. When goal is achieved, rotate a different player over to the side achieving the goal.