Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cardio For Two

This drill is from Cosmin Miholca's site Excited to try it soon with my students.

Players face each other across the net using only one half of the court. Balls must stay in service boxes; in other words, players are playing straight ahead. One player must allow every ball to bounce before hitting it. The other player must alternate between bounce hits and volleys. Failure to do so will award a point to the other player. First to 7 points wins; then reverse roles.

You could do this cross-court to mix things up a little. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

DTL Champs

DTL (Down The Line) Champs is from Inaki Balzola, in the May/June 2014 issue of TennisPro Magazine. It is presented as a ball machine drill.

Machine/pro feeds from service line. Players are arranged on ad and deuce baseline across net. Players hit one approach, then two volley shots. They are trying to hit targets straight ahead/down the line at the opposite baseline. One point for balls hit just behind the service line out wide; two points for balls hit at baseline near the hash mark, and three points for any hit in the deepest wide corner where singles line and baseline intersect. See chart below for a way better explanation of the points targets.

Players rotate into opposite lines to get experience hitting from both sides of court. Player with most points at end of round wins.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Net Gain

Net Gain is my name for Alejandro Ciffoni's series of net drills in the May/June 2014 issue of
TennisPro Magazine. You will need at least four players.

Two players are at net. The other two are across the net at the service line. Goal is to rally 8-12 times with the player straight ahead of you.  Net player is aiming for a spot (real or imagined) in the middle of the service box. Net player should attempt to hit a variety of shots to the returning player's backhand and forehand. Once rally goal is met, players switch spots.

When all players have met the first goal, move returners location to halfway between service line an baseline. Net player is now aiming for service line area. Repeat exercise until all players have had a chance at both positions.

Finally, move returners to baseline. Net players are aiming for the mid-court area.

Remind your players this is a cooperative activity to achieve the rally goal, not an opportunity for the net player to blast winner after winner.

If your players are not to the level where they can return these volleys effectively and maintain a rally, set up a generous target for them to aim at instead and make it a target goal rather than a rally goal.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Forbidden Zone

This doubles drill is from OnCourtOffCourt. It can easily be adapted to work on a variety of shots and singles as well.

Mark off the middle third of the court from net to baseline. This is the Forbidden Zone. Play doubles. Any shots landing in the middle third mean a point for the opponent. This version will help players work on hitting angled shots.

Now change the rules so that the middle zone is the preferred zone and the outside thirds are forbidden. Keeping the ball in the middle of the court can be a sound strategy in both singles and doubles.

Overall, it is important that players are able to control direction, the third layer of our tennis skills pyramid.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Return of Doom

Here's a lesson plan to focus on the 2nd most important shot of the game: the return of serve.

I used my Ropezone to divide the court diagonally from ad net to deuce baseline. All players are on opposite baseline. I fed a simulated serve into the deuce service box. We then played 21: players are trying to be the first to get at least 21 points. They get 2 points for returns hit cross court and 1 point for hitting down the line. If they are hitting a lot of net balls, I may choose to deduct one point for any net balls. Anyone landing on 13 points had to go back to zero. First player to 21 wins. Then move Ropezone to opposite corners, move players to ad side and repeat.

Now that the players have warmed up their returns, let them warm up their serves. Commence time round round robin, singles or doubles. Score game as usual EXCEPT any missed return of serve is GAME OVER. Keep track of games won per player. Player with most wins at end of round robin wins. You could also keep track of how many players lost a game by missing their return. Player with fewest misses wins.