Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nine Lives Backhand Lesson

When I blogged about the Nine Lives game recently, I mentioned how easy it would be to adapt it to a variety of situations. Here's one I used recently for my red ball class. Beware, it's the mother of all progression drills, so adjust accordingly. You will need some clothes pins.

Pick a skill, any skill, that you want to work on. Recently it was a backhand day. So I used Nine Lives like this.

Players count out nine pins and pin them to the top of the net. Players stand at the T in the backhand position. Coach hand-feeds backhands to players from close proximity. One pin is removed each time the backhand is hit into play. Goal is to remove all pins. When this is done, end Round 1 and get a drink. Pick up balls if necessary.

Round 2: get nine more pins and pin on net. Move players back to baseline and repeat.

Round 3: you guessed it - nine more pins. Coach moves to other side of court across net, but still feeding by hand. Repeat.

Round 4: More pins! Players now start from ready position at baseline. Repeat.

Round 5: More pins! For the final round, coach feeds with racquet instead of by hand. Repeat.

You should have a pretty good stack of pins by now, 45 if my multiplication skills have not completely deserted me. You can do some fun stuff with the pins your players are accumulating, such as:

  • For group fun, just make a big pile of them somewhere to be admired and counted after the lesson.
  • For a more competitive spin, have each player put any pin they earn onto their shirt. Player with most pins at end of lesson wins.
  • For the Lego crowd, let them make something creative with the pins. This student made a dragon.