Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Net Work

This simple but effective drill idea is from the 3rd Toad tennis blog. Its purpose is to get players comfortable with coming in to the net. Works for both singles and doubles. Also great for fitness and footwork.

Two players rally from the baseline cooperatively. After the third rally, one player moves in to the net and point is played out competitively.

For more than two players, divide players into more or less equal groups and have them rotate in after every point. Continue until all players have had a chance at both positions.

Variation: baseline player who wins point trades places with net player.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Group Serving Lesson Plan

Here's a serve lesson plan great for larger groups.

Form two teams. Station each time at the service line. Players take turn tossing balls overhand across the net into the correct service box (cross court). Continue until ball hopper is empty.

Ball pickup/water break

Skill activity: modified Clean Sweep
Teams at service line. One team member is sent across net cross court from rest of team. Players take turns serving from service line. If serve is in, team member across net retrieves ball and places it on the ground at net as a scorekeeping device (one ball = one point). Server now runs over to other side of court and is now score keeper. Next player in line now serves. Play continues until one team achieves 10 points.

Coach is stationed near servers. Teaching opportunities with groups between rounds and during serves with individual players.

Ball pickup/water break

Repeat above activity moving players back, now hitting serves from halfway between service line and baseline. Have teams switch sides of court to get practice serving from both ad and deuce.

Ball pickup/water break

Final repetition from baseline. Team winning best two out of three wins.

We had time at the end of our one-hour clinic for a round of Champs v Chumps which served as our cool down. They had done enough serving for one day. :)

Safety Tip: Be sure players take care not to run in front of servers or score keepers to avoid being hit by balls or slowing the game down.

This is a good cardio workout in addition to being a good serve drill. One player commented it 'wasn't fair' because the other team had one more player. I explained to them that was only an advantage if the other team was serving better. Players soon learned the more efficiently and quickly they ran this activity, the quicker they would win. It was fun to watch them manage themselves, encourage each other, and basically just figure stuff out on their own.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Forehand Lesson Plan

Here's a complete one-hour lesson plan including warm-up, instruction, and match play using drills that have been posted here previously.

Warm-up: Figure 8

Drop & Hit
Ken DeHart's drill is a simple and effective way to introduce using a tracking arm when hitting the forehand.

Four Ball
Adapt the original drill and focus only on forehands for the player working with the coach.

Forehand Challenge
Using quick-moving lines or a forehand caterpillar, all players take turns hitting forehands (fed by coach) using the tracking arm and shoulder turn. For every forehand that lands in playable area, players earn a point. As a group they are trying to earn X number of points. Forehands not using the tracking arm do not count toward the total. Extend this activity by repeating, having each individual player trying to be the first to earn the required number of points.

Match Play
Coach observes match play, encouraging/reminding/reinforcing use of tracking hand on all forehands.