Tennis: Tactical wisdom with directions

I have used many of the tennis drills and as a result my two High...
Linsent, Tennis coach


Coach feeds 3 balls to forehand side. Player hits 2 forehands cross court and 1 down the line. Coach feeds 3 balls to the backhand side. Player hits 2 backhands cross court and 1 down the line.

Drill specifications:

1 repetition per set

Switching after executing 1 full pattern is a good way to keep the drill dynamic. Watining players can work on crossover recovery step to improve recovery footwork and increase accuracy of the strokes while hitting. After 5 minutes coach starts feeding the ball first to the backhand side to make sure that players work on proper positioning also after backhand down the line.


Creating specific drills is an important aspect of successful coaching at any level. Knowing the real purpose of the drill is a necessity but hiding some additional skills into the exercise can bring much more improvements within the same amount of time. Varying the direction of the shots is an important aspect to understand the value of strategy in tennis so players have to spend significant amount of time on patterns built on cross court and down line. Knowing why and when to use specific direction is a factor that can decide who will win the match so implementing tactical thinking into the training session is the only way to take the most of player’s technical skills.

In this drill players work on tactical patterns based on cross court and down the line. By hitting 2 cross court shots player maintain good positioning on the court and can prepare the change of direction. Coach should explain to players that they should look for different options while rallying cross court to put the opponent into a difficult position. Players can work on depth to move the rival back or go with an angle to open the court. After 2 cross court shots player changes the direction with a down the line. Pace of the shot should be adjusted to the incoming ball so if the ball is easy player can go more agressively. After this 3-balls player continues the same pattern with the backhand stroke. 2 cross court shots prepare the ground for the last down the line. Connecting forehand and backhand in the same drill has a hidden purpose according to the positioning on the court. After a down the line shot proper position on the court is on the other side of the court (ad side after the forehand or deuce side after the backhand) so hitting backhands after the forehand pattern will force the player to take proper position on the court without even knowing about improving this skill. Players don’t have to focus on footwork but they improve this aspect by performing the drill.



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