Tennis: Attack it or drop it

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Bill, Newly qualified coach

DESCRIPTION

Player stands on the baseline. Coach feeds an easy ball and stays on the baseline or moves far behind it. Player has to make proper decision according to the coach’s position. If the coach is on the baseline player should attack the easy ball with a powerful groundstroke. If the coach moves far behind the baseline player should hit a drop shot.

Drill specifications:

4 repetitions per set

Small number of repetitions is required to achieve quality work. Peripheral vision is one of the skills that is necessary to effectively execute offensive strokes. Waiting players should work on making quick decisions after the visual sign so coach should prepare physical drills based on quick reaction.

COACHING POINTS

Power is not the only one option to pick while responding to an easy ball. Opponent’s position and skills should play a crucial role while deciding about the right way to win the point. Watching Roger Federer in action is a valuable lesson to see that smart decisions are much more effective than using the same method all the time. Repeating the same stroke over and over again helps the opponent to anticipate player’s response the next time so rival has more chances to defend the ball and win the point. Variety of offensive methods is the only way to keep the other player guessing and increase the effectiveness of own strokes.

 In this drill players work on different offensive methods according to the opponent’s position. The problem of many juniors is that they are not aware of where the rival stands on the court. This important information can have a big impact on offensive effectiveness because even the best stroke won’t guarantee the point if the opponent is waiting in the right defensive position. Coach should explain to players that they have to take a look at the opponent’s position and include this fact before they pick the shot. Hitting all the time into the corners is a bad choice if the opponent is waiting far behind the baseline because he has a lot of time to get to the ball and prepare defensive answer. On the other hand going with the drop shot won’t be effective if the opponent stands on the baseline because he will have a short distance to cover to get to the ball. Mixing these both answers up is an effective method to disturb opponent’s positioning.

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