Tennis: Bonus for good positioning

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2 players play points against each other. Each player has a chance for additional points if he/she moves inside the baseline after a good offensive shot that forces the opponent to play defensively.

Drill specifications:

1-2 points and switch

2 players compete with each other. With more players coach can set up specific footwork drills to improve movement or let players watch the points and pay attention especially to moving inside the baseline after a good offensive shot. This drill can work as a competition where players work individually or in teams.


Anticipation and good positioning are necessary skills that all solid offensive players possessed while developing own game. Looking at the Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer it is visible that they predict opponent’s response and they move forward before even rival hits the ball. This awareness of effectiveness of own shot has to be trained during every day training sessions to make sure that players are able to make proper decisions automatically. Moving forward guarantees taking the ball earlier and cutting the opponent’s recovery time so players can hit winners more easily. The most common mistake made by juniors and amateurs is to stay behind the baseline after a good shot and wait for the next shot. This additional few seconds for the opponent to recover makes a big difference in a situational momentum so that is why offensive execution is not as effective as it should be.

In this drill players work on offensive skills in a match situation. Observing own shots and making proper decisions according to the effectiveness of these shots are factors that should be implemented into tactical situations. Coach should tell players to anticipate opponent’s response and move forward if they believe that rival will have to hit defensive shots. Some players argue that it is not effective when the opponent hits deep ball because they will have to quickly move back and hit from the back leg but we have to remember that only from time to time the opponent will be able to come up with this perfect response. More often we will receive easier balls so we will quickly use these opportunities to win the point. Coach grants 1 additional point for each attempt to move inside the baseline after a good offensive shot to achieve proper offensive position. This bonus will encourage players to focus on anticipation and awareness of own shots as also will develop stronger offensive approach because players don’t have anything to lose but they can get something extra.



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