Tennis: Height's decision

Your tennis drills are extremely useful coaching tools.
Nail, Tennis coach


2 players rally in cross court direction. Players make proper tactical decisions according to the height of the ball they receive. If the ball is really low player hits neutral shot. If the ball is at knee-to-hip level player hits neutral/offensive shot. If the ball is over the hips player tries to be aggressive.

Drill specifications:

Switch after 1 min or specific number of shots

4 players are hitting with each other while others cooperate with partners. Waiting players should focus on perception of the incoming ball so easy exercise where player 1 throws the ball at random height and player B has to say “high”, “medium” or “low” and hit it softly back to the player should be incorporated to accelerate the learning process. Fitness drills are also preferred with the main focus on legs and shoulders (necessary for successful attempts with high and low balls)


There are many factors that can help players to understand which balls are good for attacking and which balls are not. Many juniors try to hit the same kind of shot from different points of contact and the results are not as good as expected. Hitting below the knee has different tactical intentions than contacting the ball over the shoulder so players have to practice this recognition to better select own shots. Having a chance to watch the best players in the world from the close distance is the best lesson to understand how different decisions they have to make every time even in a simple cross court rally from the baseline.

In this drill players work on ball perception and proper decisions related to the height of the point of contact. Coach has to explain to players that good defenders vary the height of the ball to break the rhytm of the rally and see rival’s ability to adapt. It is important to work on patience because after few aggressive shots we can be forced to hit neutral shot if the opponent delivers a great low-bouncing slice. Hitting flat shots from all points of contact is a common mistake and reason of frustration for intermediate athletes so coach has to explain to players that they have skills to play better but improper decisions stop them from moving to the next level. To better assess players coach can tell them to say “high”, “medium” or “low” to see if player’s perception of the incoming ball is properly connected with the shot they are executing.



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