Tennis: Offensive-minded response

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Nail, Tennis coach

DESCRIPTION

Player stands on the baseline. Coach feeds high topspin ball into one of the corners. Player tries to hit the ball on the rise without moving back.

Drill specifications:

4 reps per set

If coach has more players during the session he can set up 2 lines of players and work on forehand and backhand at the same time. With less players coach can focus just on one groundstroke for few minutes and then switch to the next one. Incorporating specific fitness exercises focused on shoulder strength is a good way to prevent possible injuries because of the higher point of contact.

COACHING POINTS

Moonballs are often related to the lack of offensive skills. Players perceive opponents who hit a lot of moonballs as “pushers” and their only goal in mind is to keep the safest possible ball until we miss. Especially in the first stages of development this perception is completely true because players find this tactic really effective and comfortable. While progressing and dealing with players who can punish easy moonballs high topspin shots can be also used but they need a strong tactical goal behind it.

In this drill players work on dealing with moonballs by hitting them on the rise. The goal of the moonball is to move the player back so he can’t be aggressive and it is used often against really offensive tennis players. Coach has to explain to players that hitting on the rise is a difficult answer because of its specificity (hitting around the shoulders level, adjusting the backswing) but if it is performed correctly opponent will have to change the tactic because of lack of benefits of a high topspin shot. Coach should demonstrate how to hit this kind of balls and emphasize proper use of all body parts starting from the legs and finishing with the arm and wrist.

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