Tennis: Taste your own shot

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Nail, Tennis coach

DESCRIPTION

Player stands on the baseline. Coach feeds high topspin ball into one of the corners. Player moves back, hits high topspin ball to the backhand corner and moves forward to the net. Coach hits the ball back and players finishes with a volley or smash.

Drill specifications: 

1 repetition per set

This drill should be performed dynamically to keep all players in a game as often as possible. To make it real coach can put one player to feed and hit off the other player’s moonball. Players switch as feeder after few minutes to make sure that all participants work on different skills in the same drill.

COACHING POINTS

It is always good to check how our opponent can handle the balls that he is delivering to us. Some players are really good at sending the moonballs but they are much worse while dealing with the same kind of balls. Being aware of this opportunity is the first step to pick the right answer and see the results. Connecting moonballs with the follow to the net is a tactical pattern that will make the opponent think twice before he will use the high topspin shot again. At the top level we don’t see this pattern too often because professional players have exceptional receiving skills so even high topspin shots to the backhand side are not really difficult for them but amateurs or intermediate players should use this strategy to exploit opponent’s weaknesses.

 

In this drill players work on dealing with moonballs by using the same type of shot. Ability to receive the moonball is of the same importance as sending high topspin shot so coaches have to spend significant amount of time on sharpening this skill. Coach should explain to players that moonball has to be executed with full racquet acceleration and a lot of spin to be dangerous. If the high ball doesn’t have a pace skillful opponent will quickly take advantage of it and start controlling the point. That is why heavy topspin is necessary to put the rival back and force him to play over the shoulders. Coach should make sure that players understand that moonball is just one one of two shots in this strategy so following to the net after the contact has to bo constantly in mind. By finishing few easy volleys players will understand how shorter and more effective the points can be if they are playing against the “pushers”.

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