FAVORITE DRILLS (84)

Rally practice. You will often arrive early and simply hit some ground
strokes. We encourage this “batting practice.” All good players hit ground
strokes. Hit the ball on the first bounce, even if it’s an awkward ball or one
you have to run hard to. The second bounce doesn’t count. “Learn the
court.” Don’t hit out-of-bounds balls, knock it down and start a new rally.
Cross-court backhands. The cross-court backhand is the fundamental
ground stroke in tennis. Spend a lot of time on this stroke. Work your legs
back to the middle after each shot. Don’t linger on the backhand side
because you know it’s coming back there. See the “Andy Moll” variation on
this drill (running around your backhand drills).
Volley to ground stroke. I volley, you ground stroke. Then change. Do this
drill at 60 percent pace (both people). Develop a sure volley for when your
opponent is out of position. Jim Verdieck: “Volley away from the source.”
Add: Backhand lob to overheads. Perfect the “hit-turn” overhead technique.
“1-2-3” (or serve and volley). 3-4 players in line. Returner takes X number
of returns on one side then switches to the serving line. This is a service
return drill. Be aggressive with your return. You don’t have to come in on
your serve, but this is a good drill to practice your “1-2-3-check” footwork
and volley technique (especially for doubles).
“On the rise.” Like “21” (start a point with a bounce hit and alternate every
5 points) except you can’t go behind or outside the singles boundaries.
Learn to “take court away from your opponent.” This puts the pressure on
them, tires them, and makes them hit from uncomfortable hit spots.
Volley Drills. Verdieck drill (player on “T.” Coach or “feeder” tosses to “4
volleys” (high, low, on either side). Coach should “float” some balls, players
should close fast, so they can hit down. Your knees are your elevators on
low volleys. Right-handers: On your low forehand your right knee almost
touches the court. Backhands, left knee.
1-2-3 off a tossed short ball. To perfect your approach shot (half court,
half shot, or a “compact” shot). Jim Leighton (“almost all backhand
approach shots should be with underspin”). Parham: “Not if you can blister
that two-hander.”
*Most college players start their careers without a very good backhand
approach shot. When you are bored, take a rack of balls and simply
“bounce-hit” some approaches from mid-court.
Morris drill. Coach feeds ball from mid-court, backhand side. Volleyer
volleys a variety of feeds—“away from the source” (the coach or “feeder”).
Service returns. Coach at half court. Emphasize backhand return.
Z-shaped return. Use body weight rather than big swings. Parham:
Racquet technology is encouraging shorter back swing.

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