Posts Tagged ‘tennis drills’
As I watched the US open this week I started to notice something. When a pro gets a floater and crushes it into the open court, nobody seems to notice. The pro is expected to put it away with authority and generally there is no instant replay.
What I noticed was that there would almost always be multiple instant replays on precision shots. Virtually always you would see instant replay on good passing shots. That tells me the tennis world, even though enamoured with 144 mph serves actually puts more stock in shots that are hit exactly where they are supposed to be hit.
So, I’m going out and practice today the drills I learned from Coach Kyril and Mauro Marcos. Take a look at the video below and you’ll see what I’m doing today.
And keep in mind what coach Mauro Marcos always says, “So what if you have power if the ball goes in the woods?”
When Coach Kyril and Coach Mauro were here in Virginia Beach doing their video shoot I heard Coach Mauro say something that has really stuck in my mind. He said that down the line shots are “stroke cleaners”.
I’m assuming what he meant was that a down the line shot is not as natural as a cross court shot and that you really had to execute your stroke mechanics properly to effectively hit down the line.
So, I got the trusty ball machine out yesterday and set up targets and I only hit down the line. Right now I only have about 50 balls in the machine.
My goal was simply to hit past the service line on the down the line side of the court for both forehands and backhands. I would get one point if I accomplished the goal and zero points if I didn’t hit the ball to the proper target area even if the ball was still in.
The most I could get was 36 out of 50 and one time I only got 29 out of 50. This will be a drill I keep coming back to to increase those numbers.
I will tell you that after doing this that the cross court shots I hit after that were much cleaner. So, spend some time hitting down the line and watch your groundstrokes improve.
Note: our philosophy around here is to hit crosscourt because it’s a higher percentage shot and hitting down the line can get us in serious trouble fast, so I’m only suggesting this drill as a way to improve your stroke mechanics….not because I want you to have a down the line match strategy.
I was at the public courts in Virginia Beach yesterday. I was all done practicing my serve when an older man walked up to the court. He said, “Hey do you have an extra racquet in there (referring to my bag)?”
The man was walking so slowly that I wasn’t sure if he could run at all or if he could hit the ball. I said, “I sure do” and I gave him a spare racquet and started hitting with him very gently.
He could hit the ball consistently if you hit it easy and right to him. I wasn’t getting too much out of the exercise, but I have too much respect for my elders and I just didn’t have the heart to blow him off and leave or lie about not having another racquet handy.
So what did I do? I decided to take the opportunity to practice. I’ve always had trouble looking away from the ball at the last 1/5 of it’s flight (read my 4/5 article) so I made it a point to TOTALLY FOCUS on the ball no matter where he hit it.
I also, made up a game he didn’t know about where I would pick a spot on the court near him and try to make my shot land exactly on the spot I had picked. He didn’t know I was doing any of this. It was practice only in my head.
Bottom line is I treated an old tennis player with respect and got some practice for myself at the same time. What could be better?
An extremely frustrating error is when you have your opponent pulled way off the court and you muff the easy putaway.
A good drill to make sure this doesn’t happen to you is to enlist your kids or some neighborhood kids and give them a pizza for helping you. You will either drop the ball and hit it or use a ball machine.
Here’s how it works:
You have one kid at a time run toward the net yelling and screaming trying to distract you as you hit to the open court (don’t hit right toward the kids so you don’t accidentally hurt them). It’s ok to hit right at them if they are experienced tennis players and have a racket to defend themselves.
Your job is to keep your head down and totally concentrate on the ball no matter what they scream or no matter how much they try to distract you. You can lob them or pass them or hit to the open court, but your only goal is to concentrate on the ball and hit it over the net.
One of my coaches Kyril Popoff of http://www.CoachKyrilTennis.com emphsizes the value of simply getting a bucket of balls and dropping them yourself and hitting them.
I do this quite a bit and what I’ve found is that I’ve been able to refine my optimum strike points by experimenting with higher or lower or further forward or further back points of contact with the ball. When I hit the ball I get immediate feedback of how that particular strike point suits me and my swing.
Give it a try and I’m sure you will learn something about slight adjustments you could make to improve your strokes.