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.