Pre-match or Pre-Drill warm-up with partner 

 A. Body Warm-ups 

1. Run lines, 50 jumping jacks or jump rope

2. lean forward, backward, sideways and rotate from waist

3. arm circles, jumping rope

4. balance: 1 foot off ground, swing other foot 

5. quick feet: run in place in all directions, 50 little steps, then split step

6. “Happy Feet” and “Bounce like a Bunny”

7. stretches - lunges, arms, wrists, shoulders, hamstrings, groin

8. posture: put hat on upside down and don’t lose it while you move, i.e. keep upper body upright.

B. Tennis game warm-up 

with partner against your team members (one on one, i.e. both partners - NOT the opponents you are going to play in a match)

1.   Volley friendly balls from the service box.

2.   exchange friendly bounce-balls from service box – forehand and backhand  (put into action “happy feet” and “turn shoulders”.

3.   exchange friendly balls from base line – forehand and backhand

4.   one person at net and friendly opponent on base line : lobs and overheads.  THEN Switch.

5.   warm up your service cross court, “catch and return”

C. Pre-game Warm-up

1. Do all as described in  I B, then add

2. more difficult overheads

3. close-in volleys with partner

4. jump turns for forehand or backhand returns.

5. alternate hitting and volleying to right and left sides or partner, from a mid-service box position.

6.  play 4 rigorous games

7. relax for about 10 minutes before going in for the match.

D. Check out your opponents’ game in warm-up of league match. 

1. check out opponents strokes and movement

2. look for their weaknesses

3. check for left-handed players

4. discuss with partner what you noticed

 

Drills and Strategies, Tips and Mental Game

STROKE DRILLS – LONG BALLS

1.   Hit backhand to backhand cross court/hit forehand to forehand cross court

2.  After first ground stroke, both players move forward two steps: keep ball low, control placement, shorten back swing as players gets closer to the net.

3.   Play cross court doubles ( alternate players), either play out point or serve and return; play both forehand and backhand cross court

4. Both teams start on base line, try to get to the net and win point and/or one teams starts and stays back, and the other team moves up.

LOBS

1. Really high lobs (over net players).  Knowing how to do this is especially helpful as a defense shot

2. Receiving overheads – let it bounce and then lob back or do ground stoke down alley or take as an overhead.  Practice just one of those at a time.

3. 2 players at net try to put ball away and 2 back try to run down ball and return.

 OVERHEADS

1. Turn and point, get in position and catch ball with left hand 

2. Hit from sideline and deep

3. Hit lob so that it bounces once in the court (second bounce would be out of court)

VOLLEYS

1. Volley from service line player 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and back to 1 etc.

 2. Volley moving across the net (2 players). Or along the lines (all 4 players can do in pairs that simultaneously)

3. Volley from service line back to area around feeder’s feet.

4. Players volley from service line – don’t let the ball bounce and after 4 rallies, players hit the ball at receiver’s feet.

HALF VOLLEYS

1. Feeder hits to feet of person at service line

 2. Feeder hits to feet as player comes in

 FOOTWORK DRILL + SPLIT STEP

1. Start at middle, turn, “run”, split step, hit, and slide back to middle.

 SERVES

1. Position yourself + Toss + Catch  as warm up

2. Serve over a “7” high” net – good clearance and deep

3. Serve to 3 targets: deuce , ad  and body.  Receiver catches ball and serves it back to 3 targets.

4. Play games with one serve only

5. Serve and come in (volley OK) and then come in more, taking your third shot  as a volley (no bounce) and hopefully put it away.  Don’t forget to split steps in between. (ERIK’s favorite drill is one-on-one crosscourt !)  (toss ball in front of you to help you come in).

 SERVICE RETURNS

1.   Practice service returns.  Return server’s ball and server catches the ball and serves again.

2.   Return placements

a. cross court deep if server doesn’t move forward.  or short and low to server who comes in.

a. lob over net person

b. down the alley

c.  hit hard at server’s partner

d.  short angled cross-court into alley

e.  chip n’ charge, keep moving, don’t forget to split step as always.

3.   Regardless if server stays back or comes in, return and come in.

STRATEGIES

1.   Discuss with partner what server (or returner) will do.  “Ill be serving to their backhand for 2 shots, then ….”

2.   Poaching off partner’s serve (and opponent’s return)

a.    go to net strap, and if you cross mid-line keep going (and partner switches)

b.   use signals  (fist = I am staying,  pointed finger = I am going over. Answers: “got it”, “no”  or strategizing between points.

c.   Fake a poach

3.   Both move over to tempt opponent to hit to forehand. As always keep correct distance to your partner.

4.   If opponent’s lob goes over your net person, server goes for it, net person switches to “hot seat” (diagonal back toward T)

5.   Hit to HOLES, not to opponents and particularly not to opponents’ forehand.

6.   On 2nd serve of opponent, consider going down her partner’s alley if she does not move or tries to poach in the middle.

TIPS 

1. Server: decide and visualize where to serve to and what type of serve before you hit it.

2. Returner: Always remember the 3 places to return to:

a)    wide cross court

b)   lob over head of net person

c)   down the alley

d)   possibly also a hard ball directly onto the net person.

4.   Don’t hit a bad toss!!! Slow down, be calm

5.   Keep eyes open all the time! Keep eyes on ball, especially just before you hit it.

6.   Stay in “happy feet”, but split step when opponent hits and then move again to where the ball goes.

7.   Focus on one thing you in a game:  “keep eyes on ball”, “happy feet”, “keep ball low”, “come in” etc. so you don’t get your head all in a muddle and lose purposeful play. 

MENTAL GAME

1.   Deep breaths, let shoulders drop, relax, support racket with other hand.

2.   Keep talk to a minimum, keep your mind on the match, don’t chit chat with opponents until after the match.

3.   Stay focused.

4.   Make every point important.

5.   When you make an error, clear your head

6.   Don’t rush your serve.  Maybe use a strategy such as tossing and catching the ball a couple of times without hitting it, or bounding the ball multiple times, like the pros.