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Practice the Way You Want to Play

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John Mills, USPTA

Many times, while practicing, you will get in a rut. You might find yourself just hitting the ball back and forth from the baseline. This might not be the best way to learn how to compete under pressure.
Try this:

  1. Both opposing players start on the baseline and start the rally from the baseline. The ball must be hit 3 times before the point can count. If the initial ball is not hit 3 times, just start the point over. After the ball is rallied 3 times then play out the point. First player to win 11 points is the winner. This drill will teach you to be consistent and to get the point started.

  2. (For 2 players) Start on each opposing baseline. Play this drill on half court down the line or 1/2 court crosscourt. Alternate feeding the first shot. Whoever starts the drill will feed a short ball to their practice partner, forcing them to come to the net to volley and/or hit overheads. Play out the point and play until someone wins 11 points.

  3. Same as #2 above, except the first ball fed should be hit short forcing your practice partner to move to the net, while you the feeder moves in to the net also. Play out the point while moving in to the net. This will help you play more aggressively and it's a lot of fun.

  4. Play serve and volley. The server starts with 2 balls. He hits the first ball as a serve and moves in to the net to volley. Play out the point. Feed the second ball and play the point out. If the serve is hit in the net or is not playable just feed the second ball and move in toward the net.

If you practice boring you might play boring. Try these drills to make your practice sessions more fun and let them help you win your next match. Remember, practice the way you want to play!
Good luck on the courts!

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This column is copyrighted by John Mills, all rights reserved.

John Mills' experience includes four years as head pro at the Windemere Racquet & Swim Club, where he was responsible for organization of all tennis activities at the club. John also played college tennis at the University of Houston and has spent 20 years teaching tennis at the Memorial Park Tennis Center, the Pasadena Racquet Club, and as the head pro at the Bay Area Racquet Club.


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