I believe that from an early age, players should be encouraged to experiment with all the variables you can perform on a tennis ball. This includes trajectory, spin, speed and direction. These tennis drills are a few you can use to help your players learn how to develop the skills required to change what they do with the ball but also learn to read the receiving ball in anticipation for their response.
Drill – Changing spin
This drill is designed to get the players changing the spin they apply to the ball while having to adapt to the spin their opponent is sending.
- The players will compete in 3 tiebreaks. Each tiebreak is to 10 points and each point starts with a cooperative serve and return (if someone wins the point off the serve or return then it doesn’t count and the point is started again).
- In the first tiebreak the server is only allowed to hit slice on their serve and ground strokes, and the receiver is only allowed to hit top spin on their ground strokes.
- In the second tiebreak the server is only allowed to hit topspin on their serve and ground strokes, and the receiver is only allowed to hit slice on their ground strokes.
- In the third tiebreak the server decides what spin they wish to apply to the shot and the receiver must play the opposite spin back.
Drill – Junk it
Playing people who constantly change the type of shot you receive can be frustrating. It’s very hard to find a rhythm and you are always on edge, not knowing what is coming next. This drill helps the players to send some ‘junk’ to their opponents and helps them learn to receive ‘junk’.
- The players will compete in a tiebreak to 10 with a cooperative serve and return.
- The players can only win a point off a drop shot or a lob, so they must learn when to bring their opponent in and execute the lob.
- The players are also not allowed to play the same shot twice in a row e.g. if you play a deep high topspin cross court you must alter the height, speed, direct or spin on the next shot. If they play the same shot twice in a row they lose the point.