Tennis Fun & Practice Games

Here we have a number of practice games or drills which can be played on a Tennis court as part of a coaching or training session.

Doubles – Move Up

The aim is to improve doubles play, groundstrokes, net shots, and communication.

How:

  • Team 1 starts on one baseline and team 2 starts on the other baseline.
  • Team 1 starts with the ball.
  • Team 1 serves the ball to start the drill and the point is played out until a team wins the point.
  • Whichever team wins the point must step up to the service line to start the next point.
  • If the same team wins the next point as well then they would move right up to the net and start the point from there.
  • However, if they lost it they would have to go back to the baseline and the team that won would move up to the service line.
  • If a team makes it up to the net but loses the next point they must retreat all the way to the baseline.
  • This means a team must win 3 consecutive points to win a game.
  • Once a game has been won, the other team serves the next game.
  • First to win 5 games wins the match.

Coaching Points:

  • Get players to use all types of spin and different shots to try and make it harder for the opposition to return the ball.

Doubles – Don’t Break it

The aim is to improve doubles play, groundstrokes, and net shots.

How:

  • Players 1 and 2 start on one baseline and players 3 and 4 start on the other baseline.
  • Player 1 starts with the ball.
  • Player 1 serves the ball to player 3.
  • Player 3 then has to return the ball down the line to player 2, who then hits the ball cross-court to player 4.
  • Player 4 must then return the ball down the line to player 1, and the sequence starts again.
  • This pattern should not be broken, but whoever breaks it must lose a point.
  • All players start on 10 points and when the first player loses all their points, the winner is the player with the most points remaining.

Progressions:

  • Bring players closer to the net so that they have to be quicker with their returns.

Coaching Points:

  • Get players to use all types of spin to try and make it harder for the next person to return the ball.

Doubles – Over Your Head

The aim is to improve doubles play, lobs, and overheads

How:

  • There are 2 teams for this drill, each team consists of 3 players. 2 players start on each baseline, and then 2 players up at the net, 1 either side of it.
  • The net player on team 1 starts with the ball and plays it to 1 of the baseline players on team 2.
  • The 4 baseline players are only allowed to hit lob shots, so their aim is to lob the ball over the head of the net player on the opposite team.
  • The net players cannot move out of the service boxes to hit a ball, but if a lob falls short it is the net player’s job to hit an overhead and try and win a point for their team.
  • Scoring works the same way as normal doubles, play best of 3 or 5 games.
  • Swap roles and repeat and the drill

Progressions:

  • Play it as a normal doubles game so any player can hit any shot, and the net players are there to make the baseline players think harder about where to return the ball.

Coaching Points:

  • Try and get baseline players to hit topspin and backspin lobs.
  • Get net players to think about both power and placement on overheads.

Doubles – Lob or Lose

The aim is to improve doubles play, lobs, net shots, and footwork.

How:

  • Team 1 starts on a baseline, team 2 startup at the net on the opposite side.
  • A player from team 2 hits the ball to team 1 to start the drill.
  • A player from team 1 then has to hit a lob shot and try to clear team 2 with it.
  • If the lob falls short then team 2 can try an overhead smash to win the point.
  • However, if the lob successfully clears team 2 then they have to run after it, attempt a return and try to get back into the net.
  • This drill carries on until each point is won or lost. Team 1 is only allowed to lob.
  • Swap roles and repeat and the drill

Progressions:

  • Team 1 can hit any shot

Coaching Points:

  • Try to encourage team 1 to attack the net if they hit a successful lob.

Singles – Target

The aim is to improve groundstrokes, ball placement, and footwork

How:

  • This drill is played as a normal tennis match.
  • However, 4 targets are set out on each side of the net.
  • If a player hits the ball into 1 of the targets then they win the point automatically.

Progressions:

  • Change the positions of the targets
  • Fewer targets can be used
  • Smaller targets can be used
  • 1 target placed in each service box and they only count on serve.

Coaching Points:

  • Players should be encouraged to hit the ball when appropriate and not try and place the ball in the targets with every shot as they may leave their opponent an opportunity to win the rally.

Singles – Come in

The aim is to improve groundstrokes, volleys, strategies, and footwork

How:

  • Player 1 starts behind 1 baseline with a ball, and player 2 starts behind the opposite baseline.
  • Player 1 hits the ball to player 2 and the rally begins.
  • It is then player 2’s job to choose the right moment to shout ‘come in’.
  • When this phrase is used player 1 must run into the net and play the rest of the rally from there.
  • Player 2 should try and time the shout to expose player 1 and make it easy to pass or lob player 1.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Make it so both players can call out the phrase.
  • Do not allow lobs.

Coaching Points:

  • Players should be encouraged to use the correct technique and grip even when under pressure.
  • Footwork should be correct when coming into the net, and across the baseline.

Singles – Lives

The aim is to improve a player’s overall game, and fitness.

How:

  • This drill can be played with as few as 3 players, but especially for youngsters it would be better to use 4 or more.
  • When using 4 players, players 1 and 2 can start behind a baseline and players 3 and 4 can stand behind the opposite baseline.
  • Player 1 starts with the ball and hits a groundstroke to player 3.
  • After player 1 has hit the ball they must run round to the other side of the net in a clockwise direction and stand behind player 4.
  • Whilst this happens player 3 returns the ball to player 2.
  • Player 3 then runs around the net.
  • Each player takes it, in turn, to hit the ball and run around to the other side.
  • The drill keeps going until a player misses the ball or returns it out of court.
  • The player who missed the shot loses a life. All players start on 5 lives.

Progressions:

  • Start players on fewer lives, maybe 3 or even 1.

Coaching Points:

  • Players should be encouraged to use the correct technique and grip even when under pressure.

Concentration – 1st Serve Only

The aim is to improve concentration and serving.

How:

  • This drill is just played as a normal singles or doubles game, but the server is only allowed 1 serve on each point. If the serve misses then the point goes to the opposing player or team.

Progressions:

  • Make the service box smaller with markers, or mark out small boxes within the service box for the server to concentrate on aiming at.

Coaching Points:

  • The server should play the only serve as a 2nd serve, so it should be slower but with more spin than a 1st serve. Placement is very important on these serves not to give an opponent an easy winner.

Concentration – Volley King/Queen

The aim is to improve concentration, anticipation, footwork, and volleys,

How:

  • 1 player starts on 1 side of the net with the ball around the service line and is called the king/queen. 3 or 4 players start on the other side of the net by the baseline these players are the challengers.
  • The first challenger must step up to the service line.
  • The king/queen starts the drill by hitting the ball to the challenger, then a volleying rally takes place, and continues until 1 player wins the point.
  • If the king/queen wins then they stay that side of the net and another challenger steps up.
  • However if the challenger wins they then become the king/queen, and the king/queen that has just been beaten joins the back of the challenger queue.

Progressions:

  • Play to best of 3 points or play a full scoring game.

Coaching Points:

  • Players should be encouraged to use the correct technique and grip even when under pressure.
  • They should also be encouraged to hit both backhand and forehand volleys.

Concentration – 2 v 1

The aim is to improve concentration, anticipation, recovery, volleys, and passing shots

How:

  • Players 1 and 2 both start on the baseline at one end of the court, either side of the centerline. Player 3 starts the other side of the net ready to volley.
  • Players 1 and 2 hit shots alternately at player 3 trying to move the net player around but making sure the balls can be reached by the net player.
  • Player 3’s job is to hit different types of net shots using both the forehand and the backhand.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Players 1 and 2 can mix it up with different shots such as lobs to keep player 3 guessing.
  • Players can make this into a game situation with the 2 player team using the full court and the 1 player team just having to defend the singles court.

Coaching Points:

  • Players 1 and 2 should use topspin, backspin, and slice shots to really test player 3’s volleying game.

Footwork and Movement – Serve and Volley

The aim is to improve footwork, movement, changing of direction, and the serving and volleying game.

How:

  • Player 1 starts in the service position behind the baseline, then serves the ball to player 2 who starts near the baseline on the opposite side of the net.
  • After player 1 serves they follow the ball into the net to hit a volley, as player 2 attempts to return the ball at player 1’s feet or pass them down the line.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Players can make this into a full game but the server must use the serve and volley tactic on every point.

Coaching Points:

  • The server should try and hit a serve with as much power and spin as possible to make it difficult for the player returning to hit a winner.
  • The player returning the ball should aim to pass the server down the line or hit the ball at the server’s feet, forcing the server to hit the ball up to clear the net and leave an easy winner.

Footwork and Movement – Drop ‘n’ Run

The aim is to improve footwork, movement, and changing direction.

How:

  • Player 1 starts at the service line, and player 2 starts with a ball up at the net on the opposite side. Player 2 drops a ball just over the net.
  • Player 1 then has to run in and hit a drop shot to any part of player 2’s court.
  • After hitting the drop shot player 1 has to run backward and touch the service line with their racket, then player 2 drops another ball over the net and the cycle keeps going until player 1 cannot reach the ball before it bounces twice.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Player 2 can drop the ball closer to the net, or player 1’s feet have to touch the service line before they can run for the next drop shot.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure footwork is effective
  • Make sure grip, and technique are correct.

Footwork and Movement – Side 2 Side

The aim is to improve footwork, movement, and changing of direction.

How:

  • Player 1 starts just behind the baseline in the middle of the court.
  • Player 2 starts the other side of the net just behind the service line, again in the middle of the court.
  • Player 2 starts the drill by hitting the ball to player 1’s forehand side, wide enough to make player 1 move for the return.
  • Player 1 hits the ball back to player 2 who then sends the ball to the opposite side for player 1 to hit a backhand.
  • This is repeated again, but after player 1 has returned their second backhand, player 2 then hits the ball to the backhand side again making player 1 turn back quickly after running towards the center.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Let player 2 hit the ball to either side randomly to keep player 1 on their toes.
  • Have both players start on the baseline and compete in a baseline rally both making each other change direction.
  • Player 2 can hit the ball anywhere on the court to make player 1 change direction, but player 1 should aim to get back to the starting point after each shot.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure footwork is effective
  • Make sure grip, and technique are correct.

Game Strategies – Back 2 Base

The aim is to improve forehand on the run, recovery, and footwork.

How:

  • More than 1 ball will be needed for this drill.
  • Player 1 starts on the baseline at one end inside their backhand side doubles tramline.
  • This position is known as base. Player 2 starts at the net on the other side of the court.
  • Player 2 hits the ball towards player 1 who can return the ball down the line or cross-court on the forehand.
  • The second ball that player 2 hits should be to the center of the court making player 1 run to the ball, hit a forehand shot, and run back to base.
  • As player 1 gets back to base player 2 can then hit another ball to the far side of the court for player 1 to chase down and hit a forehand return.
  • This drill continues until player 1 misses a return.
  • Players swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Practice it on the backhand side
  • Move the base to the center of the baseline and then player 2 can hit either side of player 1, so player 1 doesn’t know where the next ball is going.
  • Move the base up to the center of the service boxes, and get player 2 to hit short angled volleys for player 1 to chase and return.
  • Pick a spot for player 1 to try and hit

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the footwork is effective to reach each shot
  • Check for correct technique, grips, etc. even when the players are under pressure.

Game Strategies – Sequencing

The aim is to improve all shots and footwork.

How: This type of drill can be made as easy or as difficult as players want.

A simple drill: Player 1 starts at the net and player 2 starts at the opposite baseline. Player 2 hits the ball and player 1 has to forehand and backhand volley the ball back to player 2.

A hard drill: Both players start at opposite baselines by the center mark. Player 1 hits a forehand deep to player 2. Player 2 returns the ball deep using a backhand groundstroke.

Player 1 then hits an approach shot and follows into the net, player 2 returns the ball for a drop volley from player 1. Player 2 runs into the net and hits a lob, player 1 retreats and hits an overhead.

If the ball can be kept in play the drill is repeated, but the players should have swapped roles.

Progressions:

  • Add in more shots
  • Take away some shots
  • Focus on the weak areas of both players games.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the footwork is effective to reach each shot
  • Check for correct technique, grips, etc. even when the players are under pressure.

Game Strategies – Walking In

The aim is to improve footwork and netplay.

How:

  • Players 1 and 2 starts on opposite baselines.
  • Player 1 hits the ball to player 2, and after hitting the ball moves two paces towards the net.
  • Player 2 then returns the ball to player 1, and player 2 takes a couple of steps towards the net.
  • This continues until both players are up at the net volleying the ball back and forth between them.

Progressions:

  • This drill can be played with 4 players, each player on both teams hitting alternate shots, and both players on a team move forward after their team has hit the ball. It may be best to start with just one team moving in and the other team staying back until both teams are confident in what to do.
  • Come into the net faster.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the footwork is effective to reach each shot
  • Check for correct technique, grips, etc. even when the players are under pressure.

Game Strategies – Miss the Middle

The aim is to improve players shot placement and volleying.

  • How: This drill really needs between 4 and 6 players.
  • If it is played with 6 players there will be 2 players on each baseline and 1 player up at the net on either side.
  • The 4 baseline players hit the ball between them trying to win points, but apart from trying to beat the baseline players at the opposite end they also have to attempt to miss out the player standing near the net on the opposite side.
  • The net player can try and intercept the ball and hit a winning volley when it comes across the net. If the net player manages to intercept three balls the players on that side switch positions.

Progressions:

  • If 4 players are used just lose a baseline player from each team.
  • Do not allow lobs if they become too common.

Coaching Points:

  • Get all players to vary their shots, to practice them all equally.
  • Make sure all grips, techniques etc. are correct.

Game Strategies – Double Cover

To aim is to improve footwork, team positioning, and communication.

How:

  • Players 1 and 2 start the formation of the standard double.
  • Player 3 is situated on the opposite service line and feeds the ball short to player 1.
  • This brings player 1 forward and must then play a cross-court approach shot.
  • After player 1 plays this shot both players move in towards the net.
  • Player 3 sees the opportunity and hits a lob over player 2’s head.
  • Player 1 must run round behind player 2, retrieve the ball and return it with a cross-court lob.
  • Whilst player 1 retrieves player 2 must make a move across to cover the space left by player 1.
  • Player 1 moves up to the net after hitting the lob into the position left by player 2.
  • Player 3 then hits a high, slow ball down the middle of the court which player 2 moves towards and hits a swinging volley to win the point.
  • Players can swap roles.

Progressions:

  • A longer or shorter sequence of shots can be used
  • Another player can be added to help player 3 return the ball and make it harder for player’s 1 and 2 to win the point.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the footwork is effective to reach each shot
  • Check for correct technique, grips, etc. even when the players are under pressure.
  • Communication is essential.

Game Strategies – Cautious Approach

The aim is to improve passing shots and decision making.

How:

  • Player’s 1 and 2 starts at opposite baselines.
  • Player 2 starts the drill by hitting the ball to player 1.
  • Player 1 hits an approach shot.
  • An approach shot is just a groundstroke but the player has the intention of following their shot into the net to try and win the point.
  • So player 1 is now positioned at the net, as the ball comes back to player 2 from the approach shot player 2 must now try and play a passing shot past player 1.
  • Lobs are not allowed.
  • If player 2 is successful in passing player 1 then the players swap roles.
  • However, if player 1 returns the attempted pass then the rally continues until a player wins the point.
  • Players do not swap roles until player 2 hits a successful pass.

Progressions:

  • Player 2 has to hit a backhand passing shot
  • Start the drill as a normal baseline rally, then either player when ready can hit the approach shot and move forward towards the net. This brings in the element of surprise.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the footwork is effective to reach each shot
  • Check for correct technique, grips, etc. even when the players are under pressure.

Game Strategies – Consistency

The aim is to improve consistency, stamina, and footwork

How:

  • Player 1 starts at the center of the baseline.
  • Player 2 starts at the opposite end of the court with some balls.
  • Player 2 hits a ball anywhere onto the other side of the court, it could be to player 1’s forehand, backhand, or even a drop shot.
  • Player 1’s job is to reach the ball and hit it back into court.
  • If player 1 keeps the ball in play then player 2 can return the ball again to another part of the court. The aim of the drill is to get player 1 to hit 10 shots in court in a row.
  • If player 1 happens to hit 7 shots in a row and then misses 1 they just stay on 7 and player 2 hits another ball to them.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Make it more than 10 shots in a row
  • Make the returns harder
  • When a player misses a shot their score returns to 0.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure footwork is correct, footwork is very important in this drill to get the player from side to side and front to back in the quickest way possible.
  • Make sure the technique of all shots is good even when they are under pressure to reach the ball.

Game Strategies – Step In

The aim is to improve volleys, approach shots, and footwork

How:

  • Player 1 starts at the service line on one side of the net, player 2 starts a bit behind the baseline on the opposite side of the court.
  • Player 1 feeds the ball to player 2’s forehand, player 2 returns the ball with an approach shot down the line.
  • Player 1 then hits the ball to player 2’s backhand, who hits a backhand volley cross-court, and for the last shot player, 1 hits a shot to the opposite side of the court to player 2’s forehand.
  • Player 2 then hits an aggressive forehand volley cross-court to win the point.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Add in more shots
  • Player 1 can try and keep the rally going after the three shots

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure footwork is correct
  • Make sure the technique of all shots is good.

Game Strategies – 4’s Up

The aim is to improve volleys and develop quick hands and feet.

How:

  • This drill needs 4 players.
  • 1 player stands in each service box.
  • Player 1 starts with the ball and hits it to player 2.
  • Player 2 is standing on the other side of the net but directly opposite player 1.
  • Player 2 then volleys the ball to player 3 who is standing the same side as player 1 but in the other service box.
  • Player 3 volleys the ball down the line to player 4 who is the same side of the net as player 2 but again in the other service box.
  • Player 4 then hits diagonally across to player 1 and the drill starts again.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Move closer to the net to make it harder

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the volleying technique is correct.

Game Strategies – Anything Goes

The aim is to improve netplay and passing shots.

How:

  • Player 1 starts at the service line at one end, and player 2 is at the other end on the baseline.
  • Player 1 hits the ball to player 2, player 1 then moves closer to the net and player 2 returns the ball with anything but a lob on the first shot.
  • The point is then played out with player 1 having to stay forward and player 2 has to stay back until either player wins.
  • If player 1 wins the next point is started exactly the same.
  • However, if player 2 wins then they move up to the service line and player 1 moves back to the baseline.

Progressions:

  • Both players can move forward and back whenever they like.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the technique is not lost when players try to win the points
  • Give tactical help to both players in different positions.

Offensive Shots – Mix it

The aim is to improve the inside out forehand and backhand shots.

How:

  • The inside out forehand is a where the ball is returned to the backhand side but the player has enough time to run around the backhand and hit a forehand shot instead.
  • To start the drill player 2 hits the ball to player 1’s forehand, out wide, player 1 returns the ball down the line, Player 2 then hits the ball to the backhand side but closer to the center.
  • This will give player 1 enough time to run around the backhand and hit an inside out forehand instead.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Allow player 2 to mix the feeding.
  • Allow player 1 the opportunity to play either a backhand or an inside out forehand.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the grip and techniques are correct for both forehand and backhand shots.

Offensive Shots – Spin 2 Win

The aim is to develop spin on shots with a shorter backswing but creating racket head speed.

How:

  • Set out cones in certain positions on the court, the service line is a good place to start.
  • Get a player 2 to feed the ball to player 1’s forehand.
  • Player 1 must return it trying to hit one of the cones but the shot must also have topspin, backspin, or sidespin (slice) on it.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Bring the cones closer to the net
  • Feed the ball to the backhand as well

Coaching Points:

  • Correct grips for each type of spin.
  • Make sure they are using a shortened backswing

Lobs and Overheads – Smash it

The aim is to improve the overhead smash and footwork

How:

  • The overhead smash should be a point winning shot if hit effectively with a combination of placement and power.
  • A player starts in line with the net on one side of the court.
  • They then sidestep to the middle of the net, touch it with their racket, at which point an opposing player hits a lob to about half court.
  • The player at the net has to shuffle back and attempt an overhead smash.
  • After hitting this shot the player must move back into the net touch it again with their racket, as another ball is hit up by the opposing player.
  • Another overhead smash is attempted.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • The opposing player can hit the ball further back into the court or into the corners to make it harder for the player to hit the overhead smash.
  • The opposing player can try and return the overhead smash and begin a rally. This will make the player think about placement and power of the overhead smash so it cannot be returned.

Coaching Points:

  • Power and placement
  • Footwork to and from the net.

Lobs and Overheads – Front 2 Back

The aim is to improve footwork, movement, and lob, drop, and net shots.

How:

  • This drill goes in a sequence of drop shot, net shot, lob, and carries on until either player cannot return the ball or breaks the sequence by hitting the wrong shot.
  • Both players start on the baseline at opposite ends of the court.
  • Player 1 starts with the ball, lets it bounce once and plays a drop shot.
  • Player 2 has to run in and play a net shot, which player 1 follows up with a lob forcing player 2 to the back of the court to start the cycle again with a drop shot.

Progressions:

  • Make it so players can mix up the sequence so they have to react to the shot and not the cycle they know.
  • Add in extra shots to make a longer sequence.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure player’s footwork is correct, and the technique on the shots is good.

Lobs and Overheads – ‘Ear that Racket?

The aim is to improve lobbying technique with extra topspin.

How:

  • To help with the quick, wristy action that is needed to generate the topspin players can hold the ball against the net tape with the racket face and practice just brushing up the back of the ball.
  • The follow-through for this shot on either the forehand or backhand should whip up past the ear on the same side as the racket.
  • For a right-handed player, this would be the right ear for the forehand and the left ear for the backhand.

Progressions:

  • Move away from the net and use the same wristy action after the ball has bounced on the ground, the ball should clear the net by a considerable margin.
  • Get 1 player to hit a volley and another player to return it with a topspin lob back over their head or extended arm and outstretched racket to make it harder.

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure the player is brushing up the back of the ball and using the wrist to create the topspin.

Serves – Keep Serving It Up

The aim is to improve the flat, slice, kick, thrust launch, squat launch, and crossover launch serves and placement.

How:

  • 5 targets are set up in the service boxes.
  • 1 down the line that separates the two boxes, 1 down the center of each box, and 1 out wide on the line that separates the boxes from the tramlines.
  • Players then serve the ball at 50% of maximum power using all of the techniques and try to hit these targets as they go.
  • Have 20 serves and get a point for each time a target is hit. 

Progressions:

  • Make the targets smaller
  • Hit the ball at 75% and then 100% of maximum power

Coaching Points:

  • Make sure all techniques are being carried out correctly.

Volleys – Volley 2 Win

The aim is to improve volleys and general gameplay.

How:

  • This drill is completed through the normal game of singles, including the same scoring.
  • However, players can only win a point in the game by coming into the net and hitting a winning volley. 

Progressions:

  • Can only use a specified type of volley to win a rally (e.g. low volley)
  • The ball is only allowed to bounce on the serve, all other shots have to be a volley

Coaching Points:

  • Advise players when to come into the net, to stop them coming in on every stroke trying to win the point.

Ground Strokes – Counting Strokes

The aim is to improve the groundstrokes

How:

  • Using the open stance again, both players 1 and 2 stand at opposite ends of the court in the center of the baseline.
  • Both players can hit forehands and backhands, but player 1 must hit each shot down the line and player 2 must go cross-court.
  • They count each stroke and see how many they can get in a rally.
  • Players can swap roles and repeat the drill. 

Progressions:

  • One of the players can come into the net and hit volleys and see how many shots they can keep the rally going for.

Coaching Points:

  • Use the open stance
  • Get the ball to bounce after the service line
  • Make sure players fully complete the follow through until the racket reaches the non-playing hand.

Ground Strokes – Split Step Strike

The aim is to improve the split step

How:

  • The split step should take place after each time the opponent hits the ball.
  • The split step starts from the ready position and as soon as a player can tell which way the opponent’s return is coming they move quickly in that direction.
  • This quick movement is what is known as the split step.
  • The player that is about to receive the ball must use their left arm, out in front of them, for balance, but not for long as this arm and shoulder need to be rotated away to allow the right arm to swing through on execution of the shot.
  • The racket should be taken back early, and usually, players would be encouraged to move into the shot, but this shot is taken on the run.
  • This means the weight is going to the side, which in turn makes it difficult for the hips, trunk, and shoulders to rotate.
  • However, on the forehand side, it is important for the racket side foot to be the last step before contact is made with the ball as this will allow some hip and shoulder rotation. 

Progressions:

  • Use it on the backhand
  • Mix it up so players don’t know which side it is going to go

Coaching Points:

  • Try and ensure a nice wide split step as this will improve a player’s balance.

Ground Strokes – Open Rally

The aim is to improve groundstrokes in the open stance.

How:

  • Both players 1 and 2 hit the ball back and forth on the forehand, cross court, using the open stance. This can be repeated with the shot going down the line instead.

Progressions:

  • Repeat the drill on the backhand
  • Make it into a little game, players must use the open stance but can hit the ball to the backhand or forehand side, each time a rally is won, the player that hit the winning shot gets a point.

Coaching Points

  • Make sure players are in the open stance position
  • Try to ensure players return the ball back past the service line each time to stop the opponent coming in and hitting a winner.
  • Watch for correct weight transfer from back to front into the ball.
  • Rotation of the hips, trunk, and shoulders in a smooth motion to create a controlled but fast return.

Ground Strokes – Return with Interest

The aim is to improve groundstrokes and returning the serve.

How:

  • Within this drill players are encouraged to use the open stance to return the serve.
  • Player 1 starts ready to return the serves, and player 2 starts as the server.
  • Player 2 hits medium-paced serves to both sides of player 1, who returns the serve across court. Again have 10 attempts, then return the ball down the line.
  • Player 1 and 2 swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Player 2 hits a fast pace serve so player 1 has to react quicker, still using the open stance.

Coaching Points

  • Make sure players rotate at the hips, trunk, and shoulders and bend at the knees to help with control of the return.

Ground Strokes – Pick Your Spot

The aim is to improve forehand groundstrokes.

How:

  • Working in pairs player 1 starts in the middle of the baseline one end and player 2 starts in the center, just behind the service boxes, at the other end.
  • Player 2 plays the ball to player 1’s forehand, and player 1 then has to hit a cross-court shot.
  • Have 10 attempts and get a point for each successful shot, then repeat the drill hitting the ball down the line this time.
  • Swap roles and repeat the drill.

Progressions:

  • Repeat the drill on the backhand side
  • Player 2 mix the feeds so player 1 has to react and play the correct shot on either the forehand or backhand side.

Coaching Points

  • Make sure they rotate the hips, trunk, and shoulders simultaneously