Seven Great Doubles Drills
1 Cross court full
2 One up one back timing volley from defensive volley zone
3 Volley to Volley zone defensive zone
4 Up Downs Volley Overhead Drills
5 feed approach 1 up 1 back cross court
6 feed short from net up ball and baseliner attacks to the feet coming in.
7 serve plus one return plus one
Meike Babel’s Link for the video: youtu.be/1Cf249OHYiw
There are basic requirements for navigating and orchestrating a game of tennis. I’ll also touch on etiquette and preparation. Game management is a base of fundamental knowledge that will help you succeed playing matches or practicing.
1. Get to the courts early, at least 15 minutes ahead. You want to get every second you can out of your court time, and loosen up.
2. Bring a bag with two racquets, a water bottle, snacks, a towel, grips and can of balls. Extra points for a stretch band,
band aids, ice pack, cell phone (turn off), and a banana!
3. Warm-up close to the net, then back up, hit easy, then build pace as you warm up. take volleys and overheads, then serves, and a couple of returns (not too many).
4. Spin racquet for serve or discuss your training plans with your partner(s). Always train or play with a purpose.
5. Keep score in your head after everyone point. At the end of a point remember how it ended in your mind and say the score in your head immediately after the point ends. This helps two things, remembering the score by shot results gives you a file in your brain to pull up whenever you need it!
You now have a record of results and how they happened!
So you will always know the score and a sense of what is happening during practice or competition. You now can make adjustments based upon your shotmaking and that of your opponent or practice partner!
6. Hold two balls when your serving, one in your pocket and one two serve. If you miss the first serve you have the second serve in your pocket, not in your opponents pocket or one stuck in the back fence.
7. Always make sure the third ball is stowed safely away from the play area, ideally on the server’s side of the court.
8. Call service let’s immediately if you hear one. Also call a let that disturbs the flow of the game.
9. Never cross behind a court (match in progress) until the rally is over. Move quickly and quietly to your court as a group! This shows respect for other player’s matches,
10. Wear clothes appropriate for the game. If you watch a professional match or YouTube players practicing you can get a sense of what typically is worn. And there’s a large degree of personal taste involved. Personally I like wearing shorts that can hold a tennis ball, good socks and tennis shoes (so my feet and ankles are protected), and a tee-shirt or polo. I take a hat too just because outside it screens glare and indoors it depends on the day. I love hats so I always have one in my bag or on my head. I have a venerable hat collection! You can choose what makes you feel good on the court to move and play better. Sun block, sun glasses, fog wipes, tacky grip, aspirin (yup, keep it simple), and electrolytes (pedialyte), and sandals (for when your done). At least loosen up your shoes when done. Also there is no need to have your laces tied too tight. Support doesn’t mean strangulation. Choosing the right shoe is an art form. You have to try them on first! If you don’t like the fit, send them back.
11. Two racquets are better than one! If you break a string you’re good to go. I like my strings freshly strung with string that’s good for me. That is a whole post in itself and I’ll post an article about that soon. Also have over-wraps ready to go! Having a good grip is divine.
12. When you greet an opponent shake their hand at the beginning and at the end of practice or match.
Patrick Mouratoglou produced this clip on the two-handed backhand. The thing that’s cool about this is that he shows how to prepare, and adjust for a high ball and for a fast ball, and what causes lateness on a shot. He also discusses how to throw the racquet through the ball and the critical use of the left hand for a right handed player. For a lefty, the right hand controls the ball. Another topic he’s discusses is the looseness of the hands. This looseness assists with timing, smoothness, and racquet speed, all key components of solid striking. This style of hitting is quite common on the WTA tour with various varieties of it: youtu.be/WNnW9Dd2vMY
Simon from Top Tennis Training has produced a great video on Novak Djokovic’s two handed backhand which is considered by many to be the best on the ATP. I would say this differs from the WTA two-handed backhand in several respects, though the fundaments are the same. Novak hopes up and pivots as he is moving to the ball. This gives him extremely fast preparation. Hit right arm is noticeably straight with a cocked wrist, his shoulders are dipped and rotates very well in preparation. youtu.be/Mf3mVwjxen8
This is a great video to see how good the racquet speed is of a tour player. Rafa’s two handed backhand is “sick.” And his forehand is unreal. Watch how he moves his feet between shots. All pros move like this. Tap, tap, split, then go hit! Repeat! youtu.be/TUD1X7DymjA
Here is a great view of the forehand lag of Roger. This is a good view to see how the eastern grip has a different angle then the semi-western or western grips. youtu.be/EFY460oquXw
When you say the phrase “easy power,” this forehand is probably the most often used as an example. The ability to catch up to a fast ball is easier with a compact swing like this one. Bigger swings don’t always produce better power. Compact, easy control is preferred.
Want to see how the pros practice? Check out these clips!
I like to watch these before I step on the court. It goes in our mind and body before we do it. That’s a great way to get better. Learn from the best. Visualize it. Commit to it. And then go do it. Wash, rinse, and repeat all you want. How can can practicing like this not be the best ever!?
And finally, is this lag thing good for me? Check out this video on lag which I consider to be the best from Feel Tennis Tennis Instruction. youtu.be/vfsS9JAAdMc
From Top Tennis Training comes a great TikTok on the Federer forehand coil: youtube.com/shorts/uLImY4P6qG0?feature=share
Richard, as of today is ranked 84 in the world. His highest ranking in the world has been number 7 in July of 2007. He is an incredible mover on the court with exceptional shot making ability. He’s known for an incredible one handed backhand that can hit amazing winners. His down the line off that wing paralyzes opponents like a deer in the headlights. He made it to the third round of the US Open this year against Nadal. Losing in three, the last set was 5-7. Nadal was better at playing the solid baseline game than Gasquet. Still. to be making it to the third round at 36 years old is no small achievement. Enjoy the “easy hitting” of Richard Gasquet youtu.be/YZCcM7FYFbk
In this compilation Richard is not hitting easy at all, he’s nailing the ball in live tournament play. Roger That Tennis has put together a nice series of the Whip Backhand of Gasquet. It is interesting to note that his grip is more exaggerated than Federer’s: youtu.be/U5qEHGloslI
This video was made by Simon from Top Tennis Training and was produced in England. One of the things I like about Simon is his ability to reduce technical description into clear steps to follow. Also, as an accomplished player himself he offers a unique perspective.
In this video I personally have enjoyed practicing the relaxed racquet speed of the follow though. The lag and finish of the forehand are becoming keys creating more power and spin.
When I teach the forehand I emphasize the “power forehand ready position” and shoulder rotation as Simon does. From that base and understanding of foot work you can then work on the timing of the lag, hip rotation, contact point, release of hips, and finish.
Look at this amazing video!
Notice the compact nature of the swing and easy power Andrey achieves. The key components are keeping your non-dominant hand parallel to the base line creating a full shoulder rotation, and the “loose flexed wrist” at the top of the swing. This leads to great lag and snap of the ball. It’s fun to try! youtu.be/hgt1mU9J4w8
Here’s another video that again stresses how the strings face down during the preparation phase of the swing. youtube.com/shorts/GSU5pcXDopw?feature=share
This is a practice video with his coach: youtu.be/6nz2xILzmc8
These clips show Rublev, Nadal, and Gasquet hitting shots with quick repeated loops in slow motion. What I like about this type of repeat is that you can notice different aspects of the shot through repetition which is different then watching slow motion exclusively. My eye is drawn to different key aspects of the shot: movement, balance, technique, timing, in a match setting which is telling! Enjoy! youtu.be/Ct0fZzUe4tU
Andrey is Russian. It’s been my observation that tennis is a unifying sport across the world. It’s sad to think that a war has caused so much suffering. This fine young man is trying his best to live a tour life with battles much more serious going on with his country.
This is a great compilation of two of the greatest one hand backhands in the world. To summarize the components:
1. Unit turn with the proper grip.
2. Keep your left elbow (righty’s) high and the racquet tip up
as if to balance a coin on the edge of the tip.
3. Drop down with left hand holding the throat til the racquet meet meets the left pocket area (right pocket lefty’s) then separate the hands at that point. The racquet keeps the same wrist angle throughout the swing.
4. When the separation occurs, the racquet is in a slightly closed position.
5. Swing inside out lifting the racquet up for maximum power.
This is the video link: youtu.be/9thZ6ayMNzI
Check out this secret little gem regarding backhand adjustment to fast balls to the backhand with Pavlov Tsitsipas, the younger brother of Stefano: youtube.com/shorts/02wh2q7d2s8?feature=share
There’s a few things noteworthy regarding their cooperative hitting session. The forehand swings generate power deep drives with tight spin on the ball. Carlos sometimes comes off the ball with a helicopter follow through. Both he and Andrey come off their forehands quick with fast racquet speed. Both players hit from a strong athletic base and their timing is clean and crispy. Both of their two-handed backhands are simple take backs with the racquet above the wrist and simple release through the ball. When going out to hit try to hit deep to your partner and you both will develop that fun rally timing. youtu.be/cOIrsc7xFf8