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In This Issue

Item 1/.       Tip of the month

Item 2/.       Drill of the month

Item 3/.       Fun Game of the month

Item 4/.       Play Better Doubles

Tip of the Month


The Return of Serve.


After the serve, the return of serve is the next most important shot. If you fail to return the ball, it is the same as serving a double fault.


Just as your opponent must get the ball into the box to start the point, you must also get the return back to start the point.


Watch the ball as it leaves the server’s hand and at that stage do your split spring in order to get to the ball in time. Position yourself to cover all eventualities. Experiment to find the best position to cover the ball down the middle and also the ball out wide.


Quickly access how good a server is your opponent. If they have a weak serve, move into the court, if they have a fast serve, be ready to block the ball back (no time for a swing on a fast ball)


To start with, just concentrate on getting the ball back into play, otherwise you are not even in the point. Turn your shoulder early, as soon as you know which side the ball is going. Do not panic on your returns, shorten your backswing and keep a nice smooth movement.


Against a serve and volleyer return low and short (preferably at their feet). Against someone who stays back return deep and slightly higher.


Try to win the first point in every game, it will give you an edge, concentrate on one point at a time.



Drill of the month.


(Extracted from my drillbook - (Over 250 games & Drills)

please see the diagram in the attachment.



Serious Drill   -   Serving Practice.

This layout just shows two different ways to target the practice session.

The deuce court shows lay down spots placed in the positions you wish your players to serve. You can use different coloured spots so that the player can indicate where they are trying to aim – Red – flat down the middle  Blue – topspin to the body or yellow – slice out wide.

In the ad court, this has been divided into three areas with laydown lines.


You have probably seen the plastic targets you can place at the net, either to

hit through, or as I like to use them, to serve through, it is far easier to place these strategicly so that the serve gets closer to the target area than trying to aim at a small cone.  Try it, you will be surprised.


Next month, also see the drill which will give one service game.






All players start behind cone at the back of the court, to one side. First player goes to the tee or where the coach says (depends on ability. The play says either “SPIN” – “SPEED” or “SNEEKY”.


Coach feeds a spin ball (amount of spin depends on skill level)

A firm ball (normally to the back of the court (for speed) or the sneaky ball can go anywhere, close to the net – deep to base line etc., I sometimes do a ball into the net on one side and then a second ball the other side (well that’s sneaky!) If they don’t get the ball into the court , they place their racket in the tram-line and join the coaches side.


They then have to catch the ball after one bounce to get back and the caught player come round. Last player left in, wins if they are not caught on the fly.


New Item.


Playing Successful Doubles.


This is a new item to the newsletter. I will over the next few months be providing a series on better doubles play.


This will look at many aspects of doubles to enable you to get the most from your doubles, whether it is at your local club, league match play or participating in doubles tournaments.


If you happen to miss a months news, you can always access back issues in the Archive in the left menu bar.



Successful Doubles – article 1.


It may be stating the obvious, but it is important (depending a little on the level you intend playing) to choose the right partner, whether it is Mixed or Ladies or  Mens Doubles.


As regards styles of play, it is not essential for both players to be identical, but it is imperative that you can get on weel together on the court and that you are able to communicate on an even basis.


Lets look at the formation on court to start with. The strongest position on the court is both players at the net. The second best position is both players on the base line and the least favourable positioning is one up one back (albeit that you see this configuration in many club doubles and this is primarily due to a lack of tuition in doubles play).


This does not mean that in certain situations you will find yourself in these uncertain position, however to have the greatest effect on court and to be in the strongest position to win, you and your partner should try to get to the net as often as possible.


You have probably realised that singles and doubles tennis are two different games using the same techniques of groundstrokes, volleys etc. In this series of articles we will look at


Court coverage –

Shot Selection

Team co-operation & training.


However, to start with we will look at the skills required to be able to play good doubles.


The first area we are covering is the Serve.


The Serve


Two important elements in playing Doubles and in particular with the serve are variety and consistency.


Playing at club level, in many instances it is only necessary to get one of your two serve in the box, to be in the point. However, as you climb the hill to a better standard, then additional points will come into play. We are dealing with these as they can be as equally important at club league standard.


It is essential to maintain a high percentage of first serves deep in the service box, this will give you the opportunity to get to the net before your opponents.. Placement of the serve is more important than speed of the serve, when playing doubles. It is important to aim for a high percentage of serve to go in and to achieve this is it a better option to learn and use spin serves.


 Both slice and topspin have their place in the game. Spin will allow you to effect more  control and greater accuracy and also to place the ball deeper in the box.


When practicing the serve, use targets, see todays drill for an idea on this (there are other drills in my drillbook).


By giving your opponents a poor second serve allows them the opportunity to take the advantage and get to the net before you do.


In general, in doubles the best place to stand when serving, is to divide the area between the center mark and the doubles side line and stand in the middle.


This has some advantages:


1/. At club level there is less chance of you hitting your partner in the back as you will be further away from the center. I will address the positioning of your partner, whilst you are serving, later, and this will also help you from hitting them.


2/. It will be easier to get to a ball hit sharply across court to your side line.


3/. Serving more diagonally across court gives a greater margin of error as the depth is longer and you  will be serving over the lowest part of the net.


If you are right handed – a variation in the deuce court would be to stand closer to the center mark and serve down the ‘T’, the ball will be on your opponents backhand (watch out for lefties)


In the ad. court, you can move a little more to the left and serve to a wide angle with topspin.


If you are left handed, then just reverse the above.


Well that all for today


Next month we will look at the Volley.

Two items to see on the website:
1/. Advanced Tennis - click on link in left hand
coloumn - this info. has only just been started.
Keep viewing to keep up-to-date.
2/. Rules - Misunderstood and mis-interpreted rules.
This will also be added to.
To view go to: www.tennisatthenet.com


Tennis Balls now available



I.T.F approved pressurised Tennis balls – can of four only 2.60 plus postage.


See on website




Tennis Racquets and Stringing.




Top Quality racquets and excellent junior racquets at competitive


Visit the website for details.

Until next month,


John Hoskins – Coach.



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