Serious Drill –. MINOR POINTS - Focus & Concentration.
An excellent game for evening up standards.
2 or 4 players play for points, either with a serve or drop feed.
A ‘Minor’ point is won for each point,
A ‘Major’ point is won when
a player / pair win 3 points in a row.
Games are to 5 – 10 Major points.
If there are differing
skills, then better players have to win more minor points in a row or poorer players less.
FUN GAME OF THE MONTH.
Fun Game - WAVES.
3 players in a team at each end on the baseline.
Coach feeds a ball (feeds to a different player at either end, each time) and
the point is played out.
Players can run forward for a short ball but must then recover back.
No lob is allowed on first return.
Whichever 3 win, they move up to the service line, See A above. And if they
win again they move to the net where they can win a real point.
Everyone then returns to the base line.
But if A won the
first point and move up to the service line, then B won the next point, B would move to service line and A back to the base
When one team moves
forward the other team moves back.
Part Five of this monthly feature.
TO SEE PREVIOUS ARTICLES GO TO 'ARCHIVES'
MOVEMENT IN DOUBLES – PART 2
In this article we are going to look at movement backwards and
forwards and also laterally.
We will look at lateral movement first, this is the movement
from side to side and we need to think about the court having been divided into three equal sections, (see the drawing below).
From a side to side aspect, it is almost as though each player
is joined together by a length of rope, when one player moves to the left or right, the partner goes with them. This is a
most import concept to understand although you still have to take into consideration, within these boundaries, the return
angle and being in the centre of these (as near as is possible).
In principle, when one player is in the outside section of
the three divisions, the partner should be in the middle section next to them. If you basically move from side to side in
this way, you will be covering the opponents returns with the best chance of success.
If your opponent is in section ‘A’ then you should
also be in section ‘A’ and your partner should be in section ‘B’.
When all players are at the net in the volley position, you
should basically be parallel to one another, working as a team; there is an exception to this, when one of your opponents
is at the back of the court, and I will refer to ‘The Wedge’ at a later stage.
I have already mentioned the best positioning in doubles in
a previous article, but to re-cap:
1/. The overall
best and strongest position is both
players at the net.
2/. The second
best positioning is both players in
the back of the court
3/. The weakest
position is one up and one back.
You should take the opportunity to practice side to side movement
on court as this will enable you to put this into play, when involved in a match. A good idea is to have four of you on the
court with your coach throwing the ball across the net to different places. As your opposite number moves to the ball, all
three of you should all be moving together as already suggested.
The ball is obviously the focal point and the players should flow with the ball.
We now need to consider movement backwards and forwards i.e. toward the
net and if necessary away from the net.
It is a critical point in doubles that all players should be constantly
moving and trying to improve their position on the court and when one player is taking their racket back to hit a ball, all
the other three players should be doing a split step in order to move quickly to wherever is necessary. As we have already, in previous paragraphs, looked at the positioning of the various players, we can now
consider their initial movements.
One important factor, is to either talk with your partner or develop a routine
of signals. The latter need to be used in some situations such as in the I formation, however the pros will generally have
a quick natter as to where the ball is going to be served and this will determine the server partner’s movements.
I favour the servers partner standing about a foot inside the service line,
and then on hearing the server strike the ball, to move forward and do a split step as the returned takes their racket back,
and to be ready to cut off (and win) any loose ball.
A player at the net must want and expect to hit every ball they possibly
can, there is no time at the net for indecision and the player needs to be aggressive.
Poaching affects your opponents’ effectiveness by making them think
about what you are likely to do and this often makes them rush their shot.
If the net player watches their opponents, they will soon find their weaknesses
in the return ball and this will assist them in knowing which balls to cut off. Do however remember that if you miss too many
poaches, you are placing your partner in a very difficult position.
If you cross the middle line in your poaching, call out ‘switch’
so that your partner will know to take the other side. I have seen, all too often, the player who wants to hog the play at
the net and their partner has no idea where to go. This is a very bad situation and passes the initiative to your opponents.
As the server hits the ball their partner should move forward (never look
round at your partner as you will lose valuable seconds). At this stage the returners partner will be on the ‘Hot Spot’
which is the ideal position to take any of your volleys that you might aim their way, however, if the returner hits a good
cross court shot back to the server, the servers’ partner will retreat back to their original position and the returners’
partner will move toward the net. In essence both the net players should be moving bacjwards and forwards in unison.
Both net players should watch each other, when the ball has gone back to
their partner as the first clue they will get as to where the ball is being hit
comes from their opposite net player. If they move their racket you will know the ball is going to them and you can be ready,
if they do not react, the ball is going to the baseliner.
As has already been said, it is the object of both players at the baseline
to try to get to the net position at the earliest opportunity. Once at the net, you should not want to give up that position.
Should an opponent put up a good lob which drives you or your partner back
to the base line, the partner will go back to retrieve the ball and you should only retreat to the service line, however,
if both the opponents rush the net, then it may be advisable to also go back to your partner at the base line and then re-establish
Bear in mind that you and your partner should now be moving both laterally
and back and forwards, you should be working as a team.
The last point we will look at today, is the wedge as per the diagram above.
When both players have established themselves at the net, if an opponent
is still on the baseline, there is a good possibility they will attempt a lob, therefore the player closest to the opposing
net player, keeps their ideal net position and the partner will drop back slightly, this will give them the opportunity of
getting back quickly for a lob over the net players head.
A point to remember, which is important in doubles and singles, if you are
taken way out of court by an effective lob, put the return back high and deep; this will give you time to recover and get
back into the game.
That’s all for the moment, next month we will consider some more advanced doubles tactics.
If you have any
questions, please do email me.
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Until next month,
John Hoskins – Coach.
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