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View Full Version : Why Play Mini-Tennis?


TennsDog
08-24-2004, 08:46 AM
Sometimes before practice we play mini-tennis and one of my teammates likes to play mini-tennis before we hit. I cannot understand what it is supposed to help. All I do is block or push the ball back. There is not enough space to do an actual stroke so most of my backhands end up being more like drop shots. It annoys me to no end to just stand around pushing the ball back and forth over the net doing nothing. What is the purpose of mini-tennis?

thehustler
08-24-2004, 08:51 AM
I think mini tennis is helpful. I usually feel better about my strokes if I do this first. It gets me comfortable at the net and I think is a better warmup than just trading ground strokes right away. I usually try to work on my volleys or angled shots during mini tennis, just to see if I can get a rhythm going with those so they will become useful later in the match. Heck it never hurts to work on your drop shots either. Always a quick easy way to beat your opponent. How close are you standing to the net when doing this? I usually stand a few feet back so I'm not 'pushing the ball over'. HTH.

TennsDog
08-24-2004, 08:54 AM
I stand on the service line to be as far back as I can for more room. Sometimes we end up exchanging volleys at slow pace. I don't get the satisfaction of "warming up" with this because this is nothing like the strokes I will be using. Even the drop shot is completely different from the service line and baseline.

kevhen
08-24-2004, 09:01 AM
It's good warm up as you should try to swing with a full stroke but at a slower pace and lets your muscles get used to striking the ball while they are still warming up. Stand further behind the service court line if you feel you can't take a natural swing or move in even closer and just do some soft rapid vollies which will definitely get you warmed up quickly.

Some people I know like to come out swinging without much warmup but others like to start slow. I know I start very slow with my serve and prefer to come out slow with my groundstrokes to get my back and everything stretched first before really ripping balls, but if the weather is warm I can come out swinging too. The older I get the more I like to start out slow though and not tear muscle.

TennsDog
08-24-2004, 09:06 AM
I'm 17 years old and my warm up IS hitting groundstrokes...not really big ones going for lines or making each other run or anything, just hitting nice easy groundstrokes. I don't know how it is possible to hit a normal stroke so close and not kill your partner.

kevhen
08-24-2004, 09:12 AM
Well start farther back then, but maybe still a step or two inside the baseline and just try to hit normal and not too hard so your partner can get properly warmed up.

vin
08-24-2004, 09:37 AM
I think the emphasis that mini tennis places on control and timing is more of a benefit than the physical warm up it provides. I find that I hit regular groundstrokes better after mini tennis and I've heard other people say this as well. For me, it get's me grooved in a loose and relaxed swing. If I start off with regular groundstrokes I am more likely to rush my swing and start the day off with poor timing. Mini tennis is like a gradual progression to the precise timing and muscle control needed for regular groundstrokes.

I also enjoy mini tennis as a drill by itself. I take satisfaction from being able to hit the same clean and controlled shot over and over again with good technique. Hopefully someday I'll be able to do this with my regular groundstrokes!

TennsDog, learning to take a full swing and hit the ball softly enough to allow a mini tennis rally to happen is part of the benefit!

jareb
08-24-2004, 10:50 AM
For me, starting with mini-tennis is not only a good way to warm up my muscles: it's also great to warm up the mind. I focus on racket preparation, footwork, watching the ball. I noticed that it is very well possible to make a "normal" stroke with mini-tennis.

With some of my hitting partners, I sometimes add another challenge: we try to hit the lines. The player who manages to hit a line will get a point (we continue playing if possible). Service line is one point, middle line is one point, the T-crossing is 5 points. For us, this is working quite well. Somehow, having a target and some kind of competition makes us playing consistent, "deep", well-aimed mini-tennis-shots. Because of that we get longer ralleys, so we get more rythm.

Bungalo Bill
08-24-2004, 10:56 AM
I always warmup with minitennis, helps with feel and gets thebody going. I am a lot older than you though and when I was your age I used to start at the baseline.

Minitennis is good though but it really is up to you. I definitely start with minitennis if the upcoming match is a doubles match. I really focus on the ball, trying to see the seams or label as we minitennis back and forth.

My partner and I let it bounce once then hit it so the other person doesnt have to move a lot at first, then we widen our shots and warm up the feet. After a few of those we hit from the baseline.

kevhen
08-24-2004, 11:06 AM
Yeah when I do minitennis or quick volley, I am sort of bouncing on my feet, keeping them moving all the time to help get the legs warmed up to and to practice good footwork and taking small steps. Most people stand flat footed during warmups including myself when I just start out at the baseline instead of when I start out at the net and move back.

Mikael
08-24-2004, 11:16 AM
Force yourself to play minitennis practice with real strokes. You just have to put some topspin on the ball. What I do with my partners is that we start at the service line and then gradually start hitting longer and we end up at the baseline in this manner. Your strokes shouldn't really change.

You can also play matches using the 4 service boxes only and hitting slice only. It is a great cardio workout and will teach you patience and situational awareness. First to 21 points, server feeds a soft slice to the opponent. It is also great fun. I rule at that little game...

andreh
08-24-2004, 11:29 AM
I think minitennis is excellent for getting the hand-eye-coordination going. It's crucial for my warmup since none of my friends seem to be able to rally at moderatly without killing the ball from the baseline. They start baninging away as soon as the get the chance (there was a post about this on the boards). Mini-tennis is the only stroke-defrosting I get.

Bungalo Bill
08-24-2004, 11:47 AM
Force yourself to play minitennis practice with real strokes. You just have to put some topspin on the ball. What I do with my partners is that we start at the service line and then gradually start hitting longer and we end up at the baseline in this manner. Your strokes shouldn't really change.

You can also play matches using the 4 service boxes only and hitting slice only. It is a great cardio workout and will teach you patience and situational awareness. First to 21 points, server feeds a soft slice to the opponent. It is also great fun. I rule at that little game...

I actually use minitennis to practice my slice. :)

Chanchai
08-24-2004, 06:17 PM
Practicing Mini-Tennis before play and before practice has been wonderful for me. For the most part, it has always helped me work on both topspin and feel. Sometimes I've felt that mini-tennis was probably the most influential on feel and topspin out of any drill that I've done.

A lot of people go for slice in mini-tennis, but I prefer to work on topspin with that drill first. If the opponent is starting to engage the mini rallies with topspin, then I might consider working on touch with slice and half-volleys and what not. But for me, I get much more out of the drill just working the topspin because it builds feel and contact.

My experiences with the drill anyways.

-Chanchai

TwistServe
08-24-2004, 07:43 PM
If all you can do is block and push the ball back, then you don't know how to play short tennis.

Me and my coach can take full speed swings with crazy topspin and the ball will still land in the service box, but it will have so much spin that the box kicks up and pushes the other player back... Now just imagine doing that in a baseline rally.. yay :lol:

Phil
08-24-2004, 09:02 PM
Not that I ever needed an excuse to play mini tennis-it's pretty obvious how it helps your game, as the posters above said. However, I read somewhere that John McEnroe used to play it for 45 minutes at a time in practice. 'nuff said.

thebeast
08-24-2004, 10:09 PM
i slice in mini tennis as well.

when I first read mini tennis i thought of the game where you put the ball on the net cord and let it drop and then play the point. Popular among juniors, not sure about the older folks. Not to change the subject, but i think this is beneficial. I know girls ranked top whatever in the country who hit the **** out the the ball but can't play minitennis to save there life. Not suprisingly they ahve little touch, and can't volley or play doubles that well.

Agent Smith
08-26-2004, 04:30 AM
Is it bad manners to hit baseline rally paced groundies for mini tennis (they still land in b/c of topspin... i use western btw)? My coach and I do that sometimes but whenever I hit the ball hard (it goes in) I feel like its bad manners since my coach has to slice it back.

So when I have to warm up using mini tennis for a match or group lesson should I hit hard or should I just dink? That's what I do for now but dinking is REALLY annoying with a western grip.

vin
08-26-2004, 05:43 AM
Is it bad manners to hit baseline rally paced groundies for mini tennis (they still land in b/c of topspin... i use western btw)? My coach and I do that sometimes but whenever I hit the ball hard (it goes in) I feel like its bad manners since my coach has to slice it back.

It depends on the focus of the drilling. If you and your partner are trying to groove timing and fundamentals in an easy setting, I would say hitting hard is not very nice since you're likely preventing your partner from getting the practice or warm up they are seeking. In general, I'd say it's courteous to coordinate with your practice partner so that you are both benefiting.

Also, if you are hitting hard during mini tennis, you are missing the point of it, unless you're purposely using a hard hitting variation of it for a specific purpose.

I rarely use mini tennis to warm up for matches, but even warminng up from the baseline, I find it extremely annoying when my opponent is pounding the ball. In most cases, the people who do this end up hitting the ball like a little girl once the match starts. :roll:


So when I have to warm up using mini tennis for a match or group lesson should I hit hard or should I just dink? That's what I do for now but dinking is REALLY annoying with a western grip.

'Dinking' is not the ideal way to play mini tennis. You should be able to take a full length swing, or at least a full swing minus the backswing and be able to control the speed of your swing so that you hit soft.

Natsus
08-26-2004, 09:15 AM
right. If you're hard hitting the ball or dinking it in mini-tennis, you're entirely missing the point of it.

Top poster got it right. It's all about control.

kevhen
08-26-2004, 09:20 AM
Agreed. It's about hitting a controlled shot with a normal but softer swing on both sides that drops in front of your opponent and bounces up so they can easily return the ball to you. It's a nice way to warm up while working on placement and consistency without swinging hard. Some people don't have or don't want to work on a touch or control game though.

Natsus
08-26-2004, 09:32 AM
I find that it helps a lot. Especially if you haven't played in a while and need to get back on your game. Makes things a lot easier without hurting yourself.