View Full Version : ?'s for all the high school tennis players.

09-03-2004, 11:24 AM
I'm taking over coaching the girls tennis team at a private high school near me and would like some advice from those of you who play high school tennis. I coached a girls team a few years ago so I've got some idea of what needs to be done but I would really appreciate your input.

Please answer the questions below:

1. What makes practice fun?
2. What drills or games are your favorite?
3. What do you think is the best way to set up the ladder?
4. Any additional advice?


09-03-2004, 12:35 PM
Please answer the questions below:

1. What makes practice fun?

People who want to be there and people who want to work hard. Games (ping pong, pin ball, olympics, around the world, etc) are good, competetive drills too.

2. What drills or games are your favorite?

Competitions (i.e baseline rallies to 21), cut-throat is decent, you play 2/3 points then if you win you get 1 point. first to 11 points wins

3. What do you think is the best way to set up the ladder?

Very straightforward eh? You put the players in a ladder and get them to play.

4. Any additional advice?

The harder you work them in practice the happier they are when the seasons over.

Bungalo Bill
09-03-2004, 12:49 PM
My additional advice is to try and build a team spirit. In High School tennis this is hard to do.

But what we have found in the USPTA is that most high school tennis teams aren't built around a team spirit such as football or baseball because of how tennis can migrate to individualism.

I remember reading an article from the USPTA magazine that researched successful high school tennis programs vs. unsuccessful one. I cant remember which high school was used for the successful model to follow, but I do remember the coach made them feel like they were a cohesive unit - a team and that helped the players feel important and accountable to their team, their school and practice. The students enjoyed the team spirit and commradery (spelling???) and played better.

If you want I can try and dig up that article. Just let me know if you want me to find it.

Here are some links you can research or call for information:



09-03-2004, 06:14 PM
In order to make practice fun, firt of all as said before, you've got to have players that want to make an effort to get better, as well as have fun, but are dedicated. I find round robin 10 point King of the Court competetions very fun and also very effective, you'll be suprised how long a 10 point match can last when both players want to win, just make sure to let them know to play like they mean it, it will help them to build confidence in their shots during actual matchplay. another drill that my coach does quit often (i play college tennis but also coach my old high school's girls tennis team), is to play out australian doubles points, have the two players run the single player all around the court making them hit a variety of shots on the run, its fun, effective and give the players some confidence. Those are a few things that i do during practice with my players, but as for rankings, round robin 3 set matches, i like to hold them once a month to give the opportunity for other players to make their way up the ranks.

09-03-2004, 06:42 PM
I would also do a lot of doubles games such as:

2 up, 2 back
Offense Defense
4 Person Close AKA Blood & Guts (everybody starts at the service line and tries to close)

I would keep doubles teams together during these games. These really help out doubles skills.

09-03-2004, 07:39 PM
I've been a part of a very succesful high school time for the past two seasons here in connecticut, in which time we've managed to go 31-1. I think a very large portion of the credit goes to my coach, who manages to work us hard but keep it fun.

1. What makes practice fun?
You have to keep things moving, especially if you have large groups. Don't do any one thing for two long, as even the best of games can become monotonous.

2. My favorite game is offense defense, which you can either play as singles or doubles. For doubles, you have one team of two at the baseline, with you feeding balls behind that team. You feed an approach shot to one of the players, and the team closes in. If they win that point, you feed a volley to the other player. If they win that point they become the "kings" where they accumulate points. First to eleven wins. With singles it's the same, only it's one person at a time and they receive both the approach shot and volley, obviously.

3. It depends on how many kids you're supposed to have on a team. For us, we need 9 kids, 5 singles, two teams of doubles. You start out just playing challenge matches with the kids you think will make varsity. Have each of them play each other, keeping track on a chart of how many matches they win and lose. Player with most wins is 1st, and so on. 1-5 are singles, 6-9 are doubles. You can do this with the best players from your JV too, and then see how they do against the varsity kids.

4. You have to do a mix of everything during practice. This means running, drills, matchplay and games. For the games you play you should do a mix of ones that are more fun but less of a benefit, and ones that may not be as fun but are more beneficial.

09-07-2004, 08:37 AM
Thanks for all the input. Practice starts today :!:

09-08-2004, 12:00 PM
Fun practice = lots of playing tennis.
I like one-on-one drills where the coach can analyze the stroke of the player's choice.
I think games like ATW are a waste of time at the HS level. There is no need to be able to hit one ball in the court. It does not give any motivation for a good shot because you will not feel the affects of a bad shot, the guy behind you will.
Also, do running every day. Two years ago we ran about every day and I was in good condition. This past year we ran next-to-none after practice and I noticed a big difference in my ability to keep up high performance through a match. A lot of competition is also good to get the players used to the pressure and having goals in a match.

lendl lives
09-08-2004, 02:47 PM
encouragment. especially if you see someone with the slightest bit of potential. direct them to where they can get more information about additional coaching, usta, leagues, tournaments and so on. really work with them on strokes....don't just let them hit around all day....

09-09-2004, 11:51 AM
I'm an assistant coach for the girls' high school team here and have been helping out for the last two seasons too (undefeated so far this year... woo hoo).

1. What makes practice fun? Well... is practice supposed to be fun? loll... there's a social element to our tennis practices that seems to keep the girls happy. They can talk in line when doing drills or whatever, but mostly we just go about our business during practice and our girls don't complain... well, as little as high school girls could possibly do. Basically, we don't give in to their complaining because then they'll just complain more. Take your serious girls and play with them and work on their game; girls who just want to screw around, set them up in doubles matches and get them out of your way. Especially seniors or juniors because they're not going to be around for many future matches.

I just read sanitarium's post and he's dead on like I was saying. Girls who come out to play seriously and want to improve will enjoy practice, and then the rest that aren't serious about it are a waste of time... just find some way to get them out of your way.

One of the things that can really help out two is having some of the boys' team players come out too; they're easy to even out doubles teams or singles matches to send off to get girls out of the way or if they're serious, to play with the girls so they can get some hits against better players.

2. Drills can be tough depending on ability level. The drills I like are for more advanced players... we have a small school so we don't have enough talented players to do some drills.

My favorite drill is an overhead drill. You have two players stand at the baseline on the side opposite to you and then you make a line on your side. Have two girls at the baseline on your side as well. Feed balls by hitting them high, high up in the air and rather deep as well and have your players take overheads off the bounce and have them play out points. Whenever one player on your side makes an error, that person switches out and is replaced by the next person in line. When the two players on the opposite baseline lose a total of three points, you have the two players that won the final point run to the other side. About when they get to the net posts blast the next ball up in the air and yell "Balls up" so that they have to get back and find the ball to return it.

Second favorite drill.... Speed Volleys. Much the same as the overhead drill. Two people up at net on your side, and then you feed volleys to two players on the opposite side with the rest of the line, when the players on your side lose a total of ten points then you swap. You play lobs as lets and if the ball is hit between the two players on the opposite side, then both of them are replaced by the next two people in line

The drill that our head coach does a lot to get the girls a lot of hits is to just have two players on the baseline and three at the net, feeding to the players at the baseline. Just keep the ball going if it bounces twice or whatever, just as long as they get some hits.

Another drill the coach likes to do is to have the girls line up at the baseline and take turns hitting a groundstroke, then move up to hit a volley, and then move in and hit a put away shot.

3. We run our ladder system like this... everyone has their rank and then you pair them off to play against each other... (1 vs 2, 3 vs 4, 5 vs 6) then you have the loser of 1 vs 2 play the winner of 3 vs 4, the loser of 3 vs 4 plays the winner of 5 vs 6, loser of 5 vs 6 plays the number 7... all these matches are two out of three sets (whatever you play in your real matches) and then you just keep up that routine, after we get out of the top six (top six matches count in real matches) they play eight game pro-sets. From all of my high school experiences, the best way to keep players from getting mad at you is to make everyone earn their spot, or give them a chance to earn their spot. Otherwise, you can end up with complaints that the girls haven't had a fair chnace and that you favor the higher seeded player no matter what the case might be.

4. Make all of your drills have clear purposes. Mkae sure the girls understand why they are doing each drill.