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SStrikerR
09-25-2011, 02:19 PM
So first, a little about me: Male high school tennis player. The past year I played #1 and #2 singles at my school, and I improved a lot over the summer.

Forehand: My weapon, however inconsistent on some days. Generally I have no problems with the shot, but being a relatively flat hitter, once in a while I'll have a little trouble getting spin wise. This mostly applies to approach shots; I have to make sure I don't hit them long in transition. However, I'm working on it (and before the tournament I'll restring with new luxilon, which pretty much eliminates spin issues for a few hours)

Backhand: My most improved shot. It used to be a big weakness, but over the summer I improved my footwork and swing, and now it's very consistent, and even somewhat of a weapon.

Serve: Off and on. One week, I got 7 aces out of it in one match. Next week, couldn't do a thing with it. I recently practiced a lot more though, and realized it was a grip issue. Now my slice serve gets in virtually every time, and my flat serve can vary from 30% to 80%, depending on how I'm doing that day. So pretty inconsistent to say the least, but at least my 2nd serve is solid enough to prevent me from giving away points.

Returns: The least practiced part of my game, this needs work. Previously I sliced back most of my returns, and it actually worked pretty well since I would get it deep. I'm trying to return normally now though, and it's not as hard as I thought. If people bomb serves at me though, it could be a problem.

Volleys: I used to suck at them, but I'm getting more confident in them as I've figured things out. Better grip, keeping it loose, etc.

Defensive abilities: I feel like these should be mentioned, because they're huge. I'm very fast, and am able to get to anything from drop shots to screamers down the line. I don't push, but I can cover a lot of the court.

Previous experience: I played my first tournament earlier in the summer after not playing for a week due to injury, and lost 6-0, 6-3. Not playing really threw off my timing, depth perception, serve, everything. As you can see, it took me a while to even get into it. I realized that the guy I played wasn't much better though, so it gave me some confidence coming out of it (because he had won the past 5 tournaments he had entered at that level).

Anyway, I have one person who can rally back and forth with me at a lower level, can return serves, and feed me while I'm at the net and stuff. I also have a friend with a big serve, and who hits with more spin (and harder) but I can't play with as much.

Given the month I have to prepare for this tournament, what do you recommend as a plan of action for me? I don't plan on going out in my first match this time.

TennisCJC
09-27-2011, 11:30 AM
If you can afford it, work with a pro 1 hour per week of intensive drills.

Also, go hit 2 or 3 buckets (100-150 balls) of serves each week. Hit 50% 1st serves and 50% 2nd serves. Alternate courts and locations with court. Do serve practice games. Serve a pretend match alternating sides and hitting 1st and 2nd serve if you miss 1st serve. Count 1st serves in and double faults. Can you get 10 1st serves in before you hit 2 double faults? Can you get 10 out of 15 1st serves in? Can you hit 10 2nd serves without a miss while alternating courts?

In baseline practice drills with hitting partner, can you get 10 shots in without an unforced error? Keep track over several rallies if your opponent misses or hits a winner - in other words, it make take you several "points" but you should be able to get 10 in a roll in the court without an unforced error.

Work on volleys, stand just barely inside service line. Have partner feed you a ball and try to hit a deep volley back to partner. Then, move in to 1/2 between service line and net. Partner attempts to pass and you attempt to end point with next volley.

Practice 20 overheads everytime you hit.

Add overheads to volley drill above where partner can hit lob off deep volley.

Co-operative volley drill. You and partner both stand just inside service line and try to hit 20 consecutive volleys.

Hi-and-die volley drill, you and partner stand on one side of court between center service line and side-line and just inside service line. One feeds volley to other but feed must be decent between knees and shoulders. Then play point out. If someone floats a hi volley, step in and drill partner (hi and die). Ball must be between service line and sideline - court is 1/2 width.

Play baseline games to 11 where you start point by feeding partner. Cannot lose point on feed. Put cone or ball can 3 feet behind service line. If shot lands shorter than cone, you lose point too.

Good luck.

SStrikerR
10-22-2011, 05:05 PM
If anybody's curious, I won my first tournament match yesterday. I won 6-7, 6-1, 10-7. Today, though, I lost the super tiebreak 6-10 so I'm out. I should have won, but it happens. The more match play I get, the less nervous I'll be and the more confidence I'll have in hitting my shots.

My serve was pretty bad though, and when it was working I was getting through service games easy, but when it wasn't it was a struggle. So I need to work on that, and just staying more focused during the match in general. Now I have 2 months before my next tournament, so I'll be working on my game in general, and possibly switching racquets. I was using the wilson blx 95 18x20, but I ordered a few racquets for demo and used them to hit a little bit ago, and I really liked the pure drive. So there's a chance I'll make a switch sometime.

Bergboy123
10-22-2011, 05:12 PM
Congratulations on the first round win! Small steps to victory; you can't expect to win right off the bat, so good job!

And I agree, the serve is such a vital part of the game that to not have a weapon in it puts one at a severe disadvantage.

Limpinhitter
10-22-2011, 06:31 PM
The most important shot in tennis is your serve. The second most important shot is your return of serve.

- If you have a hopper of balls, there's no reason you can't practice your serve for an hour a day. Don't spend the whole time bashing flat serves. Hit first serves and then second serves just like matchplay. Practice hitting to both sides and down the middle of each box.

- Use your time with your hard serving friend to practice your return of serve.

- After serves and returns, the best use of your time is to practice cross court bh's and fh's from the ground. You and your partner's target should be 5 feet from the corner. To do get the ball that deep you have to hit the ball about 4 feet+ over the net. This is a technique, footwork, rhythm, stamina drill, not a "who can bash the ball the hardest" drill. Try to keep the ball in play as long as possible. Even if one of you hits an out ball try to get it back to within 5 feet of the corner. If you're hitting forehands and your partner accidentally hits to your backhand, try to run around and hit a forehand. EXCEPTION - if someone hits a short shot, the other person should step in and, if the ball is high above the net, go for a winner dtl, or if it's below the net, hit an approach shot dtl. That way you're practicing what you would do in a match situation. If you have time, you can do the same crosscourt drill with you and your partner taking turns at the net. One will hit volleys, the other passing shots.

- Get fit - Every day after practice do a two mile warm-up jog, then do 40 yard windsprints alternating straight ahead, with side steps, and karaoke steps. (Long distance running isn't very helpful for tennis). Do sit-ups to strengthen your abs. Do light weight training for your upper body.