Rally ball

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by Soianka, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    What are the features of a good "rally ball"

    A player was told that she either plays at 50% or 110% and that she has no rally ball.

    What would you suggest to her to improve this situation?
     
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  2. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    I like to have players think of their rally ball as being one which allows them to maintain consistency whilst neutralising the opposition (at least stopping them attacking). Therefore the rally ball will need to vary a little depending on the opponent, but typically around 80% of maximum is around the right mark to aim for.

    She can work on rally tempo drills to improve this. I tend to use a gearbox analogy to help people understand how they can vary their tempo. Start off in first gear, which is basically as slow as she can hit the ball and still make it over the net. Then go straight to 5th gear, which is 100% as hard as she can hit - this establishes the two outer limits and frames the drill. Then go back to first gear and every 5 minutes or so, change up a gear. Around 3rd or 4th will be the right tempo for your (I mean her) rally ball.

    Hope that makes sense!

    cheers
     
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  3. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    She needs to understand the game a lot better. Every shot has a purpose. You don't play a defensive shot off a short ball that sits up. You don't play an offensive shot 8 feet behind the baseline. The rally ball is basically the neutral shot, hit from the baseline and deeper. Hit it high over the net, mostly cross court, with plenty of topspin.
     
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  4. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  5. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I agree with this.

    My experience is that this problem is common with lots of 12 and unders playing USTA tournaments. So one could say they don't understand the game, or just chalk it up to youth. Either way, plenty of time to correct it.

    If 16s and up USTA players have this problem, then they definitely have an issue understanding the game and there probably has been a serious gap in their training. Still correctable, but time's a wastin'

    I am sure there are exceptions, but not sure this problem exists at the D1 level of play. Maybe a few D3 walk-ons exhibit this, but that might be the extent of it in college. And of course it is prevalent among recreational players
     
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  6. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    The coach is mostly talking about match play.

    And I think it may be psychological.

    her thinking is off ..if she is not super intense and hitting missles, then she is playing very scared and pushing the ball...this is during matches.

    But during practice she can vary her pace and spin and engage in long rallies.

    I think it may have to do more with the trajectory of her balls (she flattens them out too much during matches), and on days when her timing is off, it's unforced error city.

    And then some days she plays really scared and completely takes all pace off her shots.

    Thanks all and thanks Ash...that is a good idea for a drill.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
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  7. TCF

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  8. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I find this thread amusing, sounds like you have been watching my girl. Except when she is stressed out she tries to hit it even harder. Doesn't generally work out.

    We have been working on the same shot, coach hangs another net about a racket length above the regular net and she has swing correctly, clear the high net, and still keep the ball a couple feet inside the baseline. She does this great in practice..in a match, not so much... too impatient, tries to blast winners from the baseline on every hot..
     
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  9. SuzukiSS

    SuzukiSS New User

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    I want our juniors to swing at near maximum racket speed but employ correct situational tactics. I think a good rally ball should be hit around 3 feet over the net very aggressive but with enough spin for control. Maybe hit a little lower and flatter for girls. I consider a loop to be a defensive or change up play not a rally ball in today's game. I always look to adjust height or spin but rarely swing speed unless it is too slow.
     
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  10. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    .......................
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
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  11. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Thanks. That sounds like a really good drill.
     
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  12. rptennis

    rptennis New User

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    Sojanka

    How old is your daughter?
     
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  13. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    My daughter is 18, but this was in reference to my neice who is 10.
     
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  14. rptennis

    rptennis New User

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    Thanks - I raised a tennis player daughter from age 4 to 18 and I have seen her through the 10U So Cal satellites up to Fed Cup competition for the Philippines. She is now on a D1 scholarship in the US.

    Without the benefit of seeing your niece in competition, I will say that this is a very common problem for girls under 12 years old who are aggressive by nature but have not build a strong enough groundstrokes fundamentals to support their aggressive nature. Some of the posts here touched on drills that will help a young player to understand groundstrokes tempo and net clearance - all are great suggestions for a young player to develop her CONSISTENT rally balls. Without going into a long post, what I suggest for your niece is to FIRST find a coach that can properly drill into her the right way to get into the hitting position, have the backwing position in the right area, proper release of the cores and elbow through the groundstrokes with proper balance. Once these fundamentals are executed properly, someone needs to drill her (start with hand feeding) thousands of balls a day until the groundstrokes techniques are automatics. Once this is accomplish, then you niece can progress up to higher drills that incorporate footwork movements to simulate rally conditions.

    Oh BTW, I wouldn't play her in tournaments until she can hit a 50 balls rally in practice with the right tempo, net clearance and balance finish on all 50 balls without missing.
     
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  15. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    We used to use hula-hoops on height-adjustable stands as targets.

    I never was good at hula-hooping, though.
     
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  16. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Some of the stuff above is very good. My personal thoughts on a rally ball:

    1. Shot should be hit at about 75% of full effort (100%).
    2. Ball should have enough topspin that it can clear the net by 3-5 feet and land 3 feet or more inside the baseline
    3. Player should be able to make it 90%+ of the times it is attempted

    For juniors 12 and under the elevation may be even higher than 3-5 feet. My attributes above are for adults.
     
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