Is "live ball" training for entertainment only? Why is it "fun"?

#1
I tried playing a "live ball" training session and found it much more fun than traditional "drills" or matches. It seemed to contain enough competition without the same pressure or down time.

Is this "live ball" training really effective though? Or is it more for entertainment? It seems very popular, though not cheap, around these parts.
 
#3
Is "live ball training" another way of saying "playing points"? If so, the accomplish different things: drills are meant to isolate a specific element that you do repeatedly to groove the action. Playing points requires you to integrate everything together in real-time. Both are valuable; I wouldn't consider them mutually exclusive.
 
#4
What is live ball training?
Is "live ball training" another way of saying "playing points"? If so, the accomplish different things: drills are meant to isolate a specific element that you do repeatedly to groove the action. Playing points requires you to integrate everything together in real-time. Both are valuable; I wouldn't consider them mutually exclusive.
Here’s an example of a live ball drill. 10-14 people on the court. Deuce court players are required to play back. Ad court players play up at the net. One side is the champion’s side with 2 players. The other side is the challenger’s side where the rest of the players line up in 2 queues. 1 queue is the line for the baseline and 1 queue is the line for the net. A feeder stands off to the side feeding the ball in play to the challengers deuce court. This first ball must be hit back cross court to the champion’s deuce side. If the ball does not go cross court, the challengers lose the point and rotate out allowing the players next in line to move up to play. The ones who just lost go to the back of the line. After the first ball goes cross court now it can be hit to anywhere inside the court. The goal is for the challengers to win 3 points off the champions before they lose 2 points themselves. Errors off the initial feed by the challengers automatically means go to the back of the line. After the first point is earned, the feeder can feed the ball anywhere, net man or baseline man, on the challenger side. With some good players, the action is nonstop, fast and furious. Great cardio and footwork workout as well as fast volley exchanges. Simulates fast paced good doubles play. With lesser skilled players, this drill just becomes a running cardio drill with tons of misses and no good exchanges.

Take the above drill and throw in variations. Ad side Bh to bh from baseline while deuce side players stay up. Challenger deuce side stays back while champion ad side stays back, etc.

It’s effective when the players are all good and the exchanges are quick and the points are long. It’s boring when the players generally suck dookie and every ball results in an error.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#7
Is "live ball training" another way of saying "playing points"? If so, the accomplish different things: drills are meant to isolate a specific element that you do repeatedly to groove the action. Playing points requires you to integrate everything together in real-time. Both are valuable; I wouldn't consider them mutually exclusive.
+1
though as your strokes get grooved, dead ball feeds i think become less important, unless you're practicing a specific shot, or shot combination...
to me it sounds like maybe the OP is not so grooved, or maybe is in a group with folks not so grooved... so when you run a "live ball" drill with folks with bad technique...
you get a bunch of folks standing around, while everyone misses, because they lack the fundamental technique to keep up a consistent rally..
and depending on the drill (especialy doubles drills), you get this feeling that all you're doing is running back and forth while your partner/opponents are missing.
IMO, for these types of cases, the coach is not using the right drill progression for the level.
 
#11
14 people? is that like cardio tennis? ok for cardio, but sucks for getting high volume of balls being hit.
I’ve seen it done with up to 14 but ~10 is ideal. This way there’s 2 on the champion side and 6-9 on the challenger side with each queue on the challenger side going 2-3 deep. Odd numbers allow people to get matched up with different partners while you end up with the same partner with even numbers so if you get matched up with a crappy partner, you won’t be hitting much. But this is just based on the live ball clinics I’ve seen and participated in which might be completely different than OP’s since he hasn’t described his “live ball drills.”
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#12
I’ve seen it done with up to 14 but ~10 is ideal. This way there’s 2 on the champion side and 6-9 on the challenger side with each queue on the challenger side going 2-3 deep. Odd numbers allow people to get matched up with different partners while you end up with the same partner with even numbers so if you get matched up with a crappy partner, you won’t be hitting much. But this is just based on the live ball clinics I’ve seen and participated in which might be completely different than OP’s since he hasn’t described his “live ball drills.”
oh, i know. i've done them too. and can be fun with a high level group.
but in terms of # of balls hit per hour... to me a waste of money.
 
#13
oh, i know. i've done them too. and can be fun with a high level group.
but in terms of # of balls hit per hour... to me a waste of money.
Bolded part is the key. Ive done them but never paid money so it wasn’t a waste. ;) Also gave me the opportunity to meet and hit with some former pros so was definitely worth the free admission! :D
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
#14
Bolded part is the key. Ive done them but never paid money so it wasn’t a waste. ;) Also gave me the opportunity to meet and hit with some former pros so was definitely worth the free admission! :D
i would definitely do a 14 person clinic, for free :)
 
#15
I'd say the example shown is a poor use of live ball training. However, proper live ball training can be just as useful or even more useful than dead ball training depending on what you're working on, your skill level, and the timing of it (some can be used anytime, but right before a tournament they get more useful). Live ball training should not have more than 6-8 people on the court though. Depending on the drill, 6 would even be too much though. If you have a challenger line of 6-9 people, that is WAY too much standing around waiting for your turn, especially if it is live ball where the point(s) could be over quickly or take a while.
 
#17
It sounds like a lot but if both players leave the court when a point is lost and two new ones take their places, you could cycle through the line very quickly and have to push yourself cardio-wise.
It really still wouldn't be that much. If you had 14, playing doubles, that's 1 champion team, 6 other teams. That means you play one point and sit for 5. That's WAY too long.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
#18
I try to attend a drills class if I have something specific that I would like to work on with different people. Our drills class has max 8ppl. I like 6. 4 doesn't have enough variety unless they are all similar level as me.

I try to work on stuff that I am weak on. So if we do a champs/challenger singles half court with alley, then I'll cheat a little over to my BH and try to hit more BH shots. I may work on slicing my FH. Lots of focus on split step and working on getting into position better.

My favorite is the reflex volley. That's probably where I get the biggest work-out keeping my feet moving.

In all of this, I'm hitting against a variety of shots from different players. I used to downplay its effectiveness if there are only "weaker" players on the court. But now that I've got certain things I'm focusing on, I find I'm getting a lot out of it.
 
#19
I believe this is what he's referring to..


I've done it before and really think it helped me develop my net game and feel more comfortable playing doubles without all the pressure and downtime of a normal doubles match. Plus you're constantly playing with/against different players and get to see a lot of different styles.

As others have said you need to have a good group and the right number of people or it falls apart.
 
#20
It really still wouldn't be that much. If you had 14, playing doubles, that's 1 champion team, 6 other teams. That means you play one point and sit for 5. That's WAY too long.
The variant I'm thinking of is splitting the players up into two groups. Which ever side loses the point, both come off and 2 new ones take their places. The "Champion" method is just one of many.

It's more about adjusting the drill to the # and skill level of the participants.
 
#21
The variant I'm thinking of is splitting the players up into two groups. Which ever side loses the point, both come off and 2 new ones take their places. The "Champion" method is just one of many.

It's more about adjusting the drill to the # and skill level of the participants.
That's still 10 people sitting out at once. Most places I've worked, if my boss saw that, I would be talked to immediately after about changing. And if I did that in my interview, I would never get the job.
 
Top