Mini tennis drill

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Clay lover, Apr 16, 2018 at 5:02 PM.

  1. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    Came across this regular in my recreational group and he proposed this rather bizarre method in my view of going about mini tennis.

    Basically I go about mini tennis the same way I would normal groundstrokes (and I have a rather Western, spinny FH), only to be met with his disapproval on more than one occasion. He claims that we should hit the ball flat with the racquet face up and feed each other neutral balls until we have gotten hang of the rally, then we start adding pace. His rationale is that we should make the rally easy for the partner at first.

    That has made no sense to me at all. Do we ever hit flat dinkers in a rally? I thought the aim of practice is to replicate the ACTUAL stroke as closely as possible, with the reduced size of the court serving as constraints to refine our control. Seeing as he is senior to me though, I made no objections.

    Is there any basis to this exercise though?
     
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  2. Znak

    Znak Rookie

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    I usually send over rather neutral balls in mini-tennis. I'm not trying to make the other person have to think or react extremely hard, I'm just trying to warm up the muscles and getting those stroke mechanics going properly. Having said that, if your natural stroke is a western it'll have some spin to it no matter what... but I can't see it being unmanageable from his standpoint unless you're really sending them at crazy angles?
     
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  3. rkelley

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    Unless he hits that way in normal rally, he's completely wrong. You are right.

    The point of mini tennis is to hit your real ground stroke. Very low pace with reasonable spin (assuming you hit with spin), but your real stroke. He's right that making it easy for your partner (not opponent) to hit back to you is key, but it's not about dinking the ball.
     
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  4. weelie

    weelie Rookie

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    I think you both are correct. :D

    But you can do just volleys. Or make it a game of hitting only slice, counting points. Or "touch tennis" of this sort: (like ping pong serves). or... if you are four, you can can play a game in the service boxes, each guarding their own box (and you can hit to the other box on the same side of court too), but it starts with a ball dropped from the netcord, so basically you are hitting up on it.
     
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  5. Morch Us

    Morch Us Rookie

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    Yes. It is co-operative rally. If you cannot keep a rally going with your extreme grip, then you have not tuned your strokes enough. What is your solution to make it co-operative then?
    Not really. Mini tennis is about feel and relax. One of the most common method is to reduce your backswing, and follow through fully. But again, the most important factor is "co-operative" if your partner is not able to handle your spin/pace, then it does not matter. You either have to look for another partner, or find a way to make it easy for your partner to keep a 20 stroke rally going without difficulty. Similary, if you cannot keep consistency with your extreme grip, you may want to avoid doing that till you fine tune it for the co-operative mini tennis. You can still get a lot of touch and feel of brushing the ball with a bit more less extreme grip.
    I agree with this.
    But not this. I am not really sure what you mean exactly. But definitely taking a full backswing is not recommended for mini-tennis. Feel the brushing of the ball with short takeback, and near to full follow-through.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 10:35 PM
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  6. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

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    I get amused at how worked up everyone gets about mini tennis. As if there is a “right” way to do it.

    To paraphrase Allen Iverson, “we’re talkin’ ‘bout MINI!”
     
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  7. AlexR

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    Yeah, overall I'm an open minded guy but nothing anyone can say will convince me mini tennis is a good warmup. I go right to the baseline. Why waste time? If you want to hit a short ball for practice, I'm sure you'll get one. Go nuts.
     
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  8. Clay lover

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    Yeah looking at the different opinions there doesn't seem to be consensus but one or two stood out--just don't do mini tennis. I am usually not that guy to propose it but he, being the technical nut he is, will indicate his preference by standing right behind the service box. I'm unlikely to change my grip and him his condescending manner. I'll just find another partner who rallies straight from the baseline.

    (yup, you can tell from my words my opinion of thay guy.)
     
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  9. Morch Us

    Morch Us Rookie

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    Definitely do what you like. It is supposed to be "re-creational" anyway. Touch and feel is a loosing art. Not many folks care about it anymore, and doesn't care about mis-hits/mis-timing as well (many now don't even know when it happens), as long as you can hit a few clean winners. You don't have to adjust to someone elses routines, that you hate.
     
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  10. Bender

    Bender Legend

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    YMMV, but injure your wrist like me and you might change your tune. Heading to the baseline to rally with a stiff wrist hurts like a mother****er, especially when every other guy I've played with that refuses to play mini tennis is the type to try win the warmups.

    If you find yourself arming all your shots despite your best efforts not to, that might be why. Mini tennis is what fixed so many things for me: contact point, wrist flexibility, footwork, touch, kinetic chain, etc.

    It's the best way to set the 'template' of your shots for replication behind the baseline later, not to mention it is the best time to relax your arm so you can hit a nice, relaxed swing. And you can tell the difference, because if you don't have a relaxed arm and drive your shots with your body, you either bunt the ball well long, or poke it into the net. Forgoing it always seems to keep the arm tight for the rest of the session for me.

    Everyone I've played with that can't or won't do it have had the same armed shots, and haven't seen technical progress.
     
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  11. Curious

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    Sometimes I feel like that, even more extreme like 'could mini tennis actually be bad for timing?' No matter how much I tried I couldn't convince the guys I'm hitting with to transition gradually to baseline. They always want to warm up at the service line and after 5 min go straight to baseline. Suddenly at the baseline I always get this: what the hell! It's a huge court, how do I get used to this?!

    P.S: I have watched Federer practice hundreds of times live and on videos, I haven't seen him even once starting his practice session anywhere else but from the baseline.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 11:13 PM
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  12. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

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  13. travlerajm

    travlerajm Legend

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    Regardless of what my opponent/partner does, if we start out in mini, I always work my way back to baseline gradually. And when I get all the way to baseline, I alway start out hitting soft and high over the net until the joints feel warmed up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018 at 8:15 AM
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  14. Curious

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    Tried that but doesn't work with my buddies. They bloody keep hitting short balls as if I am still at the service line because they are!
     
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  15. ChaelAZ

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    Exactly. Value is an interesting thing, and in the recreational world it comes down to a players opinion.So many recreational players don't do it or understand it.

    Conversely, I haven't found many coaches, clinics, programs, or academies that don't do it.
     
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  16. Clay lover

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    I'm not against the idea of mini tennis per se, I'm more against the idea of hitting flat dinkers to each other during it.
     
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  17. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    There is some merit. As an example, severe backspin or sidespin slice is not advisable in a mini tennis warmup, and neither are severe top-spinny balls. Mini tennis is a warm-up, not a way to play tennis on a mini scale. The balls must be returnable with only a decent effort.
     
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  18. Dartagnan64

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    I disagree entirely. I put as much spin as I can on the ball in mini tennis just to get a feel for the ball, reinforce touch, and work on contact point for the various strokes. I appreciate when my opponent throws spin at me in mini tennis so I can also work on some footwork and reading the ball.

    Mini tennis is an exercise in form and function at a lower pace. There is little point to bunting balls unless that is your usual groundstroke.
     
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  19. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    literally some people can't do it - even at 4.5.... don't bother, don't fight it...
    3 schools of thought:
    * valueable: an ATP coach#1 insisted on it every time we starteed (for feel, brushing, footwork, segmenting the swing, etc...)
    * waste of time, but can do it: an ATP coach#2, and some 5.0's... all who can do it, thinks it's a waste (but humor me sometimes)
    * waste of time, but only because they can't do it: most folks on here who think it's a waste, also can't do it (flame on!)

    what i get out of it...
    * timing of short backsiwng, long follow through (ie. like an approach shot on a low short ball)
    * brushiness (ie. dropping head)... alot of folks i see that have trouble, don't/can't loosen their wrists to drop their head on the swing
    * finding my ocntact... footwork, timing, etc...
    * eyes on contact eyes on contact eyes on contact eyes on contact
     
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  20. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    ironically folks good at mini, can get alot of top, and get the ball to land in the middle of the box, which is MUCH easier to hit and return in kind,... than say, someone hitting flat or slice to the service line.
     
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  21. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    flat dinking... that's pointless. just hit volleys then.
     
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  22. Powderwombat

    Powderwombat Rookie

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    I go for flat winners in mini tennis. I find it gives me a mental edge for when the actual game starts. Plus they have to go pick up the balls from the back fence, gets them tired quicker.
     
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  23. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    that's lame.
    i drill my opponent... induce a floater, and smash it at them, to send them a message, "your mini tennis is no good here", while yelling, "come on" and fist pumping.
     
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  24. Captain Ron

    Captain Ron Professional

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    Dismissively hit a put away angle volley on their first shot while shouting, 'get that s*** out!
    Shows them you intend to play defence and protect the paint. If playing doubles, extra points for immediately chest bumping your partner.
     
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  25. Znak

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    +1 on this. I'm generally an injury prone person, but since starting mini tennis before matches with practice partners it's helped me stay away from my wrist/elbow injury — keeping loose while warming the muscles up. I may be in the minority but I notice I play my match better hands down with mini tennis. But back to the OP, no I see no value either in dinking the ball back as he suggested
     
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  26. Devil_dog

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    Oh man... Another post about Mini warmups...

    In my area, besides playing in tournments or some league matches, mini is often done. I don't mind it. I do eventually backup and start hitting out on the ball. There's a guy I hit with that has no idea how to mini. He hits a flat ball and has tons of trouble with mini. It often gets to the point he's practically hitting the ball like a line drive and I'm having to volley his shots. Mini doesn't go very long. Then there's a D3 college player I also hit with. We start mini and since we both like to hit with lots of topspin our mini sessions can go for an unusual amount of time. It's great for me becuase I get grooved, my heart gets pumping and my legs are warmed up. My practice sessions with the college player go rather well. Bottom line, mini isn't for everyone. I'm fine with either so long as my partner isn't slamming balls for winners from the get go.
     
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  27. S&V-not_dead_yet

    S&V-not_dead_yet Legend

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    I'd add a 4th: "It's beneath me. I'm too good for that. Only for beginners. That's training wheels tennis." etc.
     
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  28. FiReFTW

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    Mini tennis is great, I can warm up my shot placement by aiming to hit my opponent.

    If im lucky I might even disable him and get a walkover.
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    When Nadal does that, I find it quite difficult to get them back

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    It is not good to do this if mini tennis is a warmup. Defeats the purpose.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  31. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    Very true, not enough space to two bounce the reply. Definitely should move back to baseline.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  32. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Legend

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    You're right, every time I hit with nadal, for my every Monday afternoon hit, I ask him to dial it back to 4000rpm


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  33. FiReFTW

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    I always push him to try to hit more spin.

    I swear this scrub flat hitter doesnt know what topspin is if it hit him in the face.
     
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  34. stringertom

    stringertom Bionic Poster

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    But you're smootherer than fedr and he now has no problems with Nadal's balls so why should you???
     
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  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Not on clay. That is why he chickened out of clay when he heard Nadal was playing.
     
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  36. stringertom

    stringertom Bionic Poster

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    fedr and you are roosters, not chickens. I suggest you get together with him and his agents to promote a new line of apparel called Le Coq Sureshs.:p:D
     
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  37. Sentinel

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    That line would be in plus sizes only, right ? Only for the well .... :eek:
     
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  38. stringertom

    stringertom Bionic Poster

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    Won't go over at Wimby with their strict "white only" code that bans :p and :D.
     
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  39. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    He's just allowing Nadal to easily win one more slam without any opposition. This RG is his gift to Rafa.
     
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