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TennisSlowMoGuy
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Saturday
Nov122011

Steal This Drill: Offense/Defense Drill

If you have a willing partner, this is a good drill to work on your offense and defense in a productive manner. Many of the points you encounter in the match will be on the extremes- either you will be on the offense or on the defense.  Many people like to practice their rally ball, but this is not what happens in an intense match. One person is usually defending, while the other is attacking.  

Player A is the offensive player and Player B is the defensive player.  Player A is allowed to pick 1 of 3 offensive patterns:

 

  • Hitting the ball side-to-side
  • Hitting the ball twice to the deuce, then once to the ad
  • Hitting the ball once to the deuce, then twice to the ad

Player B has to defend each pattern and return each ball back to the center of the court (return to a cone in the middle of the court, halfway between service line and baseline).  Player B is working on resetting the point back in the middle of the court, working on digging balls out of the corner.  Usually by putting the ball in the middle of the court, you give your opponent no angle to hit winners.  

Since you know the pattern Player A is attempting, you should be able to get most of the balls (Player A must not hold back, but really go for his shots).  Player B is not going to be able to be on top of the baseline while on defense, you are on defense!  Defense means give up court, retreat position, and look to buy time.  Try to anticipate the next shot, but getting a headstart.  This is how slow players defend well, they understand what shot is coming next.  

Variation: Player A (offensive player) does not tell Player B what the pattern is beforehand.  Player B must try to figure out the pattern Player A is trying to execute.  When you are on defense, you can learn to sense where the ball might be going.  

Most American players (huge generalization, which is why Jose Higueras is pushing for clay courts), believe it to be a character flaw to be on defense.  Many young kids are not proud to run, to defend, to get nasty, and to even look ugly. In the same vein, many parents/coaches believe the fallacy that offense is always the best defense. American tennis did just fine 20 years ago with only hardcourts in America, it's a mentality to compete and not look for the easy way out.  

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