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Steal This Drill: Overhead Game

Here's a fun way to work on your volleys and overheads - two shots that are not practiced nearly enough by today's juniors. To recap prior articles, if you don't work on your net- or mid-court game you will forever be relegated to the baseline. As a baseliner you better be fit, fast and consistent. Otherwise, someone with a more aggressive gamestyle will chop you up. Develop this dimension of your game and you might just be able to take your opponent by surprise. We're going for the Navy Seals mentality - you gotta have the right tool, the right training and the right tactics for the job. Even if you are a "pure" baseliner, it's always best to have some additional arrows in your quiver. 

So, next time, instead of your basic overhead and volley practice try this game: Player "A" is at the net (red X); player "B" is at the baseline in the deuce side of the court. Although player "B" can hit winners (whole court); player "A" cannot hit volley winners (i.e., it must hit volleys back to player "B" - red line). However, when player "B" lobs (purple line), player "A" can smash an overhead winner (i.e., yellow line) into the open court (i.e., player "A" MUST change direction with the overhead and hit to the ad side of the court) - unless player "B" gets there and the play continues on that half of the court. The baseline player is encouraged to hit 2-3 groundstrokes for the net player to volley before throwing up a lob (or make it a rule that the 3rd or 4th shot must be a lob). Then, s/he has to rush and cover the open court. For player "A", this is great practice because he has to stay steady with the volleys and hit them shots in such a way that the baseline player cannot beat him. Furthermore, the net player only has one chance - the overhead - to put the ball away. As the players get better and better, they become more adept at both lobbing as well as hammering home the the tough overheads. Furthermore, the net player becomes good at reading body language - making him a better player from the net as well as the baseline.  

Please let us know if you have any questions about this drill or if you have any suggestions for practicing specific tactics. 


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