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Steal This Drill: Figure 8 Game with Serve

I should probably start making videos of certain entries, but unfortunately, I don't have a single volunteer to film me because I hit with my players!  I'll work on it.  In this Steal The Drill, we want to take the ever so popular (dreadful to most) Figure 8 drill to another level with added variations.  For those of you who don't know what a Figure 8 drill is, it is where one person goes crosscourt and the other person goes DTL (down the line).  

In my variation, the server is serving the entire time in a game to 15.  The server must go crosscourt and the returner must go down-the-line (except on the return where the returner can go anywhere).  Once the return is in play, the server can rip the first ball crosscourt for a winner.  Since everyone knows the figure 8 pattern and where the next ball is going, the game can be played at match speed.  

I love this drill for several reasons:

1) Working on your serves during practice instead at the end of practice.  Too often we practice serves standing around, saved for the end of practice.  The problem is serves should be practiced when you are tired, huffing and puffing.  

2) Everyone knows where the ball is going, therefore you can work on your anticipation and defense.  It should be very difficult for anyone to hit a winner since you know their next move.  

3) Forces you to use the entire court and hit the ball in a way that will not hurt you on the next shot.  For example, if you are changing the direction of your FH to go DTL and you are in a slightly poor position off the court and behind the baseline- you should hit your FH in a way that gives you a play in tracking down the next shot.  

4) Builds mental toughness.  There are no easy points if both people are hustling and willing to make shots on the run.  Can you play when there are no obvious way to win a point?  Can you play when your heartrate is up?  

Added variation: 1 person goes 2 Crosscourts and 1 DTL while the other person only goes Crosscourt.    


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Reader Comments (3)

1. when is it that you ever know when the ball is going in a tennis match
2. it is pointless running. you teach a person to run from one side of the court to another. if i wanted to do that i would just run 50 yard shuttles
3. you do not practice your mental toughness in this drill because it is predictable/one person has a severe advantage
4. for what this drill to work you need to control and not hit the ball so hard so you can actually have a point and keep the ball in play
i do not want to push
so why would i hit the ball intentionally so that my opponent could get it- i would just hit crosscourts then if i wanted to groove
5. sitting and eating icecream is more productive than doing this figure 8 drill

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrustrated Fiona

Most advanced players know exactly where the opponent's average ball is going to go. They pick up visual cues from the opponent's preparation and the figure 8 drill is a huge part of developing the ability to read the shit based on footwork and positioning. Figure 8 drill also teaches you to recover and also to change the direction of the ball when you're on the move - big factors in tennis. The drill also teaches you how to control time and space...how to step in and flatten out the ball to give your opponent less time or roll the ball high in order to be able to recover.

June 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterCAtennis

Frustrated Fiona's response to the text explanation of the drill illustrates why it would be preferable to have a video of the drill - her critiques would be nullified visually, I believe! Advanced players typically play percentages when deciding on shot direction so an astute opponent most often does know where the next shot is going. It's when you go counter to the most likely direction that your opponent needs to be prepared for - that's why you should move to the center of the two widest possible shots and be ready with a split step to go one way or the other. Am I making sense? If you are still running to cover the percentage shot it's easy to go behind you and if you simply always move to the center mark it's also easy to find an opening on one side or the other...

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTheTennisSlowMoGuy

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