Play Better – Practice Better

With limited practice time, courts, etc. it’s important for a high school tennis coach to get the most out of the time with the team.  Here are two ideas to keep in mind:

Spend more time on these two shots; the serve and return of serve! These two shots are the most important in a match.  For example, in singles your player will hit one of these shots in every point!  The more successful your players are with serving and returning the more success they (and your team) will have throughout the season.  The player serving is usually the most important player in the game!   The server will also have the biggest influence on winning the game especially as the level of the play increases.  For example, the player serving should be able to hit an offensive serve, place it to a weakness of the returner and often set up a tactic. For lower levels the server can still have a major influence on the game mainly by getting first serves in and using the serve as a set up for the next shot.

Remind your players that the serve is:

  • It’s the only way to start the point
  • It’s the only shot that you can be fully prepared and hit the ball on your terms (pace, spin, placement)
  • It’s a shot you can set up a play or tactic with your partner
  • It’s a shot that gives you two chances to make one!

Here are some drills you can use from;

  • SRC322 One Serve vs Just Forehands
  • SRC349 Initial Serve and Return
  • SRC375 Serve 24s
  • SRC363 Stand Wide Serve Wide & First Shot Drill


This drill is the start of a progression and can be self-run. Divide your players in two groups, one group starts in a line standing wide in the ad court with a player ready to serve.  The other group starts outside the alley near the service line on the deuce side.  The player serves a ball to the ad court and then moves and plays a forehand from the feed from the other player.  Players then switch lines.


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