What to Practice

Here’s a useful handout, one of over 100 on http://www.highschooltenniscoach.com!  It will help your players plan their improvement by taking a shot and skill inventory and then prioritizing the areas to improve.

 

H144 Player Development – Shot Inventory

 

Stroke Analysis
Plan to Achieve Goal
Needs
Work
Solid
Above Rating
Work On
(check two)
Top Priority
(check one)

Forehand

Topspin

Slice

Consistency

Placement

Weapon

Backhand

Topspin

Slice

Consistency

Placement

Weapon

Serve

Consistency

Spin

Power

Placement

2nd Serve

Weapon

Volley

Consistency

Power

Placement

Return of Serve

Consistency

Power

Placement

Approach Shot

Consistency

Power

Placement

Overhead

Consistency

Power

Placement

Drop Shot

Consistency

Placement

Strategy Of

Lob

Consistency

Placement

Offensive

Defensive

Strategy

Playing Patterns

Adaptation

Percentage tennis

Mental Skills

 

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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 www.highschooltenniscoach.com;

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

src363

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.

Starting Your Season: Tips from a State Champion Coach

Here are four ideas from Coach Kevin Record (coached two FL State Champion teams) on how he approaches a new season.  After coaching high school tennis for over 15 years this is what works well for him.  These ideas or parts of the ideas may also work well for you and your team!

1.  Setting up a Budget/Team Dues

In many areas of the country parents now pay dues for their child to participate in a high school sport such as tennis. Setting up a team budget that includes trips, uniforms, match day refreshments, etc. will help set the dues structure (note: you can offset some of these costs with team fundraising, see ideas and examples on www.highschooltenniscosch.com)!

 2. Organizational Meeting

This meeting can set the tone for the whole season – be organized!  Have your practice and match schedule finished and handout to players and parents.  Explain your policies, expectations and how the line-up will be organized.  Ask for a “commitment” from your players (note: we make things easier for you with these handouts on www.highschooltenniscoach.com)!

H146 Team Expectation Meeting

H147 Team Practice Calendar

H148 Team Schedule Overview

 3. Line Up and Team Building

Coach Record uses a double elimination tournament to determine the boys and girls lineups. Usually the positions are set for the season, unless a player slumps badly or a player left out of the lineup makes dramatic improvement. Once this “stressful” time is over a team building session such as a cookout, giving out uniforms or fun trip is scheduled (note: the Team Manager function on www.highschooltenniscoach.com will set up challenge matches, tournaments and keep team and player statistics)!

 4.  Naming Captains

Captains play an important role for a team and their responsibilities can vary. Keep the communication open with your captains and make sure they know their roles and your expectations (note: a lot of our drills on www.highschooltenniscoach.com can be self-run, captains can also with the energy of the drill and practice)!

 Here’s a sample drill:

http://youtu.be/ajIFiOuCJJI

 Good luck with your season.  You can find other helpful information and free samples at www.highschooltenniscoach.com!

Serve Tips and Handout

The serve is often a tough shot to learn with many high school players never able to reach a high level of competency. One stumbling block is often the grip – not being able to use the continental grip when serving.  One of your goals for the off-season for these players should be to serve with a continental grip to increase spin, power and consistency on their serves.  Here’s a handout explaining how to place your hand with references for a continental grip and other serving tips.  You can easily create handouts like this on www.highschooltenniscoach.com

Serve Handout

Perfect Practice makes Perfect

Many coaches are familiar with Vince Lombardi’s phrase “perfect practice makes perfect” and it makes sense, a lot of sense especially with tennis. If your players do not know what they are doing, i.e. “just hitting balls” often they are just perfecting an error and are putting a ceiling on their improvement.

The off-season is a good opportunity for your players to invest the time to practice right.  It will take a variety of time and effort depending on the player.  Some players have to pay a higher price with more practice time.  Players need expert coaching.  For both player and coach learning is a process.  There will always be new ideas, techniques, equipment, strategies, etc. As a coach investing time with your players and their improvement will ultimately improve your skills as well, it’s a win-win!

Tips from One of the Best

UNC’s women soccer coach, Anson Dorrance is one of the best.  His teams have won 72% of the NCAA National Championship games!  He has developed some core values for his players and you may be able to use some of these ideas with your team.

So with these things in mind let’s look at where we stand and our teammates stand with our core values.  First, measure yourselves against all twelve of them:  “how many of them do you live and to what extent?”.  Then measure your teammates against them.  (Obviously the freshmen just do a self-evaluation for now.)  The grading scale is “1” to “4” with “1” being “an extraordinary example of this core value and “4” means this person rarely embodies this core value or is the embodiment of an “over-bred dog” or whatever the negative opposite extreme of that core value is . . .

 

  1. We don’t whine:  this tough individual can handle any situation and never complains about anything on or off the field.
  2. The truly extraordinary do something every day:  this individual has remarkable self-discipline, does the summer workout sheets from beginning to the end without omission or substitution and every day has a plan to do something to get better.
  3. And we want these four years of college to be rich, valuable and deep:  this is that focused individual that is here for the “right reason” to get an education.  She leads her life here with the proper balance and an orientation towards her intellectual growth, and against the highest public standards and most noble universal ideals, she makes good choices to best represent herself, her team, and her university.
  4. We work hard:  this individual is the “indefatigable human spirit” and never stops pushing herself.  She is absolutely relentless in training and in the match.
  5. We don’t freak out over ridiculous issues or live in fragile states of emotional catharsis or create crises where none should exist:  best example is the even-keeled stoic that is forever unflappable and resilient.  The worst example of this is the “over-bred dog” that high maintenance, overly sensitive “flower” that becomes unstable or volatile over nothing significant.
  6. We choose to be positive:  nothing can depress or upset this powerful and positive life force, no mood swings, not even negative circumstances affect this “rock”.
  7. We treat everyone with respect: this is that classy angel that goes out of her way to never separate herself from anyone or make anyone feel beneath her.
  8. We care about each other as teammates and as human beings:  this is that non-judgmental caring and inclusive friend that never says a negative thing about anyone and embraces everyone because of their humanity, with no elitist separation by academic class, social class, race, religious preference or sexual orientation.
  9. When we don’t play as much or we would like we are noble and still support the team and its mission:  this remarkably noble self sacrificing generous human being always places the team before herself.

10. We play for each other:  this is the kind of player that works herself to death covering for all her teammates in the toughest games.  Her effort and care (her verbal encouragement) make her a pleasure to play with and her selflessness on and off the field helps everyone around her.

11. We are well led:  this is a verbal leader on the field that is less concerned about her popularity and more concerned about holding everyone to their highest standards and driving her teammates to their potential.  This inspirational person competes all the time and demands that everyone else do as well!

12. We want our lives (and not just in soccer) to be never ending ascensions but for that to happen properly our fundamental attitude about life and our appreciation for it is critical:  this is that humble, gracious high achiever that is grateful for everything she has been given in life, and has a contagious generosity and optimism lights up a room just by walking into it.

Indoor/Outdoor Practice

Here’s another fitness/conditioning drill you can use inside or out.  Use the search function on www.highschooltenniscoach.com  under Drills/Conditioning for more samples!

Here are two variations for this drill. In the first situation have your players’ pair up and start in the push-up position with the hands of one player on the singles side line and the hands of the other player on the doubles side line. Place a ball in the middle of the alley between the two players. When the coach says “go” the player who grabs the ball receives a point. The coach can also say either “right” or “left” and the players must use that hand to grab the ball.

In the other version have your players start in the push-up position on each baseline. The coach can feed to either side and the players have to explode up and play the point out.

 See the video here;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVmiPAvOjQw