Start Your Season with the Right Plan

With Spring Practice about to start in some areas of the country having the right plan can make things easier for you (and staff) and help create more success and improvement with your team. Here are some ideas and examples:
Divide and Conquer: A team will usually have different ability and skill levels. You may need different plans (drills, topics) for each group. For example, the focus for your JV or development group may be more on introducing skills and techniques while for Varsity your plan can be more specific such as doubles strategies!
Team Activities: It’s important to spend time with the team together in areas such as fitness/stretching, group games building the “team” and off court workout (handouts, mental toughness, etc.).
You can find many different practice plans on http://www.highschooltenniscoach.com! You can also easily search for drills for a specific topic or group size! Here’s a team building exercise:

Trust Me!
A lot of kids in high school have big egos that can easily shatter to pieces for many reasons. While interacting with this group try to instill a strong feeling of “belongingness” teaching them how to work together as a team.
To play this trust building game, divide the players into two teams and each team starts at the net on one side of the court. Choose one leader and blindfold the rest. Place a number of objects such as chairs, racquets, bags, books, or other objects. The leader is standing at the finishing line which is the baseline and has to guide the players on his team to cross this path full of obstacles. The catch is that if any of the team players touches an obstacle, the entire team has to start all over again from the starting line! The team which crosses the hurdles successfully in minimum attempts is declared the winner.

Here’s another tennis specific team building exercise from the site, use the drill search for: GaPr606 One racquet tennis

Advertisements

Doubles Practice Drill

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

DoC569 Crosscourt and Away

Here’s the start of a series of progression drills for doubles.  The coach starts at the net in the ad court with a player as his partner on the baseline on the deuce side.  Another player is at the net post in the “batter’s box” position.  The other players are in a line on the opposite baseline on the ad side.  The coach feeds a ball to the first player and s/he hits it back to the coach who plays the ball down the line. The first player moves over and plays the ball back crosscourt.  The point is played out between the three players with the doubles team playing to half the court.  The “single player” is trying to play mostly crosscourt.   Once the point is over and the baseline player can move to the net post as that player rotates to the coach’s side to start a new point (the player from the coach’s side moves to the back of the line on the other side).

Variation:  Substitute a player for the coach and the coach feeds to start the drill.

Strengths/Weaknesses Round Robin

Do your players know their Strengths/Weaknesses, Really?

 Practice Objective: To show players the difference in what they perceive as their strengths and weaknesses and what their opponents see as their strengths and weaknesses.

 Format: A round robin format with the last 5 minutes of each round used to fill out H118 Singles Post Match Review Handout found in the handout section on www.highschooltenniscoach.com.    The coach or manager will then total the results and share the information.

 Why your players need to know this information?

 Are your players sure that their strengths are their strengths?  They may think their forehand is a weapon but opponents think that it’s a shot that produces a lot of errors.  Or your player may think a second serve is a weakness but most opponents don’t feel comfortable attacking it.

 As a coach you probably can see how learning this information can quickly help your players improve their tennis.  It will also provide you ideas on strategy and how to structure your practice time.

 You will learn this valuable information in our Strengths and Weaknesses Round Robin.  At the end of each round spend 5 minutes filling out a simple self and opponent analysis.  Then at the end of the program provide your players with the totals and some suggestions and tips.

Simple Solutions

Simple Solutions

When talking to your player through the fence you want to suggest simple solutions. Often winning at most levels is just a matter of returning one more ball back over the net. It’s usually not a matter of hitting 8-10 shots but more like 3-5 shots a point.  Use short, easy to remember and positive ideas.  For example, if your player is hitting a lot of balls into the net you may suggest “aim higher over the net, think of a target window six feet above the net” rather than saying “stop hitting balls into the net.”   Here are a few practice drills from www.highschooltenniscoach.com to emphasize beating the net;

  • GC143 Beat the Net
  • GPr173 3, 6 and 12

For players this is not as easy as it sounds because very often they would rather lose hitting the ball hard and hitting a few winners than to win by getting the ball back. However, if your players learn this strategy first they will be more successful and they can always and quickly add the power after they have developed some consistency. So have your players just get the ball back one more time to win one more match!

Through the Fence “Coachable Moments”

In this section we will share ideas and thoughts from coaches during matches.  What Coaches say through the fences to help their players learn and improve (and possibly even win the match)!

Focus on the Positive

I was talking with Coach Tom Lang from the DC area and he made a good point about a coachable moment.  One of his players had just lost the first set badly and Coach Lang heads to the fence.  The player starts telling him everything he is doing wrong but Tom stops him immediately and asks “what are you doing right”, “tell me something positive!”

This is a great coaching strategy for a couple of reasons.  First, you do not want your player to become too analytical trying to figure out what is going wrong, at least not during a match. Second by focusing on something positive you can build on one or two things going into the next set. Players will also increase their energy level by being positive.  Here are some of drills/games to use from www.highschooltenniscoach.com to help emphasize staying positive and gaining some momentum;

  • GaC612 Two in a Row
  • GC125 Love the Battle