Friday, August 17, 2012

Move Your Feet! Practice Requirements

Getting to the right position to hit the ball is perhaps the most important part of hitting a good shot. If you know where you want to be on the court and are quick to get there, your positioning will be superior and therefore your shots will be superior.

You've heard this so many times; it starts to lose its meaning. But, it cannot be overemphasized. If you are not in the right position on the court, you will have to adjust your balance and your swing and that leads to inconsistency and weak shots.

Let's also be clear that there are two parts to this:

1) Identify where to be on the court.
2) Get there!

#1 is tricky because you are tracking a moving object. The computations that go on in your head to ascertain the ball's velocity and trajectory as well as your own to determine a target location for you to be to hit the ball is something that must be done unconsciously but learned through practice. That is a subject for another time.

#2 is easier. Move your feet! Improve your speed through training! Learn techniques to keep your feet moving in pressure situations.

Here are some things that I REQUIRE at all times during practice to help with #2.
  • No double bounces!
    In groundstroke drills you are NEVER allowed to let the ball bounce twice. Letting a ball bounce twice gets you in the habit of just standing there. We want to immediately react when we see a ball is going to be short.
  • Bouncing is resting!
    During drills where you have to wait your turn you are NEVER standing; you are always bouncing on your toes like you are jumping rope - both feet coming off the ground at once. This not only tones your legs and helps cardio but also reinforces the habit of being on your toes and keeping your feet moving at all times.

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