Monthly Tip

CHANGE TO PRACTICE ROUTINE - October 2010

I guess we all like to get into routines and practice sessions are no exception, but it’s a good idea to change it up sometimes. It helps keep our approach fresh.

The general approach is to start off gently while we’re warming up and finding our range. We start with both players at the service line for 10 minutes or so, just trying to hold the ball on the racket as long as possible, and with only a little backswing propel the ball into the service box on the other side, with a good follow through. It’s almost like a half volley and what this does for you, is gain real control of the ball, and that accuracy transfers itself into the confidence to then start hitting full out. (How many times do you see people going straight out to the baseline and start whacking the ball at full tilt, inevitably making mistakes which lead to doubts about their stroke production and loss of confidence.)

So after the initial warm up, then of course, we progress to the full array of groundstrokes, volleys, overheads, serves and various drills.

All of that is excellent, but how about changing it up every now and then.

Start off the warm-up with both players in the same position at the service line. Then instead of letting the ball bounce, hit close volleys. The first ones should be low velocity, then pick up the pace. When a good level has been reached then return to the baseline and start off with the rest of the groundstrokes etc and a full practice. You actually find you are seeing the ball better off the ground and hitting with a more compact backswing, plus you feel great about your volley. As a bonus, you feel invigorated mentally, doing something a little new and creative.

Virginia Wade with Roger Federer