"What's New" Product Video
- from Tennis Warehouse - Fila Winter Polo, Crews, Warm-Ups
Drop and Hit – Deliberative Practice
Watching the professionals, we can notice a sameness to their strokes. Nikolay Davydenko, for example, who just captured the ATP Masters World title in London, hits most forehands the same way. Exceptions occur when he is stretched wide or under extreme attack. But his basic topspin forehand looks the same, from stroke to stroke.
And this sameness, this rock solid consistency has kept him in the top ten, if not the top five for quite a few years.
Click photo: Nikolay Davydenko, who just captured the ATP Masters World title in London, hits most forehands the same way.
In fact, this concept of the quality of one’s basic shots may be the distinguishing factor between pros ranked 100 to pros ranked 30, and the same can be said to distinguish pros ranked 30 from those in the top 10. "Basic" means just that, they can reliably keep the ball in play, and reliably place the ball to specific targets on court.
Well, I believe you can improve your own “basic” by deliberative target practice, on court, without a partner or ball machine, simply with drop hits. Might sound a little off the wall, but I have read where Monica Seles often went to her court (in the backyard somewhere in Sarasota Florida) to set up targets and drill them using drop hits, again, and again and again.
Drop Hit Drills
With this type of drill you can practice varying points of contact, varying grips and varying swing paths. And the whole Maghilla is target-oriented.
Alley to Alley – one commonly overlooked aspect of the swing path is how long the racquet “stays on line.” And truly, as swings are rotational, a certain level of skill is required to use a circular swing to aim the ball down a specific line. If your tendency is to swing across the line of flight, this drill will either give you a headache or take your accuracy to a new level (I am hoping the latter occurs).
Down-the-line, finesse, under spin, offensive lob. Lots of words here. The intent is to float the ball low and quick down the line, nothing too high, nothing spiny, just a well aimed floater. Place your targets 5 feet from the corner, and you can do this one for singles or doubles.
Click photo: Federer's Heavy crosscourt backhand drive deep into the corner.
Heavy crosscourt backhand drive – deep to deep and corner to corner. In spite of the modern forehand and how players use it to control the court, many times the backhand to backhand rally exposes either a player's weaknesses from that corner (hopefully his or her's) or a player's strength from that same position (in this case yours).
And take your grip to a full eastern backhand for this drill, just like Federer.
Sharply angled forehand topspin passing shot – played from the baseline to the short corner within the service box. Imagine you are pressed to pass the net-rusher, you must keep the ball low and wide. Put extra spin on this one, and roll it low.
Sidespin backhand down the line, outside in swing path, played from inside the baseline, and close to the opposite side line. This one requires a continental grip, and feels like a fade shot that either curves away from the opponent, or makes them stoop low to hit the ball.
Click photo: Federer's sidespin backhand down the line, using an outside in swing path.
Middle to middle. Finally, this one may be the most important of the entire bunch.
Shot-making can be considered offensive, defensive or neutral. Further, shot-making can be active or passive – meaning you can take your game to your opponent, or keep the ball simply in play and let them make the first move. As regards angles, crosscourt and down the line play, opportunities (as well as problems) occur when you are in the corner. There are less problems when centered, but equally less available angles. For this one imagine you and the opponent are both centered, they have played the ball down the middle, and your drop hit reply is right back up the middle, only deeper than their shot.
The Key is Deliberative Practice
Practice, practice, practice. Deliberate practice. But this practice will only make perfect when practicing perfectly. Get on court to perfect (the verb here not the noun) these basic drop and hit drills.
As always, we would love to hear from you! Questions, comments, personal experiences all create helpful dialogue for everyone! Please click here to send us your email.
The Power of Neutral
Consistency is a key component for success at every level of the game. In terms of tactical play we talk about offense, defense and neutral. During each point, as we hit every single shot, we are in one of these situations. For most players, neutral is the least glamorous, and least enjoyable of the three possible conditions we find ourselves in, yet it is the very foundation of the game. Happy Bhalla
Doug King brings his insights to one of the most difficult aspects of tennis, or any sport for that matter, hand-to-eye coordination. Simply put, the difficulty arises because players have to watch, then hit the ball and move at the same time. Because, the best way to watch the ball is to remain perfectly still. That is why they anchor linespeople in chairs or teach them how to stand so they don't move. See what Doug has to say about this perplexing situation.
ProStrokes 2.0 – Fernando Verdasco's Serve
This powerful 25 year old Spanish southpaw has ascended to the top 10 of the men's game. Currently ranked 8th, with an excess of $5 million in prize money, Fernando looks to move higher in the coming months. He works part time with the Agassi team of Darren Cahill and fitness wizard Gil Reyes. Getting into the top ten is an achievement (for anyone), climbing higher will require Fernando to develop more court savvy, continued confidence in his serve, and the ability to shorten the occasional point. New this issue, Verdasco's Serve.
The Etcheberry Experience DVD
For more than twenty years Pat Etcheberry has been providing athletes from around the world with the winning edge. We call this the Etcheberry Experience, and players with an Etcheberry experience have hoisted Championship Trophies at over one hundred major championships, including 28 Australian Opens, 18 Wimbledons, 22 UP Opens, 22 French Opens and 15 Olympic medals.
And now it's your turn! This is your chance to experience the same drills, exercises and words of tennis wisdom that Pat gave to Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier, Justine Henin-Hardenne, and others, that helped launch them on their incredible careers. For the first time, Pat Etcheberry shares his training secrets in a series of DVDs for players of all ages, their coaches, and trainers.
Copyright Notice: The contents of the TennisONE web site and contents forwarded to you by TennisONE are intended for your personal, noncommercial use. Republishing of TennisONE content in any way, including framing or posting of these materials on other Web sites, is strictly prohibited. See our full copyright statement
If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, please send an email to email@example.com and leave the subject line blank. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will be removed from our newsletter list once you reply to that confirmation.