1. Doubles Positioning
Start in the classic position for doubles With player A at the baseline serving or returning, and player B at the net ready to poach and apply pressure. This is the best starting point for doubles play, especially at a recreational level.
Too often both players will start at the back of the court or Player B will just hang around behind the service line the whole point. You ideally want the volleyer to be in front of the service line and the baseliner behind/on the baseline.
2. Player Communication
Start communicating from even a beginner level. It’s important to have a strategy, even a basic one, but also to build moral. Communication can be anything from a ‘good shot’ to ‘I’m serving down the T, try and poach the return’.
Try and set up plays, or at least tell your partner where the serve is going so there is some structure, otherwise they’re playing as blind as your opponents.
One of the simplest communication tactics is to shout ‘mine’ or ‘yours’ during the point. This can be applied for a mid court shot, lob, or any ball that could potentially be hit by either player.
3. Get to the Net
Over the years I’ve taught a lot of B and C grade players who when they start lessons struggle to commit to the net, usually because they’re scared of net play. If you’re one of those players you need to practice approaching the net. You will win some at the net, and lose some but you have to get there to get better at it.
Start every point in a neutral position, but don’t just stay there all match. The most aggressive position to win the point is both players at the net, the most defensive is both players at the back of the court. Get to the net.
Remember this, the closer you get to the net, the more angles you can play. Doubles is a game of angles and you want to get on top of the net and put the ball away. Playing from the net also means the opponents have more court to cover, plus as you come closer to the net the opponents have less options to hit to and often revert to the lob, which can often be a smash, or try and hit a winner which can easily turn into an unforced error. If you stay back on the baseline every point, you don’t create any pressure and the opponents have more options to hit to.
4. Don’t hit to the volleyer
If you have a player at the back of the court, and a player at the net, HIT TO THE PLAYER AT THE BACK OF THE COURT! The volleyer can finish the point easily if they get a swing at the ball. Keep the baseliner back by playing deep balls wide in the doubles so it’s also out of the volleyers reach.
As you pull the baseliner further out of court the volleyer has more court to cover, then when you see the opportunity play the down the line shot. But be patient, you have to create the openings before pulling the trigger. You can also play a down the line winner if you think the volleyer is moving in to the court early or leaving space, but it can be a low percentage shot if played at the wrong time
5. Poach, Poach, Poach
On the reverse side, as a volleyer, you need to poach the crosscourt rally and finish the point. This is tricky because it all comes down to timing. Move too early and you might get passed down the line, move to late and you miss to ball and open the court a little. The key is to move once to opponent has committed to their swing trajectory. If they try and change mid shot there is a high risk of an unforced error.
Try doing fakies. Feign a step to poach early and make the opponent hesitate. This is a great tactic for sussing out the opponents timing and nerves. And most important of all is it applies pressure which results in unforced errors.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these little tips for improving you double social play. They’re easy to implement with a little practice. In your net double match just aim for 1 of the tips for a whole set and you’ll see some progress. Keep building on each of the goals and before you know it they will all come naturally.
If you’re keen on playing some social tennis here at Four Seasons Tennis or want some more info check out the Social Tennis Page
Some of our tennis coaches feature on ATPCA promo video recently. If you know anyone who is keen on doing a coaching course I highly recommend ATPCA.
All Saturday classes will have their last lesson this Saturday 20th December 2014 and resume on the 10th January 2015. This includes Saturdays junior lessons.
All after school junior classes will have break between 19th December 2014 and 27th January inclusive. First lesson back will be Thursday 29th January 2015.
All adults evening group classes will break from 19th December to the 9th January 2015. The first group back will be on Monday 12th January 2015.
Remember Tennis Camps are running 2 weeks over the holidays. Week 1 is from the 12th January and week 2 is from the 19th January. For more info and booking check out http://www.fourseasonstennis.com.au/index.php/juniors/camps
We hope everyone has a great break. Be safe and have fun! See you in the new year.
Four Seasons Tennis
Sometimes small adjustments to your technique will pay huge dividends in your game. Here we’re going through 5 common forehand errors that are a must change for anyone looking to improve their technique and stop making unforced errors.
Back in the olden/golden days of tennis the continental grip was used for just about everything from forehand, backhand, volleys, serve and all inbetween. A good example in the 1970’s is John McEnroe who used the continental grip on his forehand. But with the pace, athleticism and equipment of todays game, a whole lot of changes have been made to keep up and play better tennis. One of which is the grips.
Today’s standard grips to use on the forehand are the eastern forehand grip and the semi-western forehand grip. Often grips are a hybrid between the 2. Some players still also use a full western or close to.
The eastern forehand grip is the grip used to hit flatter balls and considered a more traditional grip. Some players who use the grip include Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.
The semi western grip is now the most popular grip used, especially by professionals. Some of whom include Rafael Nadal (although his is sneaking towards the full western grip), Andy Murray and Djokovic and Sam Stosur
Depending on what court surface you play on, who you play against, your swing and what feel natural will determine which grip is right for you.
The most common forehand footwork errors include:
Stepping across the body with the left foot before hitting the ball which. This closes the body off to the court too much and inhibits body rotation thus power and swing length, and recovery steps
Stepping forwards into the ball with the right foot opening the body to the wrong side of the court. This opens the body too much and making a take back non existent.
Modern footwork has us using open and semi open stances, unlike the closed stances of yesteryear. Depending of your court positioning, try and keep a gap between your legs if facing the net. For instance, if stepping for a wide ball step out with the right foot, loading the leg and driving up through the leg.
If you need to step into the court you can step forwards into the court and there be no gap, so long as the left leg doesn’t step across the right. There are variations such as the walking/hopping crossover forehand used on short wide balls and return of serve.
As mentioned in the footwork, if you don’t turn the body, you don't get any swing on the ball or power in the shot. After the split step use the right foot to step open and turn the body out. From here move into position and hit the ball. There are different variations depending on which direction and how far you have to move but basically speaking turn the body as soon as possible.
Some cues to help turn the body include:
Pointing at the ball
Looking over your left shoulder
Point the butt of the racquet towards where you want to ball to go
Face the side fence (beginner)
If you're not hitting with any topspin chances are you have the wrong grip, incorrect swing or poor preparation. This can even result in backspin if you’re not careful. Topspin in when the ball spins forwards, putting more air pressure on top of the ball, making the ball dip into the court. This means you can clear the net by a safe distance but make sure the ball falls into the court before the baseline of the other side. It also allows the ball to jump up and forwards after the bounce.
Topspin if used well can increase your consistency hugely and it also allows you to control the pace of the ball.
For maximum topspin use a semi western or full western grip, although the eastern forehand grip can still generate a lot of spin. The simple principle remains come from below the balls contact point, brush up and over the ball, finish the follow through. Try to make the ball spin forwards.
Follow throughs can differ greatly among players. Just look at Nadal’s over the head compared to Andy Murray’s below the elbow follow through. The grip has a lot to do with the follow through, so does your court positioning as well as where your contact point is, where you want to ball to bounce and how much topspin you hit with.
For a beginner we generally teach ‘over the shoulder’. This gives a definitive point to finish to. However as swing get more advanced and players use different grips, follow throughs change. When using an eastern forehand grip, over the shoulder or between the shoulder and elbow is the general finishing point. With a semi western or full western grip finishing the swing over the head or between the the shoulder and elbow is the go.
If finishing over the shoulder, a good checkpoint it to ‘catch’ the racquet at the end of the swing. This ensures the body rotates and the left arm swing through as well.
When using a western variation your swing is more of a wave or windscreen wiper action as opposed to the closed off racquet head in the eastern grip.
So check your forehand next time you’re playing and see if you’re making any of these errors. They are pretty simple to correct with some time, coaching and repetition. Remember there is not 100% way of hitting the ball. Every player has their own idiosyncrasies and way of hitting. See what works best for you.
In this article we look at some exciting drills for hitting partners who do the same old stuff week in and week out. Give your game some direction, objectives and strategies!
Most intermediate tennis players I coach have a hitting partner they train with at least once a week. This gives them an opportunity to practice the technique or tactics we’ve been working on at that week’s tennis lesson.
Having a hitting partner is the most cost effective way of improving your tennis shots, for you and your partner as well.
In this first edition of quality drills for hitting partners we’re going back to the old saying KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. Some try to get too fancy too soon. If you can’t keep long rallies at simple angles, you need to work on that first. Some of the drills can be performed with a ball machine but I’ve written them out in a partner format.
Crosscourt is your bread and butter. To be able to stay in a match for more than 2 shots you need to have a solid crosscourt shot.
The benefits of a crosscourt ball are more length of court to hit to, you hit over the lowest part of the net and with the body naturally turns across the court. More importantly for the intermediate/advanced player is that you don’t have to recover as far as if you played a down the line ball. This will be explained further in our court positioning post coming soon.
The Tennis Drill:
Place a cone or drink bottle in opposite corners of the court about 1 metre in from the baseline and single lines. Simply try and hit the bottle on the other side of the court. You’re looking at rallying 20 balls in a row. The bounce should be in the vicinity on the bottle, or at least deep than the service line. A 20 ball rally is a benchmark you should aim for.
To add a competitive element to the drill play first to hit the others bottle over 5 times.
Rally 4 balls crosscourt then the point starts. Then rally 6 balls then play, then 8 etc. Aim for 20 ball rally then play the point. You can score if you want.
Tennis matches are won and lost on unforced errors, not winners as some like to play. Getting the ball in one more time, even as a lob or soft shot is better than hitting an all or nothing last ditch hit.
The Tennis Drill:
1 - Have one player covering doubles court and the other on singles as shown by the red rectangles. Same rules apply with strikes etc.
2 - Add rule if you win on a volley you can minus a point off the strike score.
This one is for the double players out there. Most weekly tennis competitions around these days have a doubles and single element and this is a great drill for teaching when to get to the net and play a strong volley under pressure.
Doubles tactic numero uno, get to the net. I see a lot of social doubles and too many people either hang back at the baseline or in ‘no man’s land’. Generally social payers start in the neutral doubles positioning of one person at the net and one on the baseline. From here any short ball that pulls you into the court or if you hit a strong enough ball to get the other players out of position, or give yourself enough time to get to the net, get to the net. If you have the option of hitting to a baseliner as opposed to a net player you should nearly always play to the baseliner.
The Tennis Drill:
Within tennis training there are an infinite number of drills and variations. These are just a few of many more to come. I hope you have enjoyed these drills and keep on the lookout for more to come.
If you have any questions please let me know in the comment section.
Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals are upon us again and I can't wait to watch the matches. This is the final chance really to watch the crème de la crème of men's tennis battle it out for supremacy.
This year the 8 players consist of Djokovic, Cilic, Wawrinka, Berdych, Federer, Raonic, Nishikori, Murray. They’re battling it out for tour points and a share of the 6.5 million dollars prize money.
The Singles winner will receive 1500 points to their tally; however with each round robin loss they lose 200 points off their score. The doubles Winners will receive the same number of points.
If a player can win the tournament undefeated the get 1.9 mil but to win but lose a round robin match the receive $910k. Double undefeated win $360k, winners $140k.
Federer holds the most wins with 6. Some other past winners include LLeyton Hewitt (2), Djokovic (3), Sampras (5), Becker (3), McEnroe (3), and Lendle (5) and Nastase (4).
The favourite is Djokovic coming in off some good wins and a strong lead in the overall points. Nadal had to pull out because he had to have surgery on his appendix. Wawrinka reached the semi-finals last year on his debut and is one to watch, if not only for his backhand. Kei Nishikori is the first Asian man to qualify for the Tour finals ever! Andy Murray is a 3 time semi-finalist, who knows he might take it one step further but He hasn’t been playing as well as before the back injury. Berdych has qualified for a 5th year in a row but hasn’t done all that well as yet. Roanic is the first Canadian to qualify for the finals and lastly Cilic is playing his first tour final. If he plays like he did in the US Open Final he could take it out I think.
Personally I’d love Kei Nishikori, Cilic or of course Federer to take it out this year!
Everyone likes a good selfie…
Saturday started out with ominous skies and moisture in the air but it all cleared up and we were set for a sunny day, I even got sunburnt!
After our obligatory 2 baskets of warm up serves and a short hit up the matches got under way. Unfortunately a few pulled out at the last minute with injuries and sickness so the groupings were changed a bit. Not to worry!
Using the usual round robin format we gave the kids 4-5 matches, some playing best of 6, others out of 8. The top 2 point scorers played a final and trophies given out. For lunch we had pizza hut! Liam ate about 8 slices.
In division 3 we had 3 first time junior tournament players. After they realised our tennis tournaments have a friendly atmosphere the relaxed into the game play and Ella was even a finalist. In the end Audrey defeated Ella 6-4 in a close one.
Division 2 saw Max hold onto his title of champion for another 3 months. He had to play Evan in the final and won 6-0.
For Division 1 we had most of the squad boys come down and battle it out for bragging rights ;). The round robin scores were so close with only a point or two between players. Dali held his title again defeating Josh 6-3.
As I mentioned in the last junior tournament blog post if is just great to see how much all the kids have improved. Playing twice per week, whether group lessons, private lessons or having a hit with the parents and friends the more you hit balls, the better!
I’m looking forward to the next tournament in February 2015. You can book through our website. http://www.fourseasonstennis.com.au/index.php/juniors/tournaments
And always the showman...
Last Sunday we ran the Adults Spring Tournament and the results are in, plus a few pics.
Winner Nicholas Perkins 6
Runner-up Frank Santonoceto 0
Winner Adrian Izurieta 6
Runner-up Tomas Masinda 4
Winner Stefanie Jolly 7
Runner-up Ash Pereira 6
Winner John Chan 6
Runner-up Teresa Gizzi 2
2014 Winter Junior Tournament
The results are in and it was a wonderful day! After the initial tournament date was a washout... again, we had the sun out and a great turnout. A few new faces participated over the divisions which was awsome to see.
Division 1 played it out on court 1. These matchs were so close and because of the round robin format we use it was hard to tell who would make it to the finals. It endedbeing Dali D. defeating Nathan A. 6-3 in the final. I can honestly say, as I did to the boys, it was the best tennis match I've seen from the juniors tournament ever. I really hope to see them play again!
For Division 2 we spread the matches over the other courts with two brackets. The top 2 point scorers played a semi-final with the winner playing the final against the other bracket. 3rd and 4th point scorers played out for their places respectivly. The results of the two semi-finals were Connor P. defeating Justin P. 6-3 and Max VB defeating Anita S. 6-3.
Adults Winter Tournament 2014
On Sunday we ran our quarterly adults tournament and it went brilliantly… apart from the wind. Across the 4 courts we had 4 divisions battling it out for the golden trophies. Delicious food was served by Tony including prawns, chicken, pork, beef and veggies.
Now for the results!
Frank S defeated Ulf
Dimitri defeated Jamie Lu
Funihiro defeated Ash P
Teresa defeatd Dean
Thanks to all those who played. It is always a great day of competitive tennis for all. We might try and get a video made of the next one.
Four Seasons Tennis Junior Tournament
What a wonderful day of tennis we had. There was a huge improvment from everyone who participated in the competition. Huge lengthy rallies were great to see and everyone really going for their shots. So many matches right down to the wire.
Everyone who attended were members of our junior tennis coaching school. It was great to see the kids putting the things they've learnt in the lessons into practice in a competitive setting. We had 2 divisions in the tournament, both very strong. The division 1 finalists were the same as last time!
Now for the results:
Zac B df. Evan P 6-0
Max VB df. Jonathan S 6-4
Again than you to everyone who participated in the tournament and we hope you can join us next time.
For details to book into the next tournament CLICK HERE
Congratulations to all our participants in the Autumn Adults Tennis Tournament.
With a big day of competition starting at 9am, 24 players battled it out in 4 divisions to make the finals. I huge BBQ was cooked up by Tony to keep the furnaces burning. Through the highs and lows our finalists for each division were:
1. DAVE ALLAN defeated JOHNNY CAMPOS
2. DAVID O'DRISCOLL defeated KAROL TARASIUK
3. MYAT MIN ZAW defeated ASHTON PEREIRA
4. CATHERINE NIEC defeated MARIAN LENTFER
The next tournament will be held on Sunday 29th June. To book check out http://www.fourseasonstennis.com.au/index.php/adults/tournaments