Here is an exercise idea that I call “Silly Balls”, which is great for developing great ball tracking, quick reaction, and feel…
As a coach, I sometimes carry with me a basket containing mixed types of balls: some bouncy (new or old), some “dead” (that lost their inside air), some “spongy” (the oversized sponge ones for little kids), etc. This basket I take out on the court when I want to work with my students on quick reaction, footwork, and feel.
I feed those mixed balls to my student and challenge them to hit them all over the net. The benefit of this drill is that I make the player get out of their comfort zone by not having to deal with the same bounce and speed of the ball all the time. They also develop a quick first step reaction by having to adjust quickly to the bounce and depth of the different types of balls.
If you are a coach or parent of a tennis player, try doing this drill at times, but make sure they warm up very well beforehand.
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