I am extremely grateful to see more and more tennis parents and coaches reaching out to me for advice based on my playing and teaching experience.
This time I’d like to bring to your attention the question a tennis coach was recently asking: how to run his tennis classes so that the kids/students do not have to wait in line for too long?…
Waiting in line is not only boring but it is disruptive to the rest of the players especially when those who wait begin chatting and the coach’s instructions are not being heard by the other players.
Following are some of my tips that I have used in my classes to keep all my students happy and getting the best of my instruction:
1. A coach should never accept more than 6 players on the court (unless you are conducting a cardio tennis class where the coach feeds more and teaches less).
2. While some players (first in line) hit the balls that the coach feeds, the others in line should shadow the first player or do some tennis related exercises (ladder, cones etc.) – make sure your students are aware of proper spacing so that no one is hurt.
3. A coach should line up the players (if there are more than three) in two lines and learn to double-feed (two balls in the air at the same time) so that two players (one from each line) practice their strokes at the same time.
4. Choose games that involve players as much as possible: 2-3 points before rotating and bringing new players on the court. The ones waiting can be put through some drills (cones, ladders etc.) or have them act as ball boys/girls for the ones who play.
Feel free to send me your suggestions if you have some more tips in regard to keeping the class going and getting everyone involved.
For many, the second serve is the shot that should just go into the proper service box and begin the point. But not for me and my students… To exemplify this I would like you to consider the following: You just missed that first serve and now you are about to get ready for the second one. How do you feel? If you are like most of the players then your first concern would be to get it in to deprive your opponent of a free point. But if you are ready to push it a little further than this and dare to be proactive, the second serve is really about two main aspects:
1. Get the ball in to start the point. 2. Deliver the second serve in a manner that makes it hard for your opponent to attack you.
Now how do we make the second serve hard to attack? Spin and Depth! You thought I was going to say – hit it hard!? 🙂
Yes, spin that ball! Don’t just push it in, spin it! And spin it hard! Consider the following: a ball hit against a wall, flat, straight on, will come back in the same direction (more or less) from where it came; whereas a ball with spin will be carried in the direction the spin dictates.
The spin you impart on your second serve will make it more difficult for the returner to control and attack your served ball. This associated with a deep placement into the service box will give you the perfect combination to get you on a good start for the rally. Now, if you add to the spin and depth the placement to your opponent’s weak side then that’s what I call the ultimate second serve. But I know that that would be pushing the envelope too far for most of the players who read this article.
So, I’ll leave you with this thought: should you spend more time on developing a good slice or topspin second serve?