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Joe Dinoffer addresses the issue of teaching recovery to beginning tennis players.
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Now, let's move to another huge ingredient of successful tennis, specifically the issue of recovery. Unfortunately we have all made the following mistake. You hit what you consider to be a pretty good shot, in fact it feels so good you want to stand there and admire it a bit. But, bang, all of a sudden, your opponent, not only gets to your shot, but hits it back for a winner. In fact, at recreational levels, this problem is so prevalent; it often means the difference between winning or losing.
The next exercise we will share is a simple, down the line, groundstroke drill with one notable twist. Now, keep in mind that it would also work well cross court with the players forced to recover back towards the middle. Let's take a look.
This exercise is to combat the bad habit people have of hitting and watching. Holly, if I was rallying with you, I can't -- and I watch my shot, and I just kind of stand flatfooted, not very ideal, right? But rather if after every shot I just step into bar -- Donna, which you do also, and then get both feet behind the baseline, now it forces me to move. We will be doing a lot of things like this to force movement by the very rules of the drill.
Here we go. Are you ready? Now I have to get my foot in there, and then back, and then to hit, and in and back, to hit, and in and back, to hit, and in and back, to hit. Great! Let's have all of you try it. Well demonstrated Holly.
Step in Cliff. Back, in, back, in Cliff, back. You feel yourself down and ready and moving. So if you have got problems; remember those coaches in New England, they complained about having to repeat over and over again to their students, we really need you to move more. So if you have got problems with your students where you want them to move more, some of these ideas will help dramatically, dramatically.
I am sure you noticed that towards the end of that last exercise I reminded the hitters about their playing height. It's important to note that all of the elements covered in this tape need to be integrated into a person's game for a player to reach his or her potential. Now let's take a look at how to make this last exercise even more challenging.
Now, obviously you can move this further in. Let's say that you have got one stronger player; like Mark is a young guy, super fit, we will leave you where you are. We will say Mark, you have got to step all the way up in here, and you have got the same position. Ready? We will leave you guys alone to watch. Step in, backup. Now you made a mistake because you didn't know how to do it. Hit, get in, in, get in Mark. This would be more cooperative, let's see if you guys can get five in a row. Ready? Here's the ball. Mark, ready? One, two, five in a row, in the court, three, four, and five. Good shot!
Again, I find it interesting that through guiding the player's movement we were able to accomplish a great deal more than simply by reminding them through verbal instructions.
Next let's take a look at another way to accomplish the same thing by having the students run around a cone in between shots.
Okay. The other option is to do the same drill and circle around the cone with both feet. Go ahead, circle around the cone, back behind the baseline, and then hit.
You just saw the players hitting and running around the cones, which got them accustomed to recovering or moving after every shot was hit. The only problem is that in order to accomplish the drill these players started hitting below their actual playing level. They were in a fact making it easier on themselves than they should have, but in so doing it became terribly unrealistic.
In this next segment you will see that I got them to hit at their actual playing ability, making the exercise much more realistic and therefore useful and effective. Take a look; it's very important to hit at a realistic speed during drills and not to fall into the trap of babying the ball just to get the drill done.
Let's hit a little more powerfully. That's it. Now they are starting to drive the ball. Both feet behind the baseline Holly after the hit.
Remember that all of these exercises are designed with one goal in mind, to get players moving more than normal. But don't forget that after each exercise is performed it's critical to ask the players if they felt the movement. Then without the donuts, the cones, or whatever you are using, have them perform the same exercise and maintain the same level of movement and recovery.