By Danny Tarpley, Owner, Tarpley Tennis
As you improve and advance in the game of tennis, you will need to add the ability to hit topspin angles to open up the court in both singles and doubles. A good drill to add this to your repertoire is to practice your returns using the cross-court alley as your target. By doing this in doubles, you will nullify the net person’s ability to be a force in the point. And if they try to move over to cover the middle and try to poach, this will allow you the opportunity to keep them honest by going up the line or by hitting an offensive lob over their backhand side.
Components of the Doubles Drill
1. Both your practice partner and you stand at the service line inside the singles court next to the double’s alley opposite of each other.
2. Start by hitting shots with an arch like that of a rainbow to each other using the alley as your target.
3. To get this effect, you have no choice but to hit underneath the ball and as early in front of your body as possible. By doing this, you will be working on your racquet head speed coming low to high quickly with your follow-through toward your target area.
4. The harder you hit the balls back and forth, the faster your racquet speed will need to be to keep the ball in.
5. The better you get, the closer you can move toward the net on each side.
6. Once you do this for your forehand side, switch sides and do the same on your backhand side.
7. This is a great addition to your service return and you will see its advantages immediately in match play once you have mastered this shot.
The Bryan brothers used to do this drill on a regular basis and could hit full ground strokes at full speed from about two feet from the net.
Components of the Singles Drill
1. Put targets about two feet from the singles sideline and service line on both sides of the court.
2. Feed your practice partner a short ball at the service T and practice hitting sharp angles at your targets.
3. Mastering this shot has huge implications in match play as you advance in the 4.0+ skill level.