This is simply the best
groundstroke drill I've ever used. I learned it from a great college
coach about 8 years ago, and it has helped me correct many different
problems: footwork, racquet prep, height and speed, and it helps
a player increase depth. However, prepare to get pegged when your
player tires - I have the bruises to show for it.
Player stands just behind
the baseline at the center hashmark. You kneel about 6 feet in
front, off to the side with a 60-ball hopper. Toss low balls to
the player: your toss should be less than two feet high, and dead
balls work best. Player shuffles, catches ball on the rise and
shuffles back to the hashmark. Repeat until the hopper is empty,
varying placement from standard feed, to wide, to at the body.
As the player tires, it's important to remind her to get her racquet
back early, bend her knees, and to keep her back straight.
Surprisingly, my players
love this drill - it's exhausting for them, especially on the
backhand side, which requires more steps. Only once in 8 years
has a player hit all 60 balls in. She went on to play #1 at a