Here is a fun team drill to develop consistency, concentration, and performance
under pressure. I like to close practice with it on the day before a big
Divide your players into two teams. One team takes each end of the court.
Each team lines up behind their baseline. The player at the front of each
line is the "active" player for one shot. After hitting it, he or she
moves to the back of the line and is replaced by the next player. If a
shot goes out, the hitter sits down. The team with a player still standing
at the end wins.
As in many drills, to level the playing the playing field and generate
long rallies, you don't want to allow the "server" to take advantage of
their opportunity to take the first shot. (Otherwise, he or she would
make it an underhandedly cunning dink.) So the rally doesn't officially
begin till the ball crosses the net for the third time. You can alternate
serving sides as in volleyball, but that's not necessary, because there's
no advantage in getting to put the ball in play.
Play best-of-three or best-of-five point games.
Things get hairy as players scramble to get out of the way so the teammate
next in line can have a clear shot. Watching this provides no end of entertainment
for the coach and the players waiting in line. More importantly, it also
provides distraction to hone powers of focus on. Plus, I find that this
"pressure-is-fun" exercise helps put my team in the frame of mind I want
for a meet with an important rival.
Oh, by the way, the team that loses gets to run lines while the winners
sit and watch.
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