Two players stand about 6 feet back from the net in the self of the
service court on one side. One player will stand in their ad court and
the other in the deuce court facing each other. One begins a rally but
each player has three objectives they want to focus on. First, each must
hit the ball with the minimum energy required to get it back over the
net, two, each must watch the ball hit their racquet and loosen their
grip to feel the ball strike the racquet and come off and lastly, they
must hit the ball so it will land in the other persons service court.
Lobs are not allowed. Both players may rally or volley to get the ball
back. This works on focus, touch and placement.
Continue practicing to get to 10, 15 and more hits. When both players
have mastered 20 or more hits and are getting bored, add this variation:
one player becomes the aggressor and begins to slowly add pace to the
ball and the other defends continually using drop shots or minimum energy
to get the ball over the net. The aggressor should be slowly adding more
and more pace but remembering to always target the service box. The defender
must absorb the energy or executes drop shots, slices or lots of spin
to just barely get the ball back. They should continue volleying or rallying
until someone makes an error and then start over. Next rally, have the
players switch aggressor / defender roles, but each should continue to
work on focus, touch and placement.
Try playing with the deuce courts for a while, and then switch to practicing
with the ad service boxes. To make it interesting, defend both your service
box and your doubles lane behind you when practicing cross court.
Next, have both players step back to the service line and play aggressor
/ defender roles using identical, different or both service boxes for
a real work out. One player will play defense and the other playing aggressor
This exercise will give one a lot of focus returning powerful serves.
When a player learns to watch the ball hit their racquet on a powerful
return or serve, it really opens up the game and develops confidence.
Dan L. Salinas