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Finishing skills vital to improve confidence for success

Tennis player Hannah Briones
Tennis player Hannah Briones

A LITTLE ABOUT HANNAH BRIONES

Age: 15. School: Ipswich Girls' Grammar.

How long playing tennis: Since year 8.

Favourite food: Anything Italian. Pizza or pasta are my favourite.

Favourite player: Roger Federer. He's always a nice player on and off the court and he's got the most grand slams.

Favourite sport outside tennis? Swimming.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Going to university. Tennis will be part of that.

Favourite subject in school? Chemistry. I really like science.

 

THE PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: After watching Hannah play the Met West teams' event, it was clear she was extremely great at staying in the point and rallying, even defending was great. However when she started to take control of each point she had trouble finishing off the points.

Every time she would get into a winning position she was uncomfortable in this area of the point and unclear where or what to do from that moment.

This resulted in Hannah winning many points from her opponents missing and making mistakes or unforced errors. When Hannah was put in a position of strength where she just had to finish off the point she didn't win many from there.

This is really common and when spotted needs to be address as soon as possible.

For Hannah to perform at her best, she will need to be able to finish points off. The drill puts Hannah in the exact position I saw her getting to and hesitating in her matches.

After much practice when Hannah is back in matches she will feel relaxed about getting into this position as she will know exactly which shots to execute. Confidence in this area comes from understanding, knowing and practice.

 

THE DRILLS: In this drill, I will set up two markers both on my side of the court. About 1.5 metres from each singles sideline and about one metre from the baseline. The player will stand at the centre mark just beyond the baseline.

Now we are ready to go.

The coach feeds a ball that floats and is a little high bouncing on the service line to the player's forehand corner. The player has to move quickly up to the ball and hit the ball at 100% intensity down the line and continue to move forward after hitting the attacking forehand to the net area. At this time the coach or feeder will move out to where the down the line marker is similar to if a player was returning it. Then feed the next ball.

The player has to take this ball early above the height of the net and volley it cross court into the gap. This would be a winner in a real live point. Then repeat.

The feeder should vary the first feed a little but to start with stick to the players most dominant shot. Make sure the feeder does vary the second feed consistently. In matches this will be an important shot to secure the point.

Tip: Make sure the player hits the first shot at 100% intensity then closes into the net as quickly as possible.

 

SUMMARY: Many players practice rallying without thinking of how they are going to actually win the point. Using this drill will help players instinctively attack the floating ball and rush the net to quickly steal the point. This will force opponents to hit better balls more regularly and usually start to make more mistakes and give away more points.

 

VIDEO: See how to use this drill at: https://youtu.be/ b3eBB1g5KoM

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