A LITTLE ABOUT LOUIS BAKER
Years playing tennis? This is my 12th year.
How many hours a week do you train? 18-20 hours, 15 hours on court and five hours off it.
Where do you see yourself in five years? At the pro level, finishing college in the States.
Your favourite food? Rice. I eat it every day.
What's your biggest strength in tennis? My serve. It's the shot I use to help me win most points.
You're wearing a colourful outfit Louis. Is that your favourite brand? My favourite brand is Letourtennis.com or Letour.
Why do you like them so much? I can really express myself on the tennis court. Letour has nice vibrant colours so you can stand out.
Your favourite tennis player? It would definitely have to be Del Potro.
THE PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: Louis has trouble at time hitting consistently into the open court. If he cannot hit into the open court his opponents will consistently stay in control of all rallies, making it very hard for Louis to win points going longer then three shots. This has not hurt Louis as much as it does other players only because he has such a great serve. Many of his service points he tries to win with a big serve and a winner.
Many players cannot hit into the open court consistently without even realizing it. Too many players play tennis up the middle of the court and learn just to hit deep ball after deep ball.
We have to remember how big the court is, where the dimensions are, and don't forget we have room at the front of the court and to the sides of the court.
I see many players in training just practising ripping deep balls cross court and deep balls down the line. They forget to practise the other areas.
What about short angles? What about drop shots? Make sure you're not turning into a one dimensional tennis player.
THE DRILL: Here's a really easy drill that anyone - including, parents, coaches, and players - can use to learn how to hit into the different areas in the court every time consistently.
You just need four markers. If you have two players, you need eight markers. If you have one player, you just need four markers.
This is an example with a coach and one player.
The coach feeds a ball from the middle of the court on the baseline to the corner on forehand side. The player must hit cross court to one of two markers, either short and wide on the service line about one metre from the singles line where one marker is placed or deep into the corner about one metre in from the baseline and one metre in from the singles line. It is important not to put markers too close to the lines.
Great players understand that you should never aim for the lines in drills or matches. The coach repeats the feed varying the speed and height of each feed to ensure the player is getting used to some decision making about when is it easiest to go to which marker.
Tip: Ensure player attempts to move back to centre of tennis court until the coach feeds the next ball. After five minutes, swap to the backhand corner and repeat.
SUMMARY: This drill, when done correctly with repetition, will ensure the player firstly has the knowledge of all options and secondly has the skill to hit into all areas of the court depending on where the opponent is standing.