This simple speed & reactions baseline drill mirrors the skills needed to reach a drop shot from the baseline and control the ball for a short return. The drill builds speed, ball/racket control and reaction time – whilst offering variations to increase and decrease the difficulty and mirror different on-court scenarios. You’ll need four players to run this drill.
Speed & reactions baseline drill – Variation 1
To begin with, players can do the basic speed & reactions baseline drill; one player feeds a short ball and the receiving player must return the ball just back over the net for the feeder to catch. After feeding the ball the player should sit down and catch the return in their dominant hand. Having the feeder catch the ball serves two purposes, it:
- Increases the difficulty for the hitter because they must have enough control over the ball to return it to where the seated player can catch it
- Keeps the player feeding the ball moving and building hand-eye coordination.
It’s a challenge to master the ability to run at full speed towards a short ball, like a drop shot, and control the ball when you get there. So, this drill is building the skill to run very quickly towards a ball and hit a simple short ball straight back over the net. Players must focus on getting a good athletic start when they run towards the ball.
Speed & reactions baseline drill – Variation 2
In the second variation, you can increase the difficulty of the activity and mirror different match situations by having the players return the ball cross court. Again, the player feeding the ball should sit down after feeding the ball. We demonstrate three different options to keep players challenged:
- A – The players feeding the ball must catch the return with their dominant hand.
- B – The players feeding the ball must catch the return with their non-dominant hand.
- C – The players feeding the ball must tell the approaching player if they’ve got to hit a forehand or backhand.
As with variation 1, this variation is helping players to focus on getting a good athletic start when they run to the ball. By changing the drill to cross-court players are again focussing on controlling the ball and the alternate drill options (A, B and C) are increasing reactivity – which is replicates the need to adjust your shot depending upon what your opponent does.
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