Here are 4 aspects for the art of drills:
1. Drills are not meant to put the ball away but rather rally the ball. The speed and placement should be incorporated according to the skill level of your drill partners.
2. Work on a specific shot with the technique or mechanics. The partner should feed the ball like a ball machine so hitter has a controlled ball to hit.
3. Develop your placement so your partner would have a more difficult ball to attack. The reason that there are long rallies at the highest level is in part because of their accurate placement.
4. When you get a “pop up”, reset the ball by placement.
Note: There are drills when the intent is not to always reset the ball but practice putting the ball away. This is generally done when you have a basket of balls and not in a drill with one ball.
One on One Drills:
- Dinks straight ahead and cross court.
- Volleys. Both players are positioned at their NVZ line and rally Volleys.
- Drives vs. Volleys. One player at the baseline hitting Drives and one player at the NVZ line hitting Volleys. This is a classic “match up” of Drives vs. Volleys. The player back should direct their shots to the forehand or backhand sides of the Volleyer. The player hitting the Volleys should work on consistency and depth.
- Drops. One player up and one player back with back player hitting Third Shot Drops and the up player hitting the balls back deep.
- Three Shot Drill consisting of a Serve, Return of Serve, and a Third Shot varying between a Drive and a Drop. This is the most important drill as every point has these 3 shots and if you are able to get these 3 balls in play on each point, you will be a good player. The order of the 3 shots will have each player hitting the alternate shots on each set of shots. This is a great drill to do before you start a game. One player in the transition area, which is halfway between the baseline and the NVZ line, and the other player at their NVZ line. The player in the transition area is practicing these shot: Drives, Drops, Volleys, Half Volleys, and Drop Volleys.
By Gregg Whitfield