Do you want your warm up to be as unmissable as the rest of your lesson? Yes? Then you are in the right place! This week I’ve been at the LTA East Region forum presenting a brilliant range of service box warm-ups!
I think that warm-ups are one of the biggest missed opportunities in tennis. The warm up is part of the lesson, so you need to give it as much attention as the rest of the lesson. Use your warm-up to set your standards for the lesson and your programme and to reflect what you and your coaching are about!
I’ve split the warm-ups into segments focussing on movement, groundstrokes, net play and doubles.
Key things to remember when planning your warm up:
- Warm ups in a typical lesson are so often missed opportunities. The warm up is part of the lesson, so treat it as such.
- In the same way you wouldn’t want to miss the start of a film at the cinema, the warm up should also be unmissable
- Use it as a way to set your standards for the lesson and your programme. Your warm up reflects what you and your coaching are about!
- Use a ball in every warm up. It is guaranteed that your players can improve receiving skills!
- Adults are generally poor at controlling a ball in small space. Emphasise racket face and racket speed control.
- Don’t be afraid to teach or correct in the warm up. The alternative is to watch players do things badly over and over again!
- Warm ups aren’t just about movement. They are the time to focus on quality and effort and to get into ‘tennis mode’
- Use warms ups to teach positioning and doubles team work
- Have a purpose for every warm up. If you can’t see clear benefits, don’t do it
Section 1 – Movement
- Alternate groundstroke and volley –
- Both players start at the service line. One acts as feeder and the other as the approacher. Feeder feeds in and approacher plays alternate groundstroke and volleys. Switch roles regularly. For more advanced players, both players could simultaneously take the approacher role
- Half volley rally
- Both players start at the service line. Players attempt to rally playing every ball as a half volley
Section 2 – Groundstrokes
- 2 touch rally
- Both players start at the service line. Each player has a tap up hit then rallies the ball over the net
- Rally 2
- Both players start at the service line. Each player has a ball and both feed the ball in at the same time, and try maintain the rally with 2 balls at the same time for as long as possible
- Divide each service box into 4 using throw down lines. each player has to hit to a different quarter every time, practising angles, direction, depth and racket control
- Opposite spin
- Both players start at the service line. The feeder is the leader and starts the rally. The receiving player must play the opposite spin to the leader every time
Section 3 – Net play
- Angle volleys 3 positions
- Players volley to volley cross court
- Volley position 1 – centre of service box
- Volley position 2 – singles tramline
- Volley position 3 – doubles tramline
- Deep to close volleys
- Both players start at the service line. The feeder feeds the ball in and both players progressively move closer to the net with each volley until they can shake hands over the net whilst volleying
- Reaction volleys
- 3 players, 2 on one side of the net and one on the other side. One player starts at each service line and the third player starts in the middle of the service box. The closest player can elect to play or leave the volley to the player on the service line behind him
- Interception volleys (2 players)
- One at the service line playing groundstrokes, the other close to the net. The groundstrokes are fed to an angle so the volley has to move across towards the singles tram and the centre line to intercept
- Interception volleys (3 players)
- One at the service line playing groundstrokes, the other close to the net and the third behind the close net player. Groundstroke goes first to the deep player then into the space to the intercepting net player
- Players volley to volley cross court
Section 4 – Doubles
- Doubles positioning progressions
- 4 players in 2 pairs inside the service boxes, with each player holding the opposite end of the same racket. Purpose is to move laterally as a pair whilst holding the racket. Players play throw and catch using the spare hand to move opponents around as a pair
- As above playing the simple rally in the service boxes
- As above with one pair at the net and the other pair at the service line
- As above without holding rackets but maintaining distance as a pair, one pair at the net and the other pair at the service line
- As above with both pairs at the net volley to volley
- As above with one pair at the net and one pair at the baseline attempting to pass. No lobs!
- Touch tennis doubles
- Start with the ball on the net and play out the point. Bounces and the player catches on the racket, and the orange ball is the hand grenade and mustn’t bounce