Practice 9


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[Practice 1] [Practice 2] [Practice 3] [Practice 4] [Practice 5][Practice 6] [Practice 7] [Practice 8] [Practice 9]
 

Practice 9 - Alternate Drive/Crosscourt & Boast
 
This exercise is one of the drive-and-boast set that are easy to practice at most levels. Ten minutes on one of these before each match will make a considerable difference to your standard and be a fine warm-up. So far we have looked at Boast and Drive (Practice 3), Volley Boast and Drive (4) and Crosscourt and Boast (8). In essence Practice 9 combines Practices 3 and 8 and provides a useful variation.
 
In the front court player A straight drives, B in the backcourt boasts and A frontcourt crosscourts. It is surprising how quickly the drives and crosscourts perfected in Practices 3 and 8 can deteriorate when suddenly there are two shots to play. The purpose in the end is that your practice will benefit you in match situations. Static coaching, static practice and predictable practice have their place but in a match shots need to be played with movement, under pressure and with variation.
 
Practice 9 should improve the accuracy of both straight drives and crosscourts and also your ability to vary your play. In a match, if you crossourt off every boast, your opponent will start to predict it and look for opportunities to intercept. You will therefore want to vary the response to a boast lob when necessary, straight or crosscourt drive, drop when you have the opportunity. You may set up a pattern (perhaps crosscourting) and then when you feel the opportunity is right, strike with a dying length straight drive.
Practice setting up your shots to allow you to hit either a straight or a crossourt drive (some of the time at least) in other words to disguise your shots. Keep your target areas as in Practices 3 and 8. Set up early, push back towards the short line so that you are practicing moving and setting up your shot each time, even if your practice partner is hitting back to the same corner.
 
Player B in the backcourt should practice stepping out of each shot towards the T on the follow-through, and walk or trot to a position astride the half-court line (and above the imaginary line that would join the back of the service boxes).
 
Variations that can be added to this practice:
1. Player A can play random straight and crosscourt shots.
2. Player B can look for the straight volley interception, off alternate or random drives, and then boast the ball back after one or two bounces.
3. Player B may be allowed to boast below the service line, volley boast, or in some cases volley drop, which would make A watch carefully.
4. Condition Games can be made up by defining target areas: for example, drives having to land in the area behind the service box, or crosscourts having to hit the side wall on the full.
 

1. Player B boasts,
2. Player A straight drives,
3. Player B boasts,
4. Player A crosscourts,
5. Player B boasts,
6. Player A straight drives, etc.
 

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