9 - Alternate Drive/Crosscourt & Boast
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.