Ten-Point Plan to Rallying Success

By Larry Hodges

With some coaching and practice, most beginners find it relatively simple to hit forehand-to-forehand or backhand-to-backhand drives. But they find it difficult to reproduce these shots in a game situation.

In a game situation, there is the degree of uncertainty as to where the ball is going, the necessity of moving to the ball before hitting it, and the difficulty in going from the serve or receive into a topspin rally. So how can a beginner go about incorporating his drive strokes into a game situation? Below is a ten-step plan for doing so. Follow it, step by step, and watch how fast you improve! 

Do each step in order for as many practice sessions as it takes to feel comfortable at it. It's okay to do more than one step in a given session, if you feel comfortable at it – but don't go through the steps too fast, or you won't be very comfortable in the latter steps and won't improve as fast. Start out each drill slowly, aiming for consistency, and build up speed to a medium speed rally. Then go on to the next step.

In all drills – except step ten – return all shots to the same spot so your opponent can block or counterdrive consistently. This includes the serves and receives in steps seven through nine. If you can't return the ball to the same general area consistently, you aren't ready to go to the next step yet!

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