Video Lessons

Video Lesson 1 - Forehands with Brett

Video Lesson 2 - Forehands Footwork with Brett (front view)

Video Lesson 3 - Forehands Footwork with Brett (back view)

Video Lesson 4 - Backhand Volleys with Brett

Training Tips

Drills and Warmup

Mini tennis with topspin...standing just behind the service line, a controlled rally with slow topspin 3 feet over the net, and landing before the service line.

This is just to warm up and get your timing. Even the pros do this every day before they start to hit harder.

The best part of this warm-up routine is that you are basically htting the same type spin and making it land as if you were hitting a short angle...

In other words, you are practicing the most effective, exact shot that will win a point the majority of the time.

..."Deep" landing balls keep you in the point, and may force some errors from your opponent.

..."Short" angles are usually outright winners, or at least set you up for an easy volley into an open court.

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Down the middle...from the baseline, getting a good long rally going.

No winners, this is to get some rhythm, and get the muscles and breathing going. You should be practicing your "rally ball", no winners at this point.

If your practice partner and you are both on the same page you should be able to keep the rally going for a long time, playing any and all balls that are within your reach, whether they are going in or out.

If you can make back balls that are going out or have landed out then any ball that is in will seem easy.

****Don't miss, and keep the rally going...

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Forehand and Backhand

Cross court forehand/ backhand...this allows you to now aim closer to the lines, but safe enough for match circumstances.

Keep the ball going, even on out balls and get a feeling how your aim is on that particular day. Some days you will have better aim than others, so that's why a good warm-up is essential.

After some good rallys are achieved in the cross court drills you can take turns changing the angle by hitting some up the line.

Down the line...Just like the cross court drill, you want to get a good rally going and practice hitting a few feet inside the singles line.

Play any out balls because there will surely be many with both players aiming near the line.

*****Once again, you are practicing for playing a match so take it seriously when you miss.

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"Aussie" Drill

With the player at the net, give them a mix of both volleys and lobs. Make each one as if it was an important point in a tough match.

By adding in the lobs you will be forced to back peddle for the overhead, then move forward and make some volleys from behind the service line while returning back to the net.

The same place you will be at the time of most first volleys. Most people don't practice volleys from around the service line, and refer to it as "NO-MAN'S LAND". It's only no-man's land if you don't practice from there.

This area of the court is where the pros look for balls out of the air or short balls to attack.

*****see the section on No-man's land

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"Spanish" Drill

The Spanish drill requires a partner at the net who can volley and keep the rally going.

There are no winners, only controlled "rally balls", back and forth and because one person is at the net, the player on the baseline will be forced to move twice as fast, which will get your footwork speed moving as fast as possibly.

The object here is to hit as many heavy topspin shots in a row as you can last. If you do the drill right you should need a rest after a few minutes.

If you can do this drill consistently you are on your way to the top!

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Swinging Volleys and Short Balls

Both, swinging topspin volleys and "easy" short balls are often overlooked and not practiced enough, so when the opportunity presents itself in a match situation, the player may not be ready and/ or confident to hit the shot like a pro would.

In both situations the best height to take the ball is above net level, preferably around shoulder height so that the ball is clearly over the net, taking the net out of play.

With a swinging volley, out of the air, the ball should be allowed to come to shoulder. If letting the ball bounce, then the ball should be allowed to come up to shoulder level, or just below.

Also, hitting an aggressive ball at shoulder height requires hitting a little down and across the ball, getting a "sidespin" so that it does not fly long.

Any balls that are net level or below can not be hit as aggressively and must be handled with some finesse and spin.

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Drop Shots and Lobs

A good drop shot or drop volley is a great play if executed at the correct time, which when you are inside the baseline or at the net, and when your opponent is out of court or too far back and can not easily cover a short ball.

When hit at the right time the dropshot does not even need to be perfect, it just has to stay low and not bounce up too high giving your opponent the time needed time to run it down.

*****If your opponent is too good from the baseline, you can bring them into the net with a well timed drop-shot.

Once your opponent plays the shot they will be getting closer to the net and will be vulnerable to the lob and a passing shot down the line.

Remember that passing cross court when someone is on top of the net is almost impossible, so know where your opponent is and the passing shot or lob won't have to be perfect...

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Topspin Lobs

A good topspin lob hit at the right time is deadly and can get over even the tallest of opponents.

The topspin lob must be hit after your opponent has moved in "on top" of the net, usually after their first volley.

The easiest way to set yourself up for a topspin lob is to hit a ball that gets low on our opponent at the net forcing them to pop up a volley while bringing them closer to the net.

Topsipn lobs are not an easy shot so they must be practiced a lot! Practice this shot!!! One way to think of hitting a topspin lob is to treat it as a heavy topspin groundstroke which will push your opponent back, being aggressive with your legs and accelerate under the ball.

This is a "finesse" shot, but you must be be aggressive and accelerate your swing, which requires an exaggerated low to high finish.

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Training Serves

The most important part of serving is getting the correct spin on the ball so that it can land short in the court, before the service line.

When hitting a fast serve this is even tougher.

If you notice, the pros hit first serves with more topspin than slice, and the second has even more topspin, or even a "kick", which is generated by tossing the ball in a different place.

When practicing serves concentrate on coming over the top of the ball instead of around it. This will make your serve have a different trajectory and at first you may miss into the net, but after a few you will figure out where you need aim to make it over the net and well inside the court.

Make sure that your toss is in front of the baseline, and between 11 and 1 o'clock.

One toss will give you more kick and more safety, slower serve but very consistent. 1st or 2nd serve.

The other toss will allow you to hit more slice. 1st serve.

****Learn both!!!

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Scouting Your Opponent

Knowing what to expect out of your opponent is a huge advantage. Keep your eyes open!!!

Do they have a BIG forehand?
Do they miss forehands?
Do they have a weak backhand?
Do they like to hit flat or with lots of topspin?
Do they serve and volley?
Do they stand on the baseline or way behind?
Do they hit flat or kick serves?
Do they stand to close to the net on volleys?
Do they have good volleys?
Do they play to a certain pattern?

Knowing all of these will help to have a plan for the start of the match then it's your job to adapt. See "match strategies" for countering these...

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Watching Your Opponent Practice

Any time you are watching anyone play, practice, or just hit the ball you should be taking mental notes on that player.

Even if you don't play them today, you may see them in the future and if you can start out the match attacking their weaknesses...or knowing their strengths.

Are they missing a particular shot?
Do they have trouble hitting a particular shot?
Is their serve consistent, and how do they hit it?
Are they slow or fast?
Do they have a bad attitude when they miss?
Do they have a good slice backhand?
Do they have good volleys?

Usually the errors you see on the practice court will also show up during a match...
However the winners you see on the practice court DON'T ALWAYS show up in a match situation...

Use all of this info to dissect your opponent!

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Scouting in the Match Warm Up

If you do not know your opponent before the match there are still many things you can pick up just in the warm-up.

Be sure that YOU have had a good warm up before the match so that you can pay attention to how your opponent hits the ball, moves, and any mistakes they make. Give them plenty of volleys and some tough overheads when they come in and see what they have problems with.

If they miss some easy volleys then you can hit the ball right to them with some topspin if they come in during the match and they will definitely have trouble.

After your serve feels good, hit a couple returns so you get used to their serve, and figure out where you will need to stand. If you don't see any good tips for yourself in the warm up, just play your game, and go with the flow, but keep your eyes open for the first few mistakes...

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Scouting during the Match

Once the match starts and the points start to mean something, nerves come into play and things can start to change quickly. Errors that were not there before may creep into someone's game and once they start you should be able to exploit those weaknesses. Someone may make terrible decisions on the "big points". So even if you are down just hang in there!

Also, your opponent will probably try their favorite shots and patterns on the "big points", so BE ALERT and anticipate them. Remember to "play tennis like chess", thinking a move ahead and also countering any of their moves. Keep your eyes open during the match for "clues" on how to beat your opponent.

Do your best to keep the match within reach if you are losing... and play one point at a time if you are winning...

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