Successful doubles teams don’t wait to see what might happen, they make things happen. One of the best ways to do this is with an aggressive style of play -- controlling the net. This style of play doesn’t mean you have to hit hard to win, it simply means you must recognize and take the opportunity to attack the net and put pressure on your opponents. The more you do drills that require you to attack and control the net, the more confident you’ll become at the net -- and the more trophies you’ll win.
Practice charging the net and putting pressure on your opponents with the rush-and-crush drill. You will need four players for this drill. Pair up into two teams. Start with the teams standing on opposite baselines. You put the first ball in play with a ground stroke and immediately you and your partner rush to the net to play out the point. After the point is over, you and your partner return to the baseline. Your partner then starts the next point and again, you and your partner rush to the net to play out the point. Continue playing points, alternating the start of each point between you and your partner. After 10 points, have your opponents start the ball in play.
Improve your confidence in attacking and playing at the net with the no-bounce-doubles drill. Start with each team in the classic doubles formation -- one team member up near the net and the other team member at the baseline ready to serve or receive. Play a set of doubles with two exceptions: the serve is the only ball that can bounce and lobs are not allowed. You'll serve first with an overhead serve and immediately run toward the net. The receiver returns the serve and also runs to the net. With all four players at the net, play the point out -- remember, you can't let the ball bounce and you can't lob. When the point is over, players reposition themselves for the next point. Continue playing in this manner until the set is over.
Work on your transition game from the baseline to the net with the defensive-offensive drill. The goal is to move from a defensive to an offensive position when the ball lands short on your half of the court. The ball is considered short if it lands inside one of the service boxes. Each team starts on their baseline. You start the first point by hitting a ground stroke to your opponents. During the rally both teams must stay back until the ball lands short. When a team hits a short ball, the team whose side it landed on must hit an approach shot and move toward the net while the other team remains at the baseline. The point is played out, everyone returns to the baseline and your opponents start the next point. Alternate the start of each point between teams. Keep track of the points, and the first team to reach 10 wins.
- In addition to playing weekly practice matches, do net-attacking drills at least once each week.
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