In the first video Gregg explained that winning tennis matches is all about playing percentage tennis and he also showed you with data that that’s exactly what the best players in the world do and the second video Gregg introduced the simple red, yellow, green traffic light system that guides you in making the right decisions depending on where you are on the court. We also took a closer look at the red zone and the kinds of mistakes that players typically make from the red zone. If you haven’t watched those two videos yet please watch those first because these videos do build upon each other. It’s one thing being able to understand these tactics in the classroom and another thing going out executing it. Now just like you may have technical flaws or habits in your game…it’s hard to break those habits! So in tactics you also have to break old habits if you are making some tactical errors. So it’s so important that you go and work on these drills, work on the situation so when you find yourself in certain positions in a match you’ve trained it and it’s almost an automatic switch, when the ball lands here I’m positioned in this position and based on that position this is my target. You don’t second guess you just go for the target! Now the footwork for playing a defensive ball from the defensive area of the red zone. So if the ball lands in this area over here. (like this quarter circle) Then you’re gonna have to go back and how you go back is you want to take ‘cross-over steps’. You want to cross over going back! Now if the balls up high, you want to load up on your back leg and you’re going to play off that back leg. The key here is you want your body weight going upwards! A lot of people make the mistake of falling backwards and end up missing the shot. So you want to cross over, you want to drive up!… See how this leg comes up and then you gonna fall and then you can recover back to your recovery position. Let’s take a look at it again. So the balls in that quarter circle in the corner. You cross over, you cross over, you load up! If the balls up high you drive up on this leg… this left leg goes up and then you land and you recover back to this position. Now you do the same thing but if the ball is dropping and its lower, try to get your weight forward where you can play the ball from this position. So you have the 2 options! A low ball you’ll play like this. If the balls up higher you’ll play with your back leg and you want to make sure you transition your weight upwards and not back! So what you want to do is you want to do a couple of shadows swings. So I’m going to show you how to do it. We’ll shadow swing it and you cross over, cross over, load! Drive up! Land on that leg and split step! Again cross over, cross over, cross over, load! Drive up! Land on this leg, come back…split! Then you want to practice it when the ball is low and you can get onto the front foot. So you’re gonna split, you’re going to crossover, crossover, get the weight forward…hit! And then come back…split! Again cross over, cross over, load! Get the weight transfer forward, hit! then come back and split! You want practice those shadows things over and over before we go onto the hand feed. Now let’s take a look at a drill using the defensive footwork. You want to defend high and deep. The idea is when the ball is in flight, you’re going high and deep to buy time. You are recovering so when the ball is bouncing on the other side, ideally you want to be split stepping in the recovery position. So Nadim is going to start with shadows swings. He’s going to take crossover steps going back and load on that back leg! He’s driving upwards not backwards. Crossing over. If he does have time he can get back and then transfer the weight forward! Now let’s take a look at this in action. We will start with a hand toss first! I’m gonna try to toss the ball to that outer corner right there where he’s forced to move diagonally back, but now we have a target area! So he’s in a defensive area. He’s going high and deep cross-court to zone 3. I’m tossing the ball over here and he’s working on recovering, making sure he is here when the balls bouncing. So i’ll toss it a little bit tougher here. He wants to get back quickly! We want to take crossover steps going back. One point to highlight when you do this drill, if I’m hand feeding the ball, very often i may feed the ball long and it’s actually going to be out so that way i’m actually pushing the student where they can feel the have to go back! So I’m going to feed it so the ball is actually going to land close to the line or even land out! Don’t pay attention to that part. The whole idea is you want to get the feeling of being pushed back! Crossing over, loading up on the back legs. Let’s take a look. Now the feed is actually pushing Nadim back and forcing him to do this! This is more difficult to show the hand toss… hence why the ball may go out but ideally we want to get him to work on that footwork. Now we’re going to put this together in a feeding drill. The first progression all i’m going to do is feed deep balls to Nadim where he is either going to play a defensive shot or neutral shot high and deep cross court. Now i am positioned right here to give him more of a true angle so when he’s playing the point this is going to represent an angle. If i stood over here this wouldn’t really represent how he would play. I’m going to feed I’m pushing him back. High and deep! He’s just working it over and over with the feed. So you can play neutral or you can be in a defensive position. So you want to practice that over and over!

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Dennis Veasley

5 thoughts on “Singles Strategy: Smart Defense”

  1. I'm sorry๐Ÿคฃ i thought that was that fellow zverev ๐Ÿ˜† but great video thumbs up ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  2. nice tips i have been practicing them for quite some time and a as a result game has improved a lot and my unforced errors have reduced too. thanks

  3. Thanx for your coaching I want to up my game but knew I needed coaching but didn't know how it could be done.

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