Hitting the ball early is important to get control and speed up the game. Here are our tips on how to do it right.
There are three phases during which you can make contact with the ball:
Warm-up: Two players set up on either side of the net and throw the ball to each other. They have to catch the ball as it rises.
Level up: Play a match in the service boxes.
The coach sends balls on the forehand side, then the backhand side, to the player. The player has to hit the ball on the rise.
Objective: move towards the bounce point and take small steps to get into the proper position (behind and to the side of the ball).
Be sure not to hit it when it has stopped moving. The ball should be hit while it's on the rise, between the player's knees and head, and never above the head.
The player scores a point if they hit it on the rise.
Partner: Player 1 should play as the ball falls and return a drop shot.
Player 2 should hit the ball on the rise.
Objective on technique: take small steps to get into position, moving towards the bounce point.
Player 2 shouldn't move back more than 1 m behind the baseline.
Don't hit the ball just after the bounce - the player should let the ball rise until it reaches at least knee height.
Swap player positions every 5 balls.
Level up: Do the same drill but set up on the diagonal.
The players play the point in the centre of the court. When one of the players has a good shot, they should hit early and open the point to the full court.
Level up: Play on the diagonal and open the point as soon as a good shot comes up.
Play to 10 points.
Freestyle play to 10 points.
The player must have both feet in the court to score a point.
If they have both feet in the service box, they score two points.
Note: not every ball can be hit early. The players have to use their judgement on what makes a "good shot".