Summer Paddle - A Great Time for Creativity and Practice

June 29, 2022
Coaches Corner

  Anton B headshot-100 By Anton Bobytskyi - Director of Tennis & Racquet Sports at Brooklawn Country Club, in Fairfield, Connecticut. He has been nationally ranked as high as 12th.

Undoubtedly, summer weather affects the game tremendously so it is important to take advantage of this. There are a few technical and tactical adjustments to consider when practicing in the summer to become a more successful player in the winter.

SERVE
For players who have a serve that is often taken off the screen in the winter time, try something different. Consider a different toss and speed for the serve. A lower toss that goes further into the court could be a great solution. If the serve stays low, the returner’s contact point will be lower, which will make the first volley much easier. In the warm weather serve and stay back or two back are good strategies, with returns of serve becoming more aggressive and accurate.

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RETURN
In the warmer weather, the ball travels faster and a returner’s adjustment time is very short. This is a great opportunity to practice an “off the deck” return. It is hard to do but helps improve reaction time and forward movement. Another option is to drive the return off of the wire. It is worth it to go for low-percentage shots when it doesn’t really count.

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VOLLEY
Higher ball speed and shorter reaction time make volleys tougher in the warm weather. The ball jumps further off of the paddle. These challenges should be turned into practice points during summer paddle. Soften your hands and absorb the power of the hard drives. Also work on reflex volleys since there is much less time to adjust the paddle on volleys.

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LOB
It is important to control the height and depth of lobs no matter the weather. In warm temperatures, the ball comes off the paddle firmer and lobs go deeper than usual. This is a great time to work on the height and direction of lobs. Practice making each lob LED-light high and keep lobbing this height as the summer progresses. Once you consistently hit that height, start experimenting with the direction, down the line or cross-court, depending on how the point is progressing.

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Every paddle player has something to work on. Summer is a great time to practice new shots, strategies, and movements. There is plenty of room for creativity as the game keeps evolving. Talk with your partner and teammates in the beginning of the summer and come up with a list of things to practice. Enjoy the challenge of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new for the upcoming season.

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