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Help me stop running through shots!

Published: 24 Jan 2007 - 02:35 by TheRealDan

Updated: 29 Jan 2007 - 08:04

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I'm really bad about "running through shots".  On shots in the back corners, down the rail, etc. I run all the way, frequently into the wall, trying to make the shot.

I believe I need to stay on the "grass" and stretch for those shots, but I don't know how to break my pattern.

Can anyone suggest any solo drills to help me?



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From missing_poster35 - 29 Jan 2007 - 08:04

Something you might find useful is to mark out an inner court that only your back foot can't go past. This has numerous advantages over marking out a line that your front foot can't step over. The main one being that you slow down as you approach the line, wait for the ball and then step in to strike the ball. It also makes the court incredibly small and with constant practise drills and practise games using this inner court you quickly reailse how small an area you actually have to move around to cover the whole court.  Good Luck.

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From Adz - 24 Jan 2007 - 22:09

What Rippa just described is what I call the "Box Game". You mark out a large box (almost a square) in the middle of the court (back corners are corners of service boxes and front corners are their mirror image through the half court line). You can ONLY go for a winning shot when stood inside the box, otherwise you have to play the ball to a tight length. One player plays box and the other plays anything they like. This really works in tightening up your game and learning to play recovery shots when out of position, but it won't help with your over-running problem, but by varying it slightly we can try to come up with some ideas:

Using the box as an example, try moving to the extremes of the box as fast as you can. Corners to corners, sides to sides. Return backwards from each point and turn as you pass the middle of the box to face the direction of the next box edge/corner that you are aiming for. Get someone to number the sides and corners and call out a sequence for you to follow, or number them yourself and follow a number pattern - Odds, evens, primes, two up/one down etc.

Another idea would be to get yourself a set of floor markers or cones (the type they use to practise football dribbling with. Space these out on the court so that you can just touch them with your racquet at full stretch after one step and one lunge away from the T (now this depends on how tall you are and how far you can reach/lunge). At 6ft I can reach a fair way with this one, but get your routine set up so that you have to step - lunge and touch the cone. Recover back to the T and then step-> lunge to the next target. Work at this and get as fast as you can at it. WARNING: Make sure that you are warmed up fully before doing this or you will pull a hamstring or injury your quad (and that's from experience!).

The only other reason that I can think of that you'll over-run is that you must be misjudging the distance to the ball. Do you often hit the racquet hard on the side walls? Perhaps you could do with trying to keep the ball under control whilst doing a half split position? Get yourself into a shot position with your legs spread as far as you can (like you're at full stretch trying to reach a low shot). Play the ball onto the wall and keep control without moving your feet. Too easy? Stretch your feet further apart and move further away from the wall. Still too easy? Increase the power until you are striking the ball as hard as you can. If this is still too easy then you must be a pretty good shot player!

Other recommendations:

1) Watch the pros - the professionals tend to hover around the middle of the court. Watch how they move and try to mimic it. But remember that they've been playing for years and have already perfected their movement. You're just starting off and might want to take you time to get it right. Perfection over pace is the key to start out!

2) Get a good movement coach - Find the best player in your club in terms of movement (note that this might not be the best player overall!), and ask him (or her!) to take you through some basic movement ideas. How do they move? How do they balance? When do their feet stop and their swing start on each shot? Where is their racquet when moving to the ball? A good movement player should be able to give you some tips, but they might find it difficult to explain something that comes naturally to them. Have patience and ask as many questions as you can and try to get some examples by watching them play.

3) Stretch and muscle build regularly - Using a lunge in your movement puts a huge amount of strain on the quads, hamstrings and upper calves. If you haven't got the strength and the flexibility then you're going to injur yourself if you push too hard. Build up the leg muscles bit by bit through squats and ghost lunges and remember to stretch your legs before each match.

If I think of anything else I'll let you know!


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From rippa rit - 24 Jan 2007 - 08:16

One more thing - when you do the ghosting training, and the routines, mark out an "inner court" which is basically a line drawn down the side of each service box, and about 1.5 racket lengths from the back and front walls.  Try to keep your movement within this court.
Also, concentrate on getting to the hitting zone quickly, WAIT, hit.

Wow - so how did all this work for you?  Take it a bit at a time 'cos it might take you ages to get it right.

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From raystrach - 24 Jan 2007 - 07:07

hi realdan

the best solo drill is a ghosting drill just type in ghosting into search and you will get heaps of resources for this.

any other 2 or three person drill are also very good as you can control the pace of the drill to ensure that you do not run through the ball.

this is very much tied in with returning to the centre of the court after each shot. it might be useful that, in practice, as you approach the ball,  you have your return to the "T" in the forefront of you mind. it will cause some problems in your play but it should help control your action in terms of stopping yourself and returning quickly.

this is really just a bad habit. concentrate on the element for long enough to break the habit. once that is done you can then refine your footwork technique when hitting the ball (see the library)

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From nickhitter - 24 Jan 2007 - 06:49   -   Updated: 24 Jan 2007 - 06:53

Although I'm sure Adz or somene else with greater experience than I  will be able to give you some great solo examples for this, there is one drill I did with my coach that helped me with this problem where you are only allowed to move up and down the court along the half court line (and higher/further forward but still only vertically) and you have to stretch in with one stride only  to play a shot near the wall. You have to have decent coach or someone good playing with you because they have to feed you consistent enough shots for you to be able to get in order for there to be improvement through repetition.

Now, obviously, you're not going to move like that in a match! but what it did for me was make me realize the correct space I need between me and the ball when playing different types of shots. I was soon reading the 'space' much better in a match situtation.

It's amazing that with one stride and a rackets length from the centre line even myself at only 5'8" can play a ball off the wall quite comfortably back down the line. I believe that 'over running the ball' as I called it was one of the biggest weaknesses in my game until I ironed it out, and has been one of the biggest improvements. If you over run the ball, you're feet aren't right and it is impossible to make a good shot even if you have tremendous racket skills.


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