Purpose: To emphasize hitting the outside of the ball and opening the court to pull the opponent off the court.
Procedure: Each player stands on the deuce side of the court and behind the doubles alley on each side of the court. Player 1 feeds the ball into play and aims for player 2’s doubles alley (see figure 10.7). Player 2 responds by also hitting to player 1’s alley. After two alley shots are executed, the point is played in the singles lines only. Each player should hit on the outside of the ball with the intent of opening the court. The feed does not count as a point but every forehand crosscourt hit into the alley does count as a point. The game is played to 7 points and then switched to the backhand side. Players should also alternate between being player 1 and player 2.
Coaching points: Spin and height are essential for winning this game. The player should relax and continue to accelerate on the ball.
Variation: Players can play this game from around the service line to develop angles, midway between the service line and baseline to develop a heavy rally ball, and deep behind the baseline to practice hitting from a defensive phase.
Intermediate Strategy #2: Rush and Crush
With rush and crush, the player is looking for ways to get to the net. Several plays can be used to execute this strategy, starting with the serve-and-volley or return-and-volley. Or, the player can get an opponent on defense with a weapon and move in to hit a swinging volley or block volley. Another option is to throw up a high, heavy ball to the opponent’s weakness and sneak in behind it. Or, the player can hit a drop shot, bring the opponent forward, and then lob over the opponent, approaching the net as the opponent runs back to recover the shot.
Common patterns of play: Serving and volleying, chipping the return or hitting and coming in, or transitioning shots of any kind are used to rush and crush. With the strategy of rushing and crushing, the player is taking every opportunity to get to the net, including one-to-one, two-to-two, and two-to-one neutralizing patterns of play. Players can also use short to deep shots to transition to the net.