- Teach poaching technique and strategy and how to read and react to the situation as a team
- Discover a set of creative drills to create multi-dimensional players
with Peter Smith,
University of Southern California Men's Tennis Coach; over 500 career wins;
2014 NCAA Champions; 5x NCAA Champions, including Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back (2009/2010/2011/2012) titles;
5x Pac-10 Coach of the Year; 2011 USPTA National College "Coach of the Year"; 2x Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) "Coach of the Year" (2010 & 2012)
Teaching doubles technique and strategy has become a vital component for team success, from high school up through college. In this video, five-time NCAA championship coach Peter Smith demonstrates the same progression of competitive drills and match play situations that he uses with his team that have allowed them to continue their dominance of the Pac-12.
Coach Smith walks through a warm up, doubles-specific drills, and three-player drills. Each of these drills have variations and progressions to improve doubles play tactically and technically. The video focuses on isolating parts of the court to help players develop skills of serving, returning, volleying and ground strokes. Using a combination of instruction, competition and repetition, Coach Smith's methods will help players at all levels improve their game.
Coach Smith stresses the importance of getting the body warm with a sequence of dynamic stretches that target the legs, hips, and shoulders. Special attention is given to warming up the shoulders and rotator cuff using a resistance band to reduce the chance of injury. This dynamic routine will ensure that your team is prepared physically to hit the court running.
The USC Warm-Up
In this segment, Coach Smith reinforces the importance of shot selection and the smaller details in doubles tennis during their warm-up. He puts his team through a sequence of the following shots:
- Bounce overheads
- Defensive lobs
- Offensive top spin lobs
- Slice backhands
Coach Smith stresses hitting a variety of shots as a doubles player, noting that this sequence has helped his players throughout the years learn how to mix it up during match play. Each shot is only hit for 1-2 minutes.
Doubles Drills Series
Practice progresses into a 2-on-2 doubles series - the same series Coach Smith uses with his team immediately before they begin match play. Continually stressing the importance of making each drill competitive (games to 5 or 7), Coach Smith puts his team through the following drills:
- Poaching - With all four players at the service line, Coach Smith feeds through the middle to emphasize the importance of stepping in. Coach Smith prioritizes moving with the feet (not lunging with the arms) and the importance of keeping the ball out of the net.
- Poaching, Crossing - This drill simulates the return and the returner's partner crossing. Coach Smith feeds the return to the oncoming server, who returns cross court to get Coach Smith's partner to poach. Coach Smith stresses the importance of moving on an ‘L', not on a diagonal.
- Two Up, Two Back - This drill stresses the importance of closing the net and taking away the middle.
Match Play Drills
Moving from the Doubles Drills Series, Coach Smith takes you through a series of drills that help isolate, focus, and emphasize the importance of the first four shots in a doubles point. As Coach Smith states, 80% or more of doubles points will be decided in these first shots. Each drill gives opportunity for team work, communication, poaching, defending and attacking the ball.
- Serve and Volley Cross Court - This drill isolates the serve, the return, and the third ball. Every ball is played cross court in a 1-on-1 situation. Coach Smith emphasizes the importance of serving to the body in doubles. Learn the signaling system Coach Smith incorporates with his doubles teams to stress the impo