All too often kids just hit the ball in the middle of the court instead of being aggressive. They work hard, get themselves into a great position, and then hit the ball right back to the opponent, losing the advantage they had.
It can be difficult for your child to win a match if they hit every ball right back to the opponent. Doing so means they are just hoping the other person will miss before they do. In this article, we will go over how you can start working on breaking this habit and get your child to play a little more aggressively.
There are two forms of aggression
- Moving the ball around
- Closing out points
Moving the ball around
Moving the ball around means your child is hitting the ball from side to side, moving their opponent throughout a point. It is hard for anyone to hit a good shot when running side to side. So moving the ball around the court is a great way to make an opponent miss.
The easiest way to get your child more comfortable with not hitting the ball up the middle is to drill them (You can check out our article on drills here). Set up two lines of cones perpendicular to the net and split the court into thirds. Feed them some balls and have them hit their shots outside of the middle zone over and over again. Be sure to let them know you would rather them hit the ball wide than in the middle zone. By telling them this, your child will try harder to aim for the outside zones of the court. After they start getting the hang of it, you can add some other patterns so they get the hang of hitting the ball outside the middle of the court when moving.
Closing out points
Closing out points means that your child can put opportunity balls (check out in this article) away. Focusing on winning points instead of making their opponents miss shots.
One of the easiest places to close out a point is up at net. However, your child is going to need to be able to hit volleys and approach shots well to be successful at it. The easiest way to make your child more comfortable up at the net is by drilling volleys and approach shots with them. Once they are comfortable with it, they will be more likely to come up to the net during matches.
The next thing your child can do to close out points is by taking advantage of opportunity balls. Meaning hitting big shots at the right times or when they have the highest chance of making a big shot. You can read all about them here.
The last simple way your child can increase their aggressiveness on the court is to hit inside in and inside out forehands (run around their backhand). Even if the forehand isn’t your child’s strongest shot, teaching them to run around the ball is beneficial. When your child runs around their backhand to hit a ball, it is easier for them to disguise their shot. Making it harder for their opponent to read where your child is going to hit the ball. It also puts your child in a better position to hit angels against their opponent. The better positioning and better disguise make it easier for your child to get their opponent out of position. You can work on this by using some of the patterns in our article here.