Short-court is when players rally the ball while using the service line as the baseline. While hitting short-court seems to be unimportant, and kids like to try to breeze through this, it is one of the best things your child can do to make sure they get the most out of a hitting session or match. Short-court is one of the best ways to warm-up. It is a great way for kids to tune-up their technique, and work on their control and focus. If short-court is done right, it will carry through the rest of their play enabling them to play their best more often.
One of short-courts best aspects is that it forces kids to concentrate on their control. When kids hit from the baseline, they have a lot of margin for error which can cause some carelessness, meanwhile, in short-court, there is not much margin for error since the distance between them, and their opponent is so small. This forces the kids to make sure they are hitting their strokes correctly and with enough spin to make sure the rally doesn’t get out of control. When kids are done warming up in short-court, this control stays with them as they move back to the baseline and continue to hit allowing them to get more out of a hitting session while decreasing errors in a match.
Short-court is an excellent way to work on and fine tune technique. Again since there is a small margin for error in short-court the kids are forced to focus. Kids are also able to judge the ball better because it is coming at them slower and spends less time in the air. This allows the kids to put more of their focus on technique because they don’t have to use so much brain power on judging the ball.
These aspects of short-court are what make it one of the best warm-ups your child can have. Everything they do in short-court, they end up taking back to the baseline. The beauty of it is that even if they don’t take it seriously they are still forced to work on their control, technique and focus which are all great things to have in a match. If they do take it seriously and make sure they focus and move their feet, then it helps them out even more and can lead to better, more productive play right out of the gate.
I like to do at least 10 minutes of short-court before I play. If I have to, I get in early just to make sure I’m able to get my short-court warm-up. That being said, I realize that it can be an impossibility if you or your child just doesn’t have the time. At the bare minimum, I suggest at least five minutes of short-court. You can cut this shorter if you have done a pre-match warm-up (you can check out our suggested warm-up here!). I urge you not to let your child skip the short-court when they play because it allows the rest of their hitting session to be much more productive.
I hope this post was helpful! Please let me know in the comments below!