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Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Beginner Clinics

The second session of our series of beginner clinics was held February 3 in the Hendersonville Athletic/Activity Center. We had 6 attendees who worked on the first 2 shots of the game - the serve and return of serve. The goal was to understand the techniques of hitting both shots as well as adjustments needed to increase or decrease both the arc and speed. Emphasis was placed, first, on keeping the shots in-bounds and, second, on hitting the shots into the back 1/3 of the courts.

Neither of these shots should be considered as attempts to win points. Therefore, there is no reason to take the risk of hitting a ball out of bounds by trying spin or targeting a small spot.  Instead, these shots should be used to set up the rest of the rally in the hitter's favor.
  1. The serve should be hit deep to keep the returner from gaining the kitchen line with ease. Even better is a deep serve to the backhand half of the service court to minimize the opportunity for an offensive return.
  2. The return of serve should also be hit deep to keep the server from gaining the kitchen line with ease. Even better is a deep return to an area between the serving team players.  This shot can cause the serving team to hesitate while deciding who should take the ball.  Even a millisecond of hesitation makes it more difficult for them to advance to the kitchen.
The first exercise was hitting the serve into the proper court. As the exercise continued, the goal was to add depth beyond a designated depth line. The exercise continued after switching sides of the court and hitting serves to the opposite corner.

The second exercise was progressing from the forehand and backhand drive shots practiced in the first clinic. These drives are the stroke used for the return of serve and were hit with a target deep in mid-court. Special emphasis was made to work on the backhand as attendees were less successful with that shot.

After so much discussion of keeping opponents from advancing to the kitchen, the concept of how to earn the way to the net was demonstrated but not practiced. Particular emphasis was placed on stopping when the opponent is ready to hit by using the split step


February 17 Clinic

The next clinic in this series will be held February 17 (Wednesday) from 12:00 - 2:00 at the same location - Hendersonville Athletic/Activities Center at 708 South Grove Street, Hendersonville, NC.  This clinic will review the serve and return of serve, then will move on to a couple of new shots briefly introduced in week 1 - the dink and volleys. Both techniques and strategies will be practiced. The ready position at the kitchen line will also be part of the lesson.

The clinic is designed for beginners but also works well for those who have played and want to see further improvement.  The great thing about this schedule is that we have one court for the clinic and two courts for play.  Players can rotate between live play and the clinic as they choose.

Beginners who missed any or all of the previous clinics are welcome to join.  We will be able to work on the previously-introduced concepts during the clinic.  If anyone who missed either of the prior sessions would like a quick individual overview, please contact me. I expect to have a quick make-up session next week (February 8-12). 

Please feel free to join us for these clinics. Encourage others who may be interested to check out the fastest growing sport in America!

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