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"Battle in the Trenches" Drill

Billy Pate
Billy Pate, men's varsity
tennis coach at the
University of Alabama.

TrenchesThis drill has been provided by Billy Pate, men's varsity tennis coach at the University of Alabama and a three-time National Junior College Coach of the Year.  The focus is on doubles skill development, positioning, teamwork...and fun.

Like SEC football, the Battle in the Trenches drill emphasizes a fast-paced repetition "in the trenches," and works on fundamentals on difficult shots often seen in doubles.  Many coaches of all levels use similar drills, but this variation is what makes the Crimson Time roll!  Each player should partner with a teammate.  one team starts as a defender while the remaining teams are on the opposite side as attachers.  The defenders earn one point for each point they win against the attacking team and the attackers must win three straight points to replace the defender.  The drill ends when the defenders accumulate 11 points, at which time Pate incorporates fitness penalties for the losing teams.

The attacking team starts in "no man's land" and plays a volley as their first shot, as fed by a coach.  The defending team must start with their heels right on the service line for each point.  This draws the focus on touch, angle, and placement.  If the attacking team wins the first point, they are fed another volley.  If they win that point, the coach feeds an overhead.  The defenders need to backpedal toward their own baseline to gain more time and hopefully put a defensive lob back in play.  For added excitement and to test their skill, Alabama plays overheads (and all other shots) off of the back fence/wall.

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