First-Strike, Two-Shot Patterns for Singles and Doubles

Based on hitting one of three designated service targets (angled out wide, at the body of the receiver and down the middle T) with the first and second serves and then following up with a second shot hit to one of four designated (short and deep) targets, there are a number of basic first-strike (two shot) patterns for both singles and doubles that effectively open up the court and allow the server or serving team to dictate play with the serve.  Included below are five basic examples.

Singles

  1. Hit your serve to the middle T of the service box. Direct your next shot to the same corner as the serve (effectively hitting behind the serve returner).
  2. Hit your serve out wide (to the outside of the service box). Follow up by hitting your next shot to the opposite side of the court either to the far deep corner or to a shorter, more angled target (if given the opportunity to hit a cross-court backhand or run around your backhand to hit and inside-out forehand).
  3. Hit your serve out wide (to the outside of the service box). Follow up by hitting a short chip or drop shot to the opposite side of the court (closing to the net with the shot as necessary).
  4. Hit your serve out wide (to the outside of the service box) preferably with spin. Follow the serve into the net and then volley your next shot short or deep to the opposite side of the court.
  5. Jam your opponent by hitting the serve (with depth) down the middle of the service box. Move inside the baseline following the serve and then drive the next ball to either the left or right deep corner of the court.

Doubles

  1. Hit your serve to the middle T of the service box to allow your partner to drift to the middle (in line with the serve). Your partner is then positioned to intercept your opponent’s cross-court return with a volley hit to either the open middle window of the court or at the feet of your opponent positioned at the net.  The choice of location for this shot is determined by how far into your side of the court your partner is required to move to hit the volley.
  2. Hit an off-pace, angled spin serve out wide (to the outside of the service box). Stay back with the serve and then with your next shot hit a lob to the opposite corner of the court (over the reach of your opponent positioned at the net).
  3. Hit an off-pace, angled spin serve out wide (to the outside of the service box) drawing the serve returner and his/her partner in the direction of the serve. Stay back with the serve and then drive your next shot down-the-line (aiming for the singles line or at least two feet inside the doubles line for margin of error).
  4. Hit your serve to the middle T of the service box. Close into the net with your serve (serve and volley) and then depending on how close you’re able to get to the net for the shot, volley the return cross court for depth (or angle) or down-the-line (as a redirection) at the feet of your opponent positioned at the net.
  5. Hit your serve to the middle T of the service box. As part of a predesigned play, close and switch court positions with your partner.  If the return is hit down-the-line, either redirect your reply volley to the open middle of the court or maintain direction with your volley and hit behind the receiver to the same side of the court as the serve.  If the return is hit cross court, your partner is in a position to drive the volley down at the feet of your opponent positioned at the net.

Practice and rehearse these basic patterns (with repetition) and your game will definitely get better.

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