Rally Games® is a fun team, games and instructional based program I developed to improve rallying and playing skills. The program uses a competitive team approach to teach players the importance of keeping the ball in play and utilizes a series of progressions to develop in players the ability to execute extended rallies, shot combinations and point sequences. Rally Games® can be used as the main basis or component for a group lesson series, for a social/competitive stand-alone event and/or for practice sessions to hone skills.
It works with two or more teams of players competing against each other to be the first to accomplish a series of cooperative rally and rally-based exchange and sequence objectives. Players collaborate (interact and work together) as a team to accomplish the rally objectives of the game prior to their opposing team (which is also simultaneously trying to be the first to accomplish the same rally objectives).
Want to get started on your own with a partner or partners? Here are 10 basic Rally Games® patterns and progressions.
- Hit X number of shots in a row. With more than two players, have players come in and out in a tag-team rotation in the middle of the rally after each shot or after a prescribed number of shots.
- Establish and maintain specific down-the-line and cross-court hitting lanes and targets. Hit X number of shots in a row (as above) maintaining a specific down-the-line or cross-court direction.
- Establish and maintain a more dynamic cross-court/down-the-line pattern with one player (or side of players) hitting down-the-line and one player (or side of players) hitting cross-court.
- Hit X number of shots in a row for depth. Establish and maintain a rally with each ball required to land past the service line
- Manipulate the basic rally by changing the bounce requirement. Establish and maintain a rally where the requirement is to hit each shot after two bounces or where the requirement is to have one or both sides hit the ball in the air before the bounce.
- Demarcate a target area for one side (or both sides). Establish (in the middle of a live-ball rally) a goal (or timed goal) to hit X number of shots into the target area.
- Adjust the hitting position by requiring one or both sides to hit from an assigned area of the court (e.g. inside the baseline). Another option is to establish and maintain a rally where both sides move up and back together (starting from the forecourt and then progressing back to the baseline and then up again to the forecourt).
- Incorporate different shots with shot combination patterns. There are an unlimited number of creative rally options incorporating groundstrokes, volleys and/or overheads. The goal is to maintain the rally through each shot and step in the sequence at a manageable pace and tempo for every member of the group.
- Designate and execute specific point patterns with serves and returns. For variety, play out the point after executing the designated pattern.
- With success and improvement in skill, the process becomes more of a role playing/problem solving exercise and the patterns can become more intricate and challenging. Fun patterns include drop shots and lobs and other specialty shots, specific footwork patterns, etc.