Challenge: Avoid the Middle
Returning serve to the middle of the court gives your opponents the choice as to who hits the ball. Instead of leaving it to them, use your return to force their hand by selecting one player or another to target. This challenge helps you to dictate play.
Goal: To keep the return of serve away from the middle of the court.
Purpose: To take control of the point by dictating which opponent has to hit the third shot.
Method: Place a pylon at 3/4 court about 6 feet away from each sideline. Have a partner serve and hit your return either crosscourt or down-the-line. Try to make the ball pass between the sideline and the pylon. Hit 10 returns from the even side and 10 from the odd side.
Equipment: Two pylons or other objects.
Adaptations: To make the challenge more difficult, make the targets smaller and/or the serve tougher. To make the challenge easier, make the targets bigger and/or the serve easier to handle.
Notes: It is important to be able to hit high-quality returns with the forehand and backhand. Doing so will mean you don’t have to get out of position to avoid your weakness.