Synopsis: Run & Serve is a drill which works on serving after a rally, when tired, and under pressure – with a strong conditioning element.
Age/Skill Level: This is a drill which can be used with all age groups and skill levels.
Requirements: A full court, two coaches/managers, and one ball per player
Execution: Have each player get a ball, then split up and position themselves half spread out across each end line. Each player should place their ball on the floor at the end line in front of them. On the coach’s signal (“Go!”, whistle, etc.) the player sprint all the way around the court and back to their ball. They then each serve their ball. The coaches (one on each side) will yell out whether a serve is good or not. If anyone misses their serve, reset the drill and go again. Repeat until all players get their serve in at the same time.
- Adapt to your team’s level of play or developmental goals by setting specific targets such as Zone 1, below the top of the antennae, into the last 2 meters of the court, etc.
- If you don’t have room to run around the court you can do on-court sprints
- Other exercises such as push-ups, crunches, block jumps, etc. can be used in lieu of running.
- You can mix up running and other activities if the team is struggling to complete the drill.
- If the team is REALLY struggling and/or you are running out of time you can allow one side to finish by getting all their serves in, leaving the other side to carry on until they can do so as well.
- BIG CAVEAT: The larger the group, the harder it is for everyone to get their serve in. It’s a simple question of probabilities. Say you have 10 players who get the ball in 90% of the time. There’s about a 65% chance that at least one of them is going to miss (1 – 0.9^10).
- If running around the court, alternate the direction (clockwise, counter-clockwise) so as to balance out the strain on ankles, etc.
- If doing sprints to the net – such as a sequence like to the net and back, to the 3 meter and back, have one side to the sequence in reverse so both side are not running at the net at the same time to avoid and potential for contact injuries (turned ankles, etc.).
- Make sure players aren’t rushing their serves. Part of the focus here is to get them to settle, go through their preparation, and execute as they would in a match.
- This can be a very variable length drill, so make sure you account for that when putting it into your training plan.
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