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Academy29 Skills

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Academy29 isn't about personal coaching to build proper technique for strokes or serves.  We recommend working with coaches to develop proper technique for all your shots.  Academy29 is about understanding why those skills are important and how to apply them.

Here is a list of 29 things that Academy29 Players should be working toward:

Volleying:  Using proper technique with a continental grip and the head of your racquet above your hand for every volley, you should strive to be capable of:

  • Hit 20 forehand volleys in a row off a wall with your racquet about 1 foot away from the wall

  • Hit 20 one-handed backhand volleys in a row off a wall with your racquet about 1 foot away from the wall

  • Hit 20 forehand volleys in a row off a wall with your racquet about 5 feet away from the wall.

  • Hit 20 one-handed backhand volleys in a row off a wall with your racquet about 5 feet away from the wall

  • Hit 15 consecutive forehand drop shots off a wall

  • Hit 15 consecutive backhand drop shots off a wall

Splits Steps:  Learn the timing and technique of split steps and work to do them almost every time your opponent or partner hits a shot

  • Demonstrate the proper technique and timing

  • Use the 5-minute split-step trainer with 100% success

  • Record a hitting session of at least 30 minutes (you can take a few breaks) and do split steps at least 80% of the time (Use the SwingVision app for this if you are an iPhone user)

Dink:  Using skills from the volleying and split step section above, you should strive to become a master of the game 'Dink'.  Try to use that game to develop these skills:

  • Demonstrate splits steps when your opponent hits to improve your quickness

  • Demonstrate proper drop shot/dink technique off both sides

  • Learn to move closer to the net to volley a dink winner when you see your opponent in trouble

  • Learn to lob when you are out of position to buy yourself time to get back in the point

  • Learn to see your opponent running to the open court, then dink behind them

Shadow Points:  Learn to visualize the ball coming to you, practice good footwork for that and practice your actual swing.

  • Show your coach a convincing 8 shot shadow point rally

  • Record yourself playing 10 consecutive shadow points demonstrating a variety of skills

Forehands:  Work with a coach to build proper technique for hitting topspin forehands, then relentlessly work on these things until they become habit and your fitness allows you to do it for an entire match.

  • Get your back foot planted strongly for each shot

  • Use your planted back leg to drive yourself toward your target as you hit

  • Use split steps to get moving and adjustment steps to achieve proper spacing (the distance from your body to the ball) on your shots at the baseline

  • Move up to short balls, get spaced properly, get balanced and drive through short balls to hit winners to each corner

  • Use split steps to quickly move forward and reply to weak down-the-line shots from your opponent with heavy topspin/heavy angle/low power cross-court winners.

Backhands:  Work with a coach to build proper technique for hitting topspin forehands, then relentlessly work on these things until they become habit and your fitness allows you to do it for an entire match.

  • Get your back foot planted strongly for each shot

  • Use your planted back leg to drive yourself toward your target as you hit

  • Use split steps to get moving and adjustment steps to achieve proper spacing (the distance from your body to the ball) on your shots at the baseline

  • Move up to short balls, get spaced properly, get balanced and drive through short balls to hit winners to each corner

  • Use split steps to quickly move forward and reply to weak down-the-line shots from your opponent with heavy topspin/heavy angle/low power cross-court winners.

Singles:  Learn where to position yourself at the net and baseline to be prepared for your opponent's shot

Doubles:  As the volleyer, learn to follow the ball around the court to always be in the best position for the next shot.

Serving:  This is a great place to invest in a good coach to build your fundamentals.  Once you have them, learn to place your serve to your opponent's forehand, backhand or body to give yourself an advantage each point.