Performing the Drill
Either player can serve the ball, but the serve used should favor a push return. The serve can be to any location if desired, but the return of serve should be to the server’s backhand corner. Both players should then continue to push the ball with their backhands, to each other’s backhand corner.
Player B should push the ball from 1-5 times in a row, while looking for a suitable return to run around his backhand corner and hit a forehand loop or drive. To begin with Player B should try to select a return that will make hitting his forehand attack easy. As he improves, he can attempt to attack more difficult returns.
Player A should push the ball from 1-5 times in a row to Player B’s backhand corner, changing the location of his push to Player B’s forehand corner from time to time. In addition, if Player A sees Player B starting to pivot around his backhand corner, Player A should push the ball down the line in order to catch Player B out of position.
Once Player B has played a forehand attack, the rally should be played out at will.
Benefits of the Drill
Player B receives a number of benefits from this drill:
- He is able to work on his serve, serve return, and backhand push, using them to help set up an easy return to attack.
- Player B will be working on his forehand loop against a push, and his footwork in moving both to his left and right to play his forehand loop.
- He will improve his ability to choose a suitable return to attack with his forehand by pivoting around his backhand corner, and will also learn not to move too early when attempting to pivot.
- He will improve his ability to read his opponent, by trying to determine when Player A is going to push the ball down the line.
Player A also benefits from this drill as follows:
- He can practice his serve, return of serve and backhand push, using them to make the ball difficult for Player B to attack.
- He also gets to improve his ability to read his opponent, by trying to determine when Player B is about to pivot around his backhand, and taking the appropriate action in pushing the ball down the line instead.
Some simple variations include: