Keeping the ball low over the net is an important skill to possess in matches, especially when serving, returning serve, pushing, and playing drop shots. When practicing, because we tend to face the net square on (and look down from above), it is not always easy to tell just how high the ball is traveling over the net.
The use of net post extensions can be very helpful in allowing you to check whether you are keeping the ball low enough – and is a simple technique that can be added to many drills. They are also quite simple to make!
What You Need to Make the Net Post Extensions
You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a useful net extension. All you need is two PVC or plastic tubes that are big enough to slip over your net posts, some nuts and bolts and a drill (or some nails and a hammer), some cord or string, and a good knife or saw to cut the tubes. Needless to say, this is a job for adults or children with adult supervision.
Making the Net Post Extensions
- Cut the tubes to length – say maybe 1 foot (30cm) or even 1½ feet (45cm).
- Cut a slot in each tube that is wide enough to slip the net cord through, so that you can slide the tubing over each net post.
- Put a nail through each tubing just above the top of the slot you have cut, so that the tubing will sit on the nail on top of the net post, and will not rest on the net cord. You might want to cut the tip of the nail so that there is no sharp tip pointing out. Or you can drill a hole through the tubing, and use a nut and bolt instead – I would recommend using the nut and bolt myself.
- If you are using nails, place several nails spaced an inch or so apart at the top of the each tube. Leave the head of the nail out a little from the tube, so you can tie the cord around the head of the nail. If you are using nuts and bolts, drill some holes in the top of the tubing, spaced an inch apart. You can use a nut and bolt on each tube, tying the cord around the nut. The nails or drilled holes will allow you to vary the height of the cord – you can lower the cord as you get better at keeping the ball down.
- Tie the cord at the height desired.
That’s it! You now have a simple to use tool that allows you to check the height of your serves, serve returns, pushes and drop shots. Give it a try – you might be surprised at just how high some of your touch shots are going over the net!