Home Boys' Lists Girls' Lists Men's Teams Women's Teams News Photos Contributors Links Help Sign-UpOnline Store
Latest News | Categories | Authors | News Archives
 
 

News & Features

Special Feature
The Value of Front Court Skills in College Tennis
Share:   

I've had several recruits ask for training suggestions as they make the transition to college. A common theme between the three programs I've been part of the past few years has been the amount of work put into developing doubles skills, especially with freshmen. As tennis moves more and more toward baseline oriented play, recruiting players who can make immediate contributions to the doubles lineup has become harder to do. My suggestion to young players in general is to develop the ability to play the net early on and, as you transition to college tennis, you'll be better equipped in learning to play college level doubles.

UCSB Coach Marc Vartabedian talks about net play in college tennis
courtesy, UCSB Athletics
First off, juniors should be aware of the importance of doubles to college tennis. The doubles portion of a dual match is one of the greatest displays of teamwork in our sport, requiring teams to mix and match their players to put forth their three best combinations. In addition to the teamwork involved, the lively spirit of college matches is established early in doubles where rowdy crowds concentrate around 3 courts.

For recruiting purposes, a player with doubles skills has an added attractiveness. For scholarship hopefuls, it's more inviting to give money to a player who can impact both the singles and doubles lineup.

Coaches love to have a skilled net player at their disposal for singles; since today's juniors play so heavily from the baseline, a player who is capable of changing strategy to rush the net can cause nightmare matchups for other teams. Coaches will point out the difficulty in defending against such strategy in singles because it's so rarely seen.

Here is advice for getting a head start in doubles before getting to college:

  • Think about the attention to detail juniors give their groundstroke game, they pour over every nuance of swing technique and footwork. Do the same for the volley. The proper footwork for the volley is so often overlooked.

  • COMPETE in doubles. I've seen too many juniors play half a pro-set during the final 20 minutes of a training session without a real sense of urgency. Play with the same emotion as you would in singles.

  • Play lots of tournament doubles. If your best friend can't play with you, ask around and partner with whoever you can find- you'll be glad you did when you step up to the line your freshman year to serve out the doubles point against your rival school.

  • Spend time at net. Skilled net players have great court sense coming in because they've spent lots of time up there. Think about the ratio of training from the baseline versus time spent training at net- the imbalance for most juniors is huge.
 

Marc Vartabedian is assistant coach of men's tennis at UC Santa Barbara.

 

Leave a Comment

 

More Special Features

26-Nov-2014
Breakdowns Before Breakthroughs
Andre Agassi survived. So did Novak and Serena. And it brought Andy Murray to tears on center court at Wimbledon It is considered one of tennis' greatest challenges. The phenomenon called breakdowns before breakthroughs.

8-Oct-2014
Interview with USTA National Collegiate Coach Stephen Amritraj
Stephen Amritraj joined the USTA as a National Coach in January of this year and was recently named its National Collegiate coach. Amritraj played at Duke from 2002-2006, and after a brief stint on the tour, began coaching ATP professionals in Southern California, where he grew up. Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.com talked with Amritraj about the USTA Collegiate Team program which assists American college players as they transition to professional careers.

23-Aug-2014
Premiere of Inside College Tennis with Tony Minnis at Wichita State
The Bill Rodman Production Shoppe has completed production of the 4th episode of Inside College Tennis and premieres on Tennis Channel featuring Wichita State University. The show premieres tonight, Saturday, August 23rd at 10pm ET, on The Tennis Channel. Meet Colin Foster, Head Women's Coach and Brad Louderback, Head Men's Coach is this episode and come to understand why each coach says: "Our team is a like family."

 
 Special Feature Index |   Subscribe

 
BECOME A FAN
 
  Help build our following.
 
  Follow us on Facebook
 
RECENT COMMITMENTS
 THE LATEST FROM TENNIS EXPRESS
11/25 Select Prince racquets are now $30! Shop now!
11/25 Have you checked out our Black November sale? Check out the Tennis Express Digital Catalog
11/18 Make sure to check out our latest racquet review! See what we thought about the @Volkltennis Organix 10 Super G 295G
11/17 See our amazing Black November deals on shoes, apparel & racquets all in one place with the TE Digital Catalog
 
 
RECENT HEADLINES
ITA NEWS
 PRINCE TENNIS
 
Marion Bartoli Interview
 
We caught up with Marion Bartoli the day before she won Wimbledon and chatted about her game, what she focuses on & off the court ...
 
See More
 
THE LATEST FROM ZOOTENNIS
11/26 Giving Thanks for Sponsors and Readers
11/25 Division I Early Signing Announcements
11/24 USTA Holds Playoffs for 2015 Nike Junior International Teen Tennis and Les Petits As Teams
11/23 Mmoh, Galfi Take Abierto Juvenil Grade A Titles; Nguyen Beats Giron in Mexico Futures Final
11/22 Mmoh Beats World No. 1 Rublev to Advance to Grade A Final; Giron v Nguyen for Mexico Futures Title; Jenkins Wins Again in Australia; Indiana Dismisses Men's Tennis Coach
 
TALK TENNIS
 

Page updated on Sunday, November 23, 2014
Contact our web team with any corrections