As I get ready for another trip to Australia with British number 2 Olly Beadle, a question popped up from a club member during practice:

“What does Olly even get out of playing you?”

Great question! We practice seamlessly together, but when it comes to real matches, things change. My serve-and-volley strategy might hold up for a few games, but against a player like Olly (representing England at the Australian Open!), it’s a different beast!

We manage a few different practices when it comes to match play:
  1. When he serves, I can feed the next ball in and then we play
  2. I ensure he must win two points to win a point, lose one and I win
  3. When he serves from the deuce side, I get to hit into the ad ally side in order to work him harder
  4. During point play if the point finishes at the baseline, its not over until I feed a short ball for him to approach and play and win. If he is in midcourt, the next shot he needs to win on is a volley. If at the net, he has a smash to finish on.
  5. We also only allow him to hit into three quarters of the court on my side B, C, D
  6. We change the score, so he starts service games 0-30 or 15-40 down
  7. He is only allowed a second serve
Plenty of initiatives to make him work harder with his aging coach, however, to answer the question:
  • The majority of points in match play are finished within 4 shots. When we play and I do get a return in the next shot is almost always a winner.
  • If I serve into his forehand or backhand the return or certainly next shot is again almost certainly always a winner.
  • Inadvertently we are playing a game of first 4 shots for him to practice with a splattering of longer points when possible.
This is the reason why when he goes to play matches, he is dominating the first 4 shots.

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