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Several people I have played recently have begun warming up by starting in the service box. I don't see the value in this. We don't volley, we just hit the ball softly back in forth in the box. I am more used to and comfortable with warming up at the baseline since these warm up rallies resemble most of the match play. I have done this kind of service box warm up before at clinics but I just don't get why it is done. Does anybody know why?

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Comment by Alan Conaway on August 26, 2008 at 10:57am
looking for a player!
Comment by SocalTennisguy on August 25, 2008 at 4:02pm
I like the service box warmup for a few reasons. First of all, when done correctly it helps warm up all of the muscle groups that you use to play tennis. Secondly it forces you into good fundamentals: good footwork, split-step, smallish steps rather than larger ones, moving rather than leaning or lunging, bending the knees rather than at the waist to "get low stay low", racket preparation, making good contact, brush and follow-through, etc ... Thirdly, It can be a good aerobic workout provided you've reached a level of consistency and control.

Technique is everything. In "shortball" as they call it, you can't cover up bad technique with big swings. Three things that shortball exposed for me, for example, is that I wasn't firm enough with the wrist on my backhand when I needed to be in order to drive the ball with good depth and pace. I was a little to "wristy" as they say. Also, I wasn't keeping my eye on the ball ... I had grown accustomed to guessing in the final split second before contact. Finally, I found that I wasn't keeping my head still through the shot and instead was pulling out too quickly before the follow through. The result of all this was a tendency to spray the ball and inconsistency from the backhand wing. I've begun to solve these problems and it has dramatically improved my game. Not all of the credit goes to shortball, but it certainly helped me to recognize the bad habits in order to fix them.

Btw, I highly recommend filming your shortball drills if you have a video camera. What you see might surprise you.

-Darryl
Comment by Steve on August 25, 2008 at 4:01am
This forces you to exaggerate getting under the ball and brushing up to get over the net...hitting softly enough to still make it bounce. And just like Mark/Mr.Mayor was saying, this is just a pre warm up excercise to start with....3-5 minutes or so before moving back...especially good for players who favor topspin and flat groundstrokes and who would rather shoot long or wide than in the net.
Comment by Mark / The Mayor on August 24, 2008 at 8:31pm
I normally do this, but only for a few minutes. I think it helps with hand-eye coordination. I've noticed some do it with bounces and some do like a volley drill. I prefer bounces, then volleys - then just move back. It also helps me loosen up as I try to make real smooth slowish strokes.

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