The Three Zones Above The Net
Some people say that when they hit the ball over the net and between the lines, everything is fine. But when you want to raise your level, you must pay attention to the three zones above the net.
Every zone is related to a certain intention of your shot.
This is the lowest zone.
When you want to score, you must hit the ball low above the net, in the grey zone.
Hitting the ball low above the net means that you take away the time of your opponent.
A lot of players are afraid to hit the ball low above the net, because they don't want to hit the ball into the net and make a lot of mistakes.
Try to take away this fear and practice this regularly.
When you are building up the rally, and you have no scoring or defending intentions, you must play a little higher above the net, in the orange zone.
This height prevents you from making unnecessary mistakes and your shots have enough depth.
Making a few mistakes while trying to score or defend is not a big issue, but making a lot of mistakes when you are building up the rally is a NO GO.
When you want to hit a defensive shot, you must play higher above the net, in the red zone.
When you hit the ball higher, you have more recovery time and more chance of getting the next ball.
In general, you must hit the higher defensive shot cross court.
You are closer to the right recovery position.
The distance is longer going cross court vs. down the line, so you make fewer mistakes.
When practicing these three different zones above the net, I usually start with the 3-ball drill.
My player has to hit 3 balls.
The first ball must have a scoring intention (low), the second ball must have a defending intention (high), and the third ball must have the intention of building up the rally (middle).
On purpose they must hit the first two balls an opposite height: low and high.
In this way, they better understand the difference.
The third ball is easy, they have to hit the ball between the heights of the two previous shots.
After this drill, they must play points on the whole court.
The only thing they have to focus on is to decide in which zone above the net they want to hit the ball. Automatically they are focussed on the intention of their shot.
Try it and let me know if it works for you!