Practicing groundstrokes seems to be the main focus of most players. Rather than just standing in the middle of the baseline and starting the rally with a feed straight ahead, use your serve and return of serve to start the point. Hit the serve very slowly at first and hit the return of serve so that the other player can get the ball going from the baseline.
You can do almost any baseline drill you want with this type of starting process. If you are working on crosscourt, just hit all balls crosscourt after the serve and return. If you are working on depth, all balls must land past the service line after the serve and return. If changing direction is the focus, start with crosscourt and after the first couple of shots on each side, hit a ball down the line or inside out.
Making the serve and return a part of the drill gives you much needed additional practice time for the two most important shots in tennis. It also is a more realistic hitting situation since you have to deal with the diagonal start to the point each time.
Remember to alternate the side that you serve and return serve from, and remind yourself to play the real points the same way you have practiced these drills.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323