Forcing Errors and Exposing the Court: Doubles Boot Camp 2023
By: Joey Hanf
We're just a week away from the return of Doubles Boot Camp, a signature event that has grown from a rainy day idea into one of the most popular offerings in our company. Let's take a quick look back on the history of this event, and then talk about what you can expect from Doubles Boot Camp 2023!
Scott Colebourne, former Director of Tennis at Omni Amelia Island Resort, now CEO of Cliff Drysdale Tennis, was sitting in his office on a rainy winter day in 2013 brainstorming ideas with his team of pros. They wanted to create a camp that was doubles focused and helped fill a gap in their early year schedule. Doubles Boot Camp was born.
10 years later, we head into 2023 with 6 doubles boot camp weekends in January and February, the most ever offered, with all but one weekend sold out. (If you want one of our final spots February 17-19, click here) We've expanded DBC to new resorts this year, including two weekends at Baha Mar Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, and one at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage, California.
Our goal is that regardless of where you visit, our team of pros will be delivering a similar experience. Rob Wright, Director of Racquets at Omni Amelia Island Resort, and myself have developed a central theme for this years camps that will serve as a constant reminder during demos, drills and play.
Forcing Errors and Exposing the Court. What does that mean?
Let's start with Forcing Errors. Professional tennis players, the best in the world, typically hit about as many winners as they do unforced errors. A 50/50 ratio. Sure, maybe on a good day they are hitting more winners. But as club players, we cannot expect to come anywhere near those numbers. Trying to hit outright winners is a recipe for low percentage shots, bad decisions, and disastrous results. The "problem" with hitting winners is that we remember how good they feel, and try to replicate them too often. How often after a match that you lost have you heard your partner say something along the lines of "that forehand down the line at 15-40 felt amazing!" Well, it does feel good, but unfortunately in doubles, hitting winners often means you chose the wrong shot. Success in doubles is predicated on forced errors, where you put your opponent in uncomfortable positions and cause them to miss. One of my favorite coaches, Silviu Tanasoiu (Head Coach for Cornell Men's Tennis), used to say that "winners happen". They happen when you've hit quality shot after quality shot, and maybe you've moved your opponent so far out of position that the safe shot naturally becomes a winner. Exposing the Court is especially relevant in doubles, because it's much more difficult to get your opponents on the run. The doubles alley is only 4.5 feet wide, but those extra 9 feet of court width end up being crucial to forcing errors. The value of hitting short is also much more important in doubles.
And that's just a taste of what's to come if you attend Doubles Boot Camp this year. There will be some similar drills, new games, over 25 tennis pros involved, and a whole lot of fun. We're excited to see all of you on the court soon!