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3v1 Tennis


  • To encourage players to move into good supporting positions.

  • To bring in directions and penetrating passes.


  • Have fun, but try to avoid being the defending team.


  • Mark two grids 10 x 10 yards depending on numbers, 3-yards apart.

  • Use 3 teams of 3 (adjust organization if numbers are greater).

  • Use pinnies to distinguish the three groups.

  • Two groups of 3 go into the squares. One of the third group also goes into one of the squares.

  • Coach plays a ball into the defended square. The 3 players try to keep the ball away from the one defender.

  • After three passes they are allowed to pass the ball to the other square.

  • Only when one player in the other square has touched the ball is a defender off the field allowed to enter that square.

  • The previous defender comes out of the square to take a rest. Defending chores are equally divided in this way.

  • When a mistake is made and possession lost, the offending team then change to become the defenders and the former defenders take their place in the square (Coach to act as referee. Be warned!).



  • Coach must assess whether the playing area is too big or too small and make adjustments if necessary.

  • Encourage the attackers to be looking for the opportunity of making the pass across the square. Must keep their heads up.

  • The two players "off-the-ball" have to move and work hard to open up a good passing angle for the player with the ball.

  • The player with the ball may have to screen the ball away from the defender while awaiting a better supporting angle from a team-mate.

  • All attackers need to communicate - particularly the two players "off-the-ball" ("Hold it!" "Wait!" "I'm here!") - as they become the "eyes" of the player with the ball.


U11 Progressions

  • This is a progression of the 3 vs. 1 and the 4 vs. 1 Tennis.

  • If the players find it difficult stay with the 4 vs. 1 for the moment or make the space larger.

  • Giving them a bigger area is better than regressing to 4 vs. 1 as the 3 vs. 1 practice encourages more communication and movement off the ball.

U12 Progressions

  • Be prepared to “regress” (to 4 vs. 1) if the players are having difficulty mastering the game. Or, better still, stick with the game, but make the areas larger.

  • If they are coping, challenge them more by increasing the distance between the two squares.

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