Low Intermediate Tennis | oneCoach
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Low Intermediate Tennis

Level up beyond your average rec player with this intermediate tennis masterclass. Refine your technique and learn basic strategy with former U18 #5 Val Ushanova and former top 1500 ATP pro Matt Baccarani.

Taught by Valerie Ushanova

What you'll learn

Basic strategy to help you win more games

Intermediate volley technique

Dealing with groundstrokes on the run

Returning a serve

Intermediate serve motion


What you'll need

  • A racquet
  • Tennis ball(s), ideally 10-20+
  • Access to a court
  • For some drills: a partner or coach


Low Intermediate Tennis helps you level up beyond the average rec player: refine your technique further while learning some basic strategy to help your game. Val and Matt guide you through the higher-level concepts for all your strokes including your forehand, backhand, volleys, overheads, and of course, the serve. This program is designed to move you beyond the beginner level and start to exercise more advanced concepts in tennis the typical rec player does not appreciate. This program is great for those who have gone through the Intro to Tennis program. Val and Matt have perfected this course after 20+ years of combined coaching experience working with beginner to intermediate tennis players.

Program content

6 sections · 40 classes · 1h 45m

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1 class · 4min

Dynamic Warmup with Ball Coordination

A simple set of warmup exercises that improves your fitness and ball coordination.




11 classes · 42min

Shadow Swings into a Wall

We continue to work on the form of our forehands and backhands by performing shadow swings against a wall. A wall lets us ensure we're making contact with a clean, neutral racquet face.



Rally and Catch

This fun drill will get us comfortable with making contact with a live ball both with our forehand and backhand. We want to get use to making contact at the right height and position. To begin, we catch the ball with our hands and racquet and work on our timing.



Self-Feed from Service Line

A great way to practice our groundstrokes with a ball and gain some confidence is to self-feed from the service line. Working with a half court distance allows us to focus more on the technique rather than power to get the ball over.



Self-Feed from Baseline

To continue gaining confidence with hitting the ball and on proper technique, we now self-feed from the baseline (full court).



Staying Balanced

So now that you can hit balls with decent speed and accuracy with self-feeding and in controlled drills, you may find yourself struggling more when rallying with a more dynamic ball. One common mistake is not taking the time to stop and maintain balance when hitting balls out of reach.



Running to the Side for the Ball

Now we will focus on how to approach a ball on the run for example when someone hits a ball well out to the side of you. Some key things to keep in mind are to stop and maintain balance when you have the time, and to give yourself enough space.



Slicing Basics

We have been quite comfortable with generating topspin with our forehand and backhand, which gives us speed and a high bounce, making it more difficult for the opponent to return our hits. Another powerful tool we will introduce now is using the slice to change up the pace of the rally.


Double Mini Tennis

We now are working on hitting back with a live ball, but only at a half court distance, again focusing on technique over power. By using two balls simultaneously, we can work on reacting to the ball and preparing our swing early.



Alley Rally

A more challenging drill we can do with our partner to improve our intention is to rally within the double alley. By keeping the ball only within the narrow double alley, we can focus on improving our pace while maintaining good accuracy.



Racing to 10: Beginner

This fun, competitive game you can play with your partner will help you improve your consistency while also adding some spice to your rallies. Race to hitting 10 solid groundstrokes with your partner with ball control.


Racing to 10: Intermediate

This fun, competitive game you can play with your partner will help you improve your consistency while also adding some spice to your rallies. Race to hitting 10 solid groundstrokes with your partner beyond the service line.



12 classes · 28min

Hitting High vs Low

As we start playing against more advanced players, we'll often need to deal with shots that are not exactly in our sweet spot at waist height. We walk through the subtle differences of hitting high vs low balls and how to adjust for each.


Receiving High vs Low

As we start playing against more advanced players, we'll often need to deal with shots that are not exactly in our sweet spot at waist height. We walk through the subtle differences of hitting high vs low balls and how to adjust for each.


Benefits of Hitting Cross Court

Unless you have a reason to, you should always aim to hit your shots cross court in a rally. This will give you a margin of safety and maintain the rally until you can identify an attacking opportunity.


Short vs Deep Balls

One common thing you'll often hear is to keep the ball as deep as possible. We explain why unintentional short balls can put you in a weak position, as well as how to take advantage of short balls.


Receiving Fast vs Slow

As you play with more advanced players, you'll start receiving shots of varying pace, including those that may be faster than you're used to. One trick to prevent overhitting fast balls is to slow down your stroke and let the pace of the incoming ball give you pace on the return.


Opening up the Court: Attacking Weakness

At the low intermediate level, you may be able to win a couple of points from unforced errors on your opponent's part. However, as you face more skilled players, you will need to learn how to go on the offense and attack weaknesses. One way to do this is to intentionally open up the court.


Keeping the Ball Deep

By hitting the ball as deep as possible in the court, we can prevent our opponents from moving in and hitting a winner on a shorter ball. Some common ways to achieve this are to hit the ball higher, or to hit the ball with a lot more pace.


Achieving Depth at Your Skill Level

Matt demonstrates how as a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, you can achieve depth on your balls by using a combination of height and pace.


Moving In: Basics

We talk about when and why you might want to move into the court, and what you should do shortly after you've decided to move into the court.


Moving In: Intermediate

We touch on more advanced concepts and things to keep in mind when moving into the court, such as defending yourself against lobs.


Stopping at the Service Line

Part of moving into the court and transitioning from a defending to attacking position is deciding where to stop defend. We go over why it may be ideal to make your first stop at the service line as opposed to much closer to the net when attacking.


Shot Height and Court Positioning

How high you hit the ball over the net is heavily dependent on your court positioning. In general as an intermediate player, you would like to return the ball high over the net when you're pushed back and shallower when you move in.



6 classes · 12min

1 Up 1 Back Volley: Beginner

This volley drill lets one player practice their volleys while the other practices their groundstrokes. We focus on practicing our aim and consistency here for beginners.


Volley Contact Point and Height

We now talk about how we should be making contact on our volleys based on the height of the incoming ball.


Throw & Volley

This simple throw and volley drill is perfect for beginners who are first learning how to volley and want to practice it with a partner.


Volley Contact Point Practice

We focus on making the correct contact on our volleys as our partner feeds us volleys of varying height.


Volley to Volley

This tougher drill will allow both us and our partner to practice volleying to each other.


1 Up 1 Back Volley: Intermediate

We continue with the 1 up 1 back volley drill but this time the baseliner will not use ball control.



2 classes · 4min

Intro to Overheads

Overheads are used to defend yourself against lobs when you decide to move in to begin attacking at the net. We go through the basics and technique of how to execute an overhead.


Overheads Practice

Now we practice our overheads with a partner and focus on both our technique and judging where the ball is.


Serves & Returns

8 classes · 18min

Serve Stance and Swing

To continue improving our serve, we talk a little bit about how our stance should be, as well as how we should swing and make contact.


Serve Aim

We talk now a bit about where we should try to aim our serve. As you improve your serve, you should focus on improving your accuracy so you can begin taking advantage of weaknesses in your opponent.


Return of Serve: Moving In

As we think about our return of serve, it is not enough to simply hit the ball back to our opponent and letting them attack us. To generate some pace on the return, one key thing to do is to move into the ball with momentum.


Serve Progression #2

Let's implement the full motion of our serve by bringing our arm up from waist height. We also engage our shoulder by opening them up and rotating them on contact.


Serve Strategy: Just Get It In!

Let's talk about how important it is to get your serves in. Specifically, you should aim to get at least half of your serves in, even if you need to use less than perfect form!


Serve Strategy: Hitting to Weakness

As you gain more control over your serves, it is time to start thinking about where to direct your serves. One easy strategy is to hit towards their backhand which is usually the weaker side.


Return of Serve Basics

The return of serve differs from a regular groundstroke since the opposing serve comes in at a much faster pace and at a different angle. We go over the basics of how to gain consistency over your returns.


Return of Serve: Intermediate

We discuss more about how to defend against more aggressive serves on your return.



Valerie Ushanova

Former U18 #5 and National Champion

Val has had a decorated career as a junior and university player. She finished as the #5 U18 junior in Ontario and #1 in the Open category. As the captain of the Women's Tennis Team at York University, she won two gold and two silver OUA medals and was a 2-time OUA Female Player of the Year. She was the Canadian National Champion in 2015. After her successful career as a player, she worked closely with coaches like Matt Baccarani at a number of clubs in the Toronto area, working with all ages and all skill levels. Val is a Club Pro 2 certified coach and has been coaching full-time for 7+ years.

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