To be honest, I’m not sure if this drill was presented on day 1 or not.

Anyway, this is one Donna and I used to do a lot. You and your partner do 4 dinks and then you play out the point AFTER the 4th dink. So, when we got out onto the courts, I was drilling with someone I didn’t know and it went like this: me -dink, him – dink, me- dink, him – BLAM! Fortunately, one of the pros was nearby and told him the proper drill.

Anyway, this is a good drill for practicing leaving dinks close to the net. Also great for practicing the lob off the dink because no one expects it.

We also learned the straight-ahead topspin dink. I have a pretty good crosscourt dink on my forehand and now that I am hitting my backhand two-handed, a pretty good topspin dink crosscourt going that way. When we practiced, I mostly fed balls to the person across the net from me because I didn’t want to risk my arm. The key, according to Tyson, is “less is more.” No need to cream the ball. Also, if you use the topspin dink, expect it to come back to the same place you nit it. In other words, if you go down the line, expect it to come back down the line (if it comes back). Similarly, if you go down the center, expect it to come back down the center.

Finally, we talked about the third shot drop and the third shot drive. Tyson made the point that if you use a third shot drive, start toward the net and then pause to get ready for the return shot. Running through the next shot never works.

Then we started playing games, one of which was “King of the Court.” This is how it worked: 6 players were on one side of the court at the baseline, and 2 at the NVZ on the other side. A pro would feed a ball to the baseline and the baseliners would (at first) hit third shot drops and then, later, hit third shot drives. If the baseline players won two points in a row, they moved up and the NVZ players moved up. The pro would then put up a lob for the players at the NVZ and that point would be played out. If the two at the net won, they would move over to the NVZ side and the two that had been at the NVZ went to the baseline on the other side.

If, however, the two baseliners failed to win two points, they dropped back and two others took their place.

It was a very face-paced drill with a lot of confusion. (Where do I go now?) Anyway, I was fortunate enough to have a really good female partner when we took over the NVZ and we stayed there a long time. There was one point where a baseliner drilled a ball at me and I laid my paddle almost flat and “poofed” the ball over the net with backspin.

A pro was standing next to me and said, “Hey. No trick shots.” I think he was kidding because he then turned to the baseliner and said, “This is why you have to get to the net.”

The next day we asked if we could go to the last court (lowest ranking) court together because my arm was hurting. We played nice and easy with a pleasant couple, but a pro came along and made us move up. I could not play hard and, in fact, had to drop out a lot. Cammy MacGregor took over for me and I’m sure that everyone on the court appreciated that.

There was one point where I had a put away about waist high and drove it into the net. Kyle McKenzie was watching and called me over. He told me a simple way to make sure that did not happen again, something I will keep to myself!

At the end of the day we went on an ATV journey into an arroyo (I blogged about that in my Los Barriles blog).

At night, many of us went to Tyson’s place for a party.

All in all, it was a great event.