Welcome to Bubba’s World of Tennis

I’m Bill Bussey, or aka…. Bill “Bubba” Bussey and this is my site for Tennis coaching and instruction.  I’m a USTPA certified teaching professional, an AHSAA volunteer coach for Briarwood High School’s Varsity Tennis Teams in Birmingham, Alabama.  I also help coach several USTA Jr. Team Tennis teams.  This site is to help players with various parts of their game and provide a quick electronic link to notes and other helpful information.



The “Australian Formation”

Subject:  The Australian Formation in Doubles

The Australian Formation is for a serving doubles team.  The net player simply lines up on the “wrong side”.  The purpose is to:

  1. Cause confusion and pressure on the returner,
  2. Take away the cross court shot over the middle of the net.
  3. Gives the serving team a preferred matchup of forehand to backhand.
  4. Allows the serving team to use a “Push and Cut” play off the serve.
  5. Protect a servers weak backhand against a strong returner.
  6. Best Serve is to backhand or into the body.
  7.  Should be used intermittently, or during a big point.


Counter moves include:

  1. Deep high roller shot to the servers backhand side.
  2. Just lob the return to start the point, then beat them as the point begins.
  3. Remember 80% Rule (Keep away from Net Player)

The “I” Formation in Doubles

Subject:  The “I” Formation

The “I” Formation is for a serving doubles team.  The net player and the server line up in a “I” in the center of the court.

The purpose is to:

1.  Cause confusion and pressure on the returner.

2.  Take away the cross court shot over the middle of the net.

3.  Best Serve is down the “T”.


Counter moves include:

1.  Positioning a net player close to the net to mirror the serving teams net player, as to block their view of the play.

2.  Roll the return up the line to just get the ball in play, and beat them as the point starts.

3.  Deep high roller shot to the servers backhand side.

4.  Unload and crush the net player.

5.  Just lob the return to start the point, then beat them as the point begins.

6.  Remember 80% Rule (Keep away from Net Player)

Proper Tennis Etiquette

SUBJECT:  Proper Tennis Etiquette for Parents and Fans

Players and fans are required to play under the USTA Rules known as “The Code”.  (USTA Friend at Court page 52.) A few points are:

  1. Tennis is a unique sport with rules of etiquette.  Do Not treat it like Football or Basketball.   It’s closer to Golf as an example.
  2. Take your best manners court side, silence all phones.
  3. Points should be played out in quiet, once a player is ready to serve.
  4. Wait until the point is over to clap or cheer for your team/player.
  5. Cheer and clap for good shots and long rallies.
  6. Do Not cheer for errors made by the other team/player, just good plays by your team/player.
  7. Do Not shout out line calls, instructions, communicate or coach your player in any way.  Or they will be subject to the “Point Penalty System”.  (USTA Friend at Court pages 136-138.)

1st occurrence – loss of a point.

2nd occurrence – loss of the game in progress.

3rd occurrence – loss of the match via default.

8.  Only the official coaches of record can coach, communicate or instruct a player.  Cheering or encouraging them on is fine.

9.  The coaches can shout instructions during the match as long as play is not stopped, and can talk to the players at the fence on odd game change overs.

10.  Abusive behavior toward anyone on or off the court, will not be tolerated.  Show your school sprit in the right way!

Winning at Singles / A Plan

SUBJECT:  Winning at Singles

  1. Have a S.E.T. plan.
  1. Remember the 80% rule.
  1. Use Shot progressions to set up points.

Shot Progressions:   P.A.M.M.- P.

P – Power them off the court w your forehand.

A  –   Attack the backhand.

M  –  Move them Left to Right.

M  – Move them Front to Back.

P  –  Pusher  (Lob, Lob, Lob)

Injuries, Aches & Pain

SUBJECT:  Injuries, Aches & Pain

Physical activity of any kind will bring on minor aches and pains or even injuries.  To treat these we use the R.I.C.E. method.

REST – Just don’t use it.  Don’t play the sport, but also rest it as much as possible around the house, at work, or at school.  Lock it down if possible.  This will let the healing begin.

ICE –  Icing is almost magical to an injured area.  It helps in getting rid of inflammation and swelling.  Ice only 15 minutes per hour and alternate hours.  Alternating Ice and Heat even works better.  This is the best way to speed recovery.

COMPRESSION – Try to wrap or use compression on the injured area, 15-20 minutes per hour.  Try to compress 3 or 4 times a day.

ELEVATION –  Try to rest it above your heart, so prop up with pillows on the couch, in the bed, and while sitting if possible. This will help to drain off excess fluid that may cause inflammation and swelling.

Over The Counter anti-infamatorils can also help.  Be sure to consult your doctor and follow the directions.

Consult your doctor if pain continues, or you feel it needs more attention.

As the pain begins to subside, do very easy stretching and range of motion to help increase circulation, and aid in the rehab of the injured area.

And as you return to the physical activity, use common sense to “work back up to a competitive level”.

Braces or wraps may help stabilize the injury until the muscle, and support systems are back to full strength.

Hindrances by Players…

Subject: Hindrances

Hindrances Caused by Players

Q. I am coaching high school tennis, and we are to use USTA rules. My question is that someone from a team we played was standing with one foot in the service box and then moving as the ball was being served. Could we call a hindrance?

A. The receiver’s partner may stand anywhere, even in the service box. Once the receiver’s partner takes a position, he/she should remain there until the ball is struck. If the receiver’s partner suddenly and abruptly moves away before the ball is struck by the server, then it could be deemed that the only reason they initially took such a position was to hinder the server, and that is not allowed.

Note: The receiver may change positions to receive serve at any time prior to the serve and may even stand in the service box. Waving the racquet, making noises or stomping the feet is not permitted by any player.

Q. I tried to serve and volley, but pushed off too hard on the slick court as the serve left my racket. That in combination with nerves led me to slip and take a tumble. I recovered as quickly as I could, and got up in time to see him net the return. It wasn’t until after the point was over that he claimed it was his point because he thought I only dropped my racket (without falling) and it distracted him. I didn’t agree because it was an accident and the racket was always in my hands. So since he didn’t speak up until after the point was over, 

should it have been my point? If he had spoken in time, then should it been a let?

A. This is not a hindrance situation.

If both cases were accidental, that is considered part of play and cannot be deemed a hindrance. If your racket or your body touches the net or invades your opponent’s court while the ball is still in play, you lose the point.

Q. I was in the finals of a doubles tournament. My partner was receiving. The non-serving opponent complained that I was spinning my racquet before her partner’s serve and that it was a hindrance. Her partner, the server, said she hadn’t noticed.

My position was that 1) the ball wasn’t in play, 2) she could not possibly claim hindrance since first her partner and then mine must hit the ball before she could and 3) racquet spinning seems to be done all the time, even by a receiving player, without hindrance being called.

My opponent called for a ruling by the Tournament Director before she would continue play. The Tournament Director wouldn’t make a decision either way. I’m hoping you can shed some light for me on this matter. Thank you for your time.

A. Spinning the racket in your hand would not normally be considered a hindrance. If the spinning of the racket is exaggerated and done in such a way that the racket was leaving the player’s hand or the racket is moving through the air that would make it appear that a player was waving the racket, then that may be considered a hindrance.

Q. We have several ladies who use the white plastic clip ball holder. One lady wears the ball clipped to the back of her waist. The other wears the ball prominently clipped right in the front. The ball is visible at all times. Several people have found looking at another tennis ball a distraction. Is there a rule that covers this type of situation?

A. Usually ball clips are worn on the back so an opponent does not see another ball when a player faces them while hitting a shot.

This is not addressed specifically. However, one could make the case that this could be a distraction and request that the player put the ball clip on the back.

Q. Is it legal for the receiver’s partner to stand in the receiver’s service box and wave her racket during the server’s motion, then move out of the box when the ball is struck?

A. Players may not make motions that are meant to intentionally distract the opponent.

The receiver’s partner may stand anywhere, even in the service box. Once the receiver’s partner takes a position, he/she should remain there until the ball is struck. If the receiver’s partner moves away before the ball is struck then it could be deemed that the only reason they took such a position was to hinder the server, and that is not allowed.

Waving your racket or stomping your feet is not permitted.

Q. I have a few questions regarding a recent doubles match. After every point, the team that we played had a discussion. They would huddle together for several seconds and then take their positions. This finally ended after the third game.

Later in the match, an opposing player would return the ball and yell out something that was incoherent. Is it legal for your opponent to yell out just when you are getting ready to return the ball?

When this same player was playing the net and during our serve, he would kneel down on the center line and then pop up! Is this legal?

A. Players may not yell out when their opponents are about to hit the ball. That is a hindrance. During the service, a player on the receiving team cannot make big sudden motions or loud noises just prior to the serve. That is a hindrance.

Q. The opponent hits the ball and in so doing her racquet goes flying off to the side, making a large noise and distracting me as I am about to hit an easy ball at the net. I want to call a hindrance. Can I?

A. Losing your racket accidentally in an attempt to play a shot is considered part of play and is not considered a hindrance.

The Slice or “Cut” Shot

SUBJECT:  The Slice or “Cut” Back Hand

In singles most players today have grown up as “baseliners”.

This is due to the power and strength of the players and racquets never before seen in tennis.

The problem is how to “defuse” the baseline player with the big powerful baseline forehand.  First you must move them in to the court.  (stage 4 of our PAMM plan) and off their safe area of the baseline, second starve them of pace, and third make them reach down out of their hitting zone. (attention to grip).

A great shot to do this is a slice or cut back hand.  This shot take 3 different forms.

  1. A change of Pace Shot – this is a deep shot, low, biting and causes the pop to have to slow down his swing to lock in to the speed and level change of the new shot.
  1. An Approach Shot – not as deep as the change of pace shot, lower, less pace and requires the pop to step inside the pace line as you rush the net.
  1. A Drop Shot – Never use behind the baseline! Always a good choice when inside the baseline.  On the baseline it is ok, but should be use sparingly, due to the difficultly factor, and the ability to execute.

Winning At Doubles…

Re: The Road to Winning Doubles

  1. GET A PLAN:

Have a S.E.T. plan…Strategy, Execution, Tenacity.



80% Rule…Serves, Points, Winners. 

(Get to the Net)



Baseline to Baseline, Net to Net. 

(The Law)



Shift with the ball, cover 2 zones closest to the ball.

(Move!, the stands are for watching! )



Push, Cut, Cover…during plays, and off serves.

(Attack, Attack, Attack, then pressure)



Australian, 2 Deep, and I Formations.

(Hitters win a few matches, Thinkers win Titles)

What’s In the Bag ?

SUBJECT:  What’s In the Bag ?

What’s in the bag?

What you carry in your tennis bag can make the difference in a close match of winning and losing!  The key is to carry the right things and a minimum supply of them for a match or two, then reload after the match back and home, or a hotel room if traveling.

Playing Equipment:

Extra Racquet – at lease one extra; Shoes & Extra shoe string; Extra socks; Hat or Visor;  Stretchy bands – Warm up; Extra grip and over wrap; Extra String and Dampeners; Notes on playing;  Bug Spray, Towel.

Food / Fluids:

Sports Drink high in electrolytes; Water; Power Bar; Peanuts or Trail Mix; Some thing sweet – quick recovery (M&M’s); Fruit – Banana.


Pepto, Toms, Ammonium AD for the stomach; Blister cover – For open blisters on feet and hands; Band Aids; Advil – pain; Wrist, Ankle, Knee, and Foot Brace.

Some change for the local drink machine might also be handy in case the pro-shop is closed or out of change.

Getting A Match Started

SUBJECT: Getting a Match Started…The Warm Up

1. Your Court and Opponent will be announced by the Home coach.

2.  Proceed to your court, with your can of balls, introduce yourself, and be sure you are playing the correct player(s) on the correct court.

3.  Flip or Spin for first Serve and Side of the court BEFORE warm up.

4.  Warm up… work on footwork, getting your eye on the ball, DO NOT hit  the ball hard or try to hit winners!  Hit the ball directly back to your opponent. Take note of opponents grip, best and weakest shots.

5.   Hit 6-10 forehands and backhands each.  Then come to net the and hit 6-10 Volleys that your Opponent will hit to you from the baseline.

6.  Then hit 2 or 3 overheads.  Work on getting under the ball, getting your eye on the ball and arm motion.  DO NOT hit the ball over the fence!

7.Then hit 3 or 4 serves to your opponent, let them serve 3 or 4 back, then swap sides and repeat.

8.Total warm up time including serves is 10 minutes.  (USTA Rules).

9.Start the Match!

10.  After the Match, shake hands, and report the score to the Home Coach, and your Coach.