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'The Cauldron': Kevin Epley's High-Intensity Approach to Singles Practice


with Kevin Epley,
University of South Carolina Head Coach;
2019 ITA/Wilson National Women's Coach of the Year;
2019 SEC Coach of the Year;
2019 Elite Eight appearance; 3x Sweet Sixteen appearances ('07, '17, '18);
15 NCAA Tournament appearances in 15 seasons as a head coach (South Carolina, William & Mary, Fresno State);
over 275 career wins;
has worked as a traveling coach for professional players Megan Moulton-Levy, Lindsay Lee-Waters, Lindsay Davenport and Patty Schnyder;
former head coach of the St. Louis Aces (World Team Tennis League);
former U.S. Olympic team assistant coach (2000 Sydney games);
former U.S. Federation Cup team assistant coach (1997-2002)

It can be difficult to get your players to give maximum effort throughout the whole season, or even an entire practice. Thankfully, University of South Carolina's Kevin Epley has a solution to this dilemma: 'The Cauldron.'

In this video, Epley takes his team through series of drills, all built around making them compete by demanding high intensity and quality shot making. He shows you how his methods can be made to work for you and your own team. You'll be given a glimpse into what makes Epley's teams successful in one of the toughest conferences in the country.

'The Cauldron'

Coach Epley starts by discussing 'The Cauldron' and how he shapes his practices. You'll learn why competition is the basis behind his philosophy and how he fosters a competitive atmosphere in each practice session. He also covers the concept of "external cueing" and why it's important when training tennis players.

Live Practice

"The Clijsters" is a competitive drill that Epley uses to develop shot consistency and depth of shot. You'll see his players demonstrate the "Aggressor/Defender Drill along with five variations, which is a main staple of his team's training that promotes consistency and sound decision-making skills.

In the variety section of 'The Cauldron,' Epley introduces the Forbidden Box and the Mix Game. Both of these drills develop player fitness and consistency by challenging them to hit to prescribed areas of the court with point penalties for an inability to do so.

Serving, Volleying, Mental Toughness

Coach Epley includes additional games/drills that train:

  • Serving - Learn to section the serve box and simulate the return's baseline positioning to challenge players' serve consistency and placement.
  • Volleying - Improve the overall volley prowess of your players while building their conditioning with a rigorous exercise.
  • Mental Toughness - Watch as players go through a conditioning session, followed by a 7-point baseline drill which challenges their fitness level and develops toughness through adversity.
  • This is a great video for any coach looking to run a high-intensity practice containing drills and practice methods that will boost the talent level and conditioning of your players! Epley's system will help you see how to get your team playing with greater effort and purpose in the seasons ahead.

    51 minutes. 2020.

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