Fundamental Tennis Drills: Enhance Your Game

Tennis is an intense sport characterized by its variety of shots and play styles. To become familiar with various shots and playing styles, it is essential to practice tennis drills. Tennis drills provide players with simulations of various point scenarios, enhancing experience and muscle memory for quick responses. Being well-prepared from the start can give you an advantage over your opponent by allowing you to anticipate and react to any situation during the game. Let’s review some fundamental tennis drills to enhance your game.

Guide: Fundamental Tennis Exercises

With endless possibilities for tennis drills, it’s impossible to cover everything available. With numerous variations available for a single exercise, the most effective ones target the specific areas you aim to enhance. Key concepts in tennis drills involve selecting drills that are highly effective and efficient, focusing on developing essential skills in the most productive way.

When it comes to tennis drills, there are basically two types: on-court drills and off-court drills. Practicing on-court drills primarily enhances shot accuracy and ball control, empowering you to steer the game’s momentum. Practicing off-court drills is essential for enhancing players’ court movement, stamina, and muscle strength.

Practicing tennis drills is not a one-time activity; it’s ideal to do them daily. Similar to hitting the gym, individuals don’t just work out to be strong for a day; they do it to maintain their strength over time. In tennis, players strive to maintain consistent shots, lasting stamina, precise control, fluid movement, and healthy muscles. Here are a few examples of fundamental tennis drills to incorporate into your practice routine. Keep in mind, the possibilities for drills are endless, so feel free to explore and invent your own!

Tennis Drills for On-Court Practice

Forehand Tennis Drills for Improvement

Begin the topspin drill by positioning yourself near the service line in the middle of one side of the tennis court. Have your coach or a friend stand on the opposite side of the tennis court facing you. Have your friend or coach gently toss the ball so it bounces below the net’s height on your forehand side. When the ball reaches your side, deliver a strong forehand stroke. To achieve topspin, the stroke needs to roll over the ball. Emphasize making contact between the tennis ball and the racquet strings, and swing the racquet upwards from a low position to a high one.

Once you perfect this drill, the tennis ball will dip over the net and bounce right on the baseline.

This exercise will challenge you to strike the tennis ball with a strong and exaggerated upward swing. When the ball is struck with this swing from the baseline, it consistently lands deep inside the opposite baseline.

Practice your forehand by having a partner feed you 5 shots to that side of the court. Approach the net with each ball, taking your time.

Practice hitting backhand and forehand shots by having a partner feed balls to the corners of the court at a medium-fast pace. Strive to reach every corner in time to execute a forehand or backhand shot.

Tennis Drills for Improving Your Backhand

Backhand slice drill: Position yourself at the baseline. Consider having a coach or a friend hit shots to your backhand. The shots should be delivered at a moderate pace. Make sure your feet stay perpendicular to the baseline as you approach and execute this shot. Utilize stutter steps to maintain your feet in the correct position.

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Make sure to grip the tennis racquet with both hands. Yet, it’s important to use the supporting hand solely for guiding the other hand. The release should occur upon impact.

Execute a downward swing with the tennis racquet. This tip will assist in generating more backspin on the ball. Ensure the racquet face is angled upwards to send the tennis ball over the net. Mastering your technique and grip is key to achieving the perfect slice on your tennis ball. Repetition is key to mastering this drill. To succeed, the ball must clear the net, with a lower clearance being more advantageous.

Tennis drills for improving your serve

Here’s a drill to enhance the precision of a tennis player’s serve: the first and second serve accuracy drill. By mastering this technique, the player can aim for any spot in the service box during their serve. This exercise requires repetition. Aim for a spot on the service box and use a ball hopper to target your serve at that location. The player has the opportunity to strategically place cans on the service box and attempt to hit them with precision. Practice is essential for mastering both the first serve and the second serve.

Engage in a live tennis serve drill by first practicing alone with cans, then moving on to practice with a coach or another player. But rather than participating in the full game, they can focus solely on practicing their serve. The player who dominates within the service box emerges victorious.

Tennis Drills for Volley Practice

For the “V” volley drill, begin by creating a “V” shape with tape from the center of the net to the “T” of the singles sideline. The first player should be at the center of the service line, which is the line between the baseline and the net. The second player will be positioned on the opposite side of the court. The next player is set to strike the ball, while the other player needs to work on advancing towards the net to execute a volley. When the ball is inside the V, execute a crosscourt volley. When outside the V, execute a down-the-line volley.

Once the initial player makes contact with the ball, they must promptly retreat to the service line and anticipate the ball being tossed back to them.

  • Executing the cover volley drill involves multiple players. A single player positions themselves on one end of the court. The rest of the players are positioned on the other side of the court in a straight vertical line. When a player is isolated on one side of the court, they will pass the ball to the first player in line. But the initial player will swiftly rotate out, allowing the next player in line to hit and return the ball. This process should continue until all the players in the queue have had their opportunity.
  • Executing a volley drill with one arm behind the back involves right-handed players putting their left hand behind their back, and left-handed players putting their right hand behind their back. Next, they will train to strike the volley using their stronger hand. By focusing on their dominant hand, players can ensure it is ready to hit the volley without any distractions from the non-dominant hand. It will also assist the player in building more strength in their dominant hand to better execute powerful volleys.
  • Executing a smash drill involves one player hitting a lob to set up the other player for an overhead shot. This tip can assist players in navigating the court from an elevated stance.
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Tennis Drills for Off-Court Practice

Tennis Drills to Improve Footwork

  • Executing the backward skip involves jogging forward and then retracing your steps without looking back. This exercise is designed to enhance muscle strength for jumping and backpedaling actions.
  • Executing the sidestep shuffle slide involves keeping a low center of gravity while performing multiple sidestep shuffles.
  • Carioca is akin to the sidestep. Instead of executing a typical sidestep, one foot will cross over the other foot while moving sideways.
  • Performing heel kicks involves jumping in place with your hands extended, aiming to touch your toes to your outstretched hand.
  • Split and sprint: This drill consists of a split followed by a sprint. Executing a split involves doing a brief hop while keeping your feet separated in place. Sprinting requires moving forward at top speed. So, the initial move is to split, followed by a quick sprint.

Get ready for Tennis with these Drills and Exercises

  • Jump rope: Players are each provided with a jump rope and warm up by practicing various jumping techniques. You can choose between single foot, double feet, or alternating feet.
  • Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down before leaping as high as possible. Make sure to keep your legs fully extended. Once you touch down, return to the squat position and perform the exercise fifteen times.
  • Running backwards: The player runs at top speed to one end of the field. They proceed by jogging to the opposite end. They continue practicing back sprints and forward jogs until they are content with their performance.
  • Setting up for sprints: The player positions two cones about ten yards away from each other. They race at top speed between the first cone and the second cone. After completing the drill, they jog back leisurely to the starting point.
  • Setting up a ball pick-up drill involves placing balls in a straight line at one end of the field. The athlete sprints, bends to grab the initial ball, then races back to the starting point to carefully set it down. They continue this drill until they collect all the balls on that line.
  • Boost your speed and agility with suicides, enhancing your performance on the court. It is most effective when done on adjacent tennis courts. Starting from the line, you’ll sprint to the next one, pivot, and dash back to the starting point. Continue the process, moving to the next furthest line and running the widths of the courts.
  • Running up stairs or a hill will help strengthen the player’s legs and improve endurance for longer playtime.
  • Perform a wall sit by sitting against a wall or pole with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle, resembling sitting on a chair. Stay in place for 5-10 minutes to build strength in your thighs.
  • Using a medicine ball involves holding a heavy ball and executing a swinging motion. This will enhance the player’s shots and contribute to the player’s tennis form.
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Tennis Drills to Improve Agility

Jump for height: Advance and ensure proper posture as you move. Make sure to extend and flex the raised knee. When the right knee is raised, the left hand should also be raised, and vice versa.

Set up the Square Carioca agility drill by positioning cones at each corner of the court. Position yourself on one corner of the court with your knees bent, one foot in front, and the other foot at the back. Shift your weight to your front foot. Keep your elbows bent and rest your arms against your chest. Keep your eyes forward. This stance is known as the two point stance. Run quickly from the first cone to the second cone. When you reach the second cone, perform the carioca (side step with one foot crossing the other foot) until you reach the third corner. Perform reverse pivots until reaching the fourth corner. Perform another carioca until you reach the initial cone. Keep practicing this drill repeatedly.

Begin the ladder shuffle drill by assuming the two-point stance. Position the ladder in front of you. Take a leap into the initial square of the ladder with both feet. Next, shift horizontally away from the ladder. When opting to move to the right, perform a right sidestep by leading with your right foot and then following with your left foot. Advance to the next square on the ladder. Step with the left foot first, then bring the right foot forward. Once the right foot steps into the square, swiftly move the left foot outside the ladder. Stepping into the third square of the ladder is crucial when positioning the right foot outside. Execute this maneuver swiftly and ensure you keep your balance steady during this exercise. Additionally, there are other variations that can be utilized with a ladder.