Previously, in Tennis Drills (Part 1: On Court), we discussed ball control and practicing shots. This time we’re going off court to work on your agility and stamina.
Footwork Tennis Drills
The backward skip:
A drill to strengthen muscles for jumping and movements needing backpedaling. Jog forward and back to your original position while staying forward facing.
Sidestep shuffle slide:
Keep a low center of gravity while you shuffle from side to side.
Similar to the side step, except you will allow one foot to cross the other foot as you move along the sides.
Jump in place with hands outstretched so that the tip of your toes touch the stretched hand when they come up.
Split and sprint:
This drill involves a split—a short hop in the same spot with feet apart—and then breaking into a sprint, running forward as fast as you can.
Warmup Tennis Drills and Exercises
Warm up using several jump roping techniques; include single foot, double feet, or alternating feet positions.
Stand with legs body width apart. Squat down and then jump as high as you can, keeping legs straight for landing. Once on your feet, go back to squatting and repeat the exercise fifteen times.
Sprint backward as fast as you can to one end of the field, and then jog forward, returning to the other end. Repeat the back sprints and forward jogs until satisfied.
Position two cones approximately ten yards apart. Sprint as fast as you can from the first cone to the second cone, and then slow jog back to the first cone before sprinting back again.
Ball pick up drill:
Place balls in a straight line at one end of the field. Player runs, stoops down to pick up the first ball, and then runs back to where they started to place the ball down. Exercise is repeated until all the balls have been moved.
To improve sprint speed and enable quicker turns on the court, include suicides in your routine. Best done on side-by-side tennis courts. Begin on a starting line, run to the next line then return to the starting line. Run again, going to next furthest line, and back. Continue until you’ve hit every line across the courts.
Stairs/Run up a hill:
Build up stamina and increase leg strength by running up stairs and/or hills when you encounter them.
Position your back against a wall or a pole with your legs bent at a ninety degree angle—you should look like you’re sitting in a chair. Hold this position five to ten minutes to help strengthen your thighs.
Practice tennis ‘swings’ while holding a medicine ball. Helps to strengthen player shots.
Agility Tennis Drills
Skip for height:
While keeping correct posture, skip forward. Is your knee up, extended, and flexed? When the right knee is up, the left hand should be too, and vice versa.
Square Carioca agility drill:
Put cones at each of the four corners of the court. Stand at one corner in a two point stance: knees bent and one foot in front and the other foot at the back. Put all of your weight on your front foot. Bend your elbows and place your arms on your chest. Head up. Now sprint from the first cone to the second cone. Once you get to the second cone, do the carioca until you reach the third corner. Add reverse pivots until you get to the fourth corner. Do another carioca while returning to the first cone. Repeat this drill as many times as possible.
Ladder shuffle drill:
Start with the two point stance and a ladder laid down in front of you. Jump into the first square of the ladder with both feet. Then move laterally out of the ladder with a side step. Move in and out of the squares while moving down the ladder. Stay focused and maintain your balance.
If you’re interested in seriously improving your tennis game, Elysium Tennis offers beginner coaching and personal tennis instruction with our staff pros. Contact the front office at 614.873.8749 to schedule a time.