Tennis practice drills are an important factor involved in training to become a world class tennis player. The focus of tennis practice drills is to instill the correct body and racket movements on every tennis shot.
Tennis practice drills have long been used by players at the professional tennis level.
These tennis practice drills are only now beginning to be utilized by club players worldwide. Players are discovering that tennis practice drills are needed to achieve maximum performance in a competitive tennis environment.
There are tennis practice drills for the groundstrokes, the serves and even the tennis volley. A sampling of some tennis practice drills are stated below.
Tennis Practice Drills for the Serve
Tennis Practice Drill # 1: Flat first serves
This tennis practice drill involves working on the flat serve. The flat serve is normally used by tennis players as first serve. Thus, it is important to be able to execute this serve with power and accuracy. And this is one of the tennis practice drills that help the players achieve his/her goal. This drill is accomplished by putting cone markers on the three best target points to hit the ball. The three target points are the right and the left-hand corners of the service box and straight down the center line. Each player has to execute the drill on the ad and the deuce side of the court.
Tennis Practice Drill # 2: Slice first serves
Another part of first serve tennis practice drills is to serve a slice serve in the same manner as the first flat serve drill. This means that the player has to hit the same target points (the left and the right-hand corner of the service box and straight down the line) but this time, a slice serve is executed.
The main objective of this tennis practice drill is for the players to execute the serve perfectly. This can only be achieved if the serve surprises the opponent where a right-handed corner slice serve looks as if the ball is going directly toward the receiver’s backhand side (for right handed players) but in reality the ball can turn into the receiver’s body resulting in a difficult return. If the server hits the left-hand corner, the ball has to curve away from the receiver making the serve very hard to reach. The player must do a series of these tennis practice drills both on the ad and on the deuce side of the court.
Tennis Practice Drill # 3: Second serves with top spin.
Many players use topspin for their second serve. That’s because the topspin serve has a lower margin of error compared to other serves such as the flat serve. When a player practices the topspin second serve, he or she has to decide first the depth and the direction of the shot. Thus, to accomplish this tennis practice drill, cones will be used just like the above tennis practice drills.
Place the cones in certain points of the court where the players has to hit his/her second serve. The player has to do several tennis practice drills on this types of second serve in such a way that his movements are not easily read by the opponent. Another aspect to consider in this drill is the depth of the serve. A deep second serve is ideal for a difficult return. The player should aim the second serve to reach the back fence after is second bounce. Lastly, the serve should have a net clearance of about one meter to achieve enough depth. Continue the drill until the player consistently hits (at least five times) the target and do the drill on both sides of the service area.
Tennis Practice Drill # 4: Play against the court
The goal of this drill is to hit a accurate and powerful first serve. In case of faulty first serve, a good second serve should be hit or the player loses a point. This drill also aims to help the player maintains his or her concentration to hit a first serve for a possible ace or point or make use of a good second serve to earn a point.
The drill continues until the player scores 5 consecutive clean first and second serve. This means that 5 good first serves or second serves (in case the first serve misses) should be achieved. Or if the players still wants more, additional sets of ‘play against the court’ tennis practice drills can be added.
Tennis Groundstrokes Practice Drills
Tennis Practice Drill # 5: Thrown ball drill
The goal of this tennis practice drill is to develop the player’s groundstrokes accuracy and control. To accomplish this drill, only one player (hitter) is needed while the coach is the feeder.
The student stands on the center baseline and executes the ready position. The coach stands near the net on the same side of the court where the player is. The coach feeds the ball making sure that the ball bounces in front of the player.
The player returns using a forehand stroke but in a controlled manner so the coach can catch the ball with his/her hands. The player should be able to hit 10 successive good forehand shots before the backhand tennis practice drill is performed. The same steps are to be followed except for the change of stroke from a forehand stroke to a backhand stroke.
Tennis Practice Drill # 6: Progressive Thrown Ball
This practice drill is a continuation of the above groundstrokes tennis practice drills. This drill is a bit more complicated than the first step since the coach this time stands on the other side of the net. To start with, the coach stands near the net. As the drill progresses, the coach keeps moving away from the net until such time that he/she reaches the baseline.
The same steps should be followed where the player is required to hit 10 successive good forehand and backhand groundstrokes. Repeat these tennis practice drills if necessary. It should be noted that the drill for each groundstroke should be repeated from the start if the player misses a shot.
Tennis Practice Drill # 7: Side to side drill
These tennis practice drills aims to develop the players, quick reaction and speed. In addition, the players should also be able to master the cross-court and down the line shots in the end. For best results, two students or two players (A and B) can do the drill. Player A and B stand on the baseline on each side of the court. Player A feeds an underarm-level ball down the sideline and to the forehand side of the player B.
Player B then quickly runs towards the ball and hit a cross-court shot. Player A crosses the court to return a down the line shot and player A again returns a cross-court shot. The practice drill continues with player A doing the down the line shots while player B doing the cross-court shots. The players can switch position after several rounds.
Footwork and Coordination Tennis Practice Drills
Tennis Practice Drill # 8: Footwork square
This is one of the many tennis practice drills that helps players develop their speed and coordination. This practice drill can also be used as a warm up exercise before an actual match. To start the drill, the player must stand at the T section (the point where the center service line intersects with the service line) of the court.
The next step is for the player to run along the center service line towards the net and then do sidesteps towards the sideline, and run backwards towards the service line and sidestep again to return to the initial point. To complete the drill, the player has to do five rounds increasing the speed on the succeeding rounds.
Tennis Practice Drill # 9: Pick Up Tennis Practice Drills
This tennis practice drill helps to stretch the player’s muscles and tendons if used as a warm up exercise before a match. Its other purpose is for the enhancement of the hand-eye coordination. This set of tennis practice drills starts with the player crouching (with four balls beside him/her) on the doubles sideline, looking straight across the court. The player picks up the first ball, sidesteps and places it on the singles sideline, goes back to the original point and picks up another ball and sidesteps towards the center service line and puts the second ball there.
The player has to go back again to pick up another ball and do a series of quick sidesteps towards the far end singles sideline. The last step is for the player to pick up the last ball and put it on the far end doubles sideline. The drill continues by collecting the balls and put them together to their original positions in the same manner as when the player distributed them.
Tennis Practice Drill # 10: Jog and Slide
Jog and slide is one of the typical tennis practice drills for footwork and coordination. The player starts this drill by jogging gently around the court. As he/she finishes one round, the player positions on the service box, executes several sidesteps towards the sideline and slides when the sideline is reached and touches it. To complete this part, the player has to touch each sideline five times and jog again. To complete the drill, five rounds (both the jog and the slide and touch) has to be performed.
Tennis Practice Drills for Volleys
Closing Volley Drill
This tennis practice drill develops the player’s quick reaction, footwork, and control. The drill starts with the player at the service line. Every time the player hits one good volley shot, he/she moves one step forward until the net is reached. This drill also helps to develop the player’s skills to execute a semi-aggressive volley. The coach has to feed the ball at different heights to diversify the shots and to create difficult shots.
The T Tennis Practice Drill
This volley tennis practice drill aims to develop the players control on their volley shots. Two players play against each other but instead of volleying aggressive shots like in an actual match, their goal is to hit soft and more controlled volley shots to prevent the ball to bounce on the ground.
The two players start at the T section of the court and slowly move forward every time they hit good volleys. Each player is only allowed to have one bounce and the drill must be repeated from the beginning if one player misses twice or more. The drill ends with both players facing each other at the net.
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