5 Beginning Tennis Drills

Practice these five beginning tennis drills to develop your skills and quickly master tennis.

  1. Build dexterity with this racquet flipping drill. Repeatedly bounce a tennis ball straight up on your racquet, flipping the racquet each time to alternate between forehand and backhand. This seemingly trivial beginning tennis drill is extremely helpful. You’ll quickly develop hand eye coordination and get a feel for the racquet’s “sweet spot.” Switching forehand and backhand grips will soon become more natural, and you’ll strengthen your forearm and wrist as well. This drill can be done anytime and anywhere. Beat your record or for a real challenge, perform the drill by hitting off the side of the racquet instead of the strings.
  2. Play some wall ball. Find any wall and start hitting against it. Some parks have specialty walls that are high and enclosed, but any wall will do. Start off slow. A common mistake is to try and hit the ball hard and directly over the invisible spot where the net would be on a real court. The point of this beginning tennis drill is to become comfortable hitting the ball, not to waste time retrieving it. Bounce the ball high and soft off the wall to avoid being a one hit ball retrieving wonder. After hitting the wall, let the ball bounce once off the ground before hitting again. This mimics the baseline pace in tennis, and trains your mind to anticipate the ball’s movement.
  3. Grab a partner and play some mini tennis. Enough with the solo stuff. Grab a friend and head to a real tennis court for this beginning tennis drill. Instead of playing on the entire court however, limit yourself to one of the service boxes, the marked area in which a player must serve into. Have your partner play across you in the opposite service box. Jumping into a real game as a beginner is a recipe for one hit rallies and an eternity retrieving balls, so start small.
  4. Get warmed up with the crossover drill. Playing sports cold can lead to pulled muscles or worse. Before any strenuous exercise, it’s best to gradually warm up with some light cardio. Instead of running traditional laps however, run sideways and alternate crossing legs in front of one another. Running to your right you would cross your left leg in front of your right leg, then sidestep with your right leg, then cross your left leg behind your right leg, then sidestep with your right leg, over and over again. Beginning tennis drills that promote legwork is crucial to tennis. Warming up in this fashion prevents you from falling over yourself in a real game while running after a ball. First, practice running both left and right, then increase the difficulty by holding your racquet.
  5. Get in shape with line drills. You constantly change direction in tennis and your body needs to start and stop quickly. Similar to the last drill, begin without your racquet first, then incorporate it later. Stand in a ready position at the center of the court (open stance, ready to approach a ball hit to either side), where the lines of the two service boxes and back court intersect to form a T. Run to the front of the court, touch the ground near the net, then run back to the center of the court, returning to your ready position. Repeat this process with the back line, both sides, and the four corners of the court, each time returning to ready position at center court. For a mental workout as well as a physical one, have a friend call out locations of his choosing immediately before returning to ready position. After these last 2 beginning tennis drills you should be pretty gassed, but the effort will pay off in a real game when your opponent tires before you do.
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