5 Soft Tennis Ball Drills
These 5 soft tennis ball drills can help improve a player's skills. Soft tennis is a version of traditional tennis that is very popular in Asia, and has spread to Europe. Soft tennis differs from tennis in that the ball used is a soft rubber ball instead of a hard yellow rubber ball. Tennis ball drills should include all aspects of play, because play at the net is much different from play at the back of the court.
What is needed for tennis ball drills:
- At least two people
- Two racquets
- Several soft tennis balls
- A tennis court
- A ball machine/ball feeder (optional)
- Start at the back of the court, move to the center, and end at the net, all the while hitting soft tennis balls. If you have a tennis ball machine, set it up in such a way so that the balls can reach the back of the court. You or a friend should also set it up to quickly pump out balls so that another ball will be coming as you run to the center of the court and toward the net. If you are doing ball drills with a friend, have her or him hit balls in quick succession so that you get used to the speed. This drill promotes movement on the court and lets players practice different aspects of the game; it is especially good for groups.
- For a variant on the first drill, both players can rally while practicing moving from the back of the court to the net. Instead of only one player doing the drill, both players can start at the baseline, rally back and forth, and slowly move toward the net for volleys. Two of the most important parts of tennis are foot work and putting pressure on an opponent, and this drill allows players to practice both aspects of the game.
- Have a friend send up high lobs. Lobs are one of the most difficult shots to hit in the game, so it is important to incorporate lobbing ball drills. A ball machine can't be set up to throw balls up high, so this drill is where a friend really comes in handy. Your friend should hit balls very high up while you are up at the net or in the center of the court. Then you must move toward the back of the court and return the lob. Ball drills like this help both with footwork and hand-eye coordination.
- Play to "ten in a row" at the net and ten at the baseline, then repeat. If you are playing with only one other person, practice with your partner. Otherwise, players can pair up. Simply hit the ball back and forth at the net until you reach ten volleys in a row. Then move to the back of the court (baseline) and try to rally ten back and forth. Move back to the net when you have rallied ten times in a row. Ball drills like these promote accuracy.
- Volley gently back and forth across the net. Both players stand at the net with rackets out at an angle, and volley the ball with a very gentle touch. Ball drills like these are very simple, but they improve hand-eye coordination and confidence.
Tennis ball drills allow players to focus on areas where they need practice. While ball machines can help, all that is really needed for ball drills is two tennis players who will work to help each other improve.