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The Best 20 Tennis Drills To Do At Home [2020]

technical analysis Aug 10, 2020

By Marc Sophoulis

As a coach for over 20 years, the most common concerns I hear regarding the development of tennis players is the insufficient use of time at home. The excessive use of video games and computers, or wasted time on social media are a parent and coach’s worst nightmare when it comes to the development of children.

As a young player growing up, I struggled to get enough ‘on court’ practice time. My parents both worked multiple jobs and the only form of transport were my legs and my bike. My local club had two playable courts and most of the time they were taken. If I was to improve, I had to find a way. Or a wall.

It was interesting that when given no other option, I had to do whatever I could to improve. The era of having no internet, one television in the house, no iPad or smart phones...forced me to be creative.

When developing young players now, there are a number of 'go-to' at home tennis activities that I recommend as great ways to improve coordination, ball feel, balance and concentration.

These 20 home tennis drills are evidence that tennis can be practiced on your own, without a hitting partner or tennis court and all you need are tennis balls, a racquet and small amount of space. Oh yeah, and a wall.

As a coach I have a little motto I live by. Find ways to improve 1% everyday, giving you 365% improvement every year. Gain an edge on your opponents by making better use of every minute of your time. Especially at home.

Please note: The Volume of the activities shown will vary depending on the developmental readiness of the player completing it. Aim to do as many as you can in a row and every time you do it aim to beat your personal best scores. Do as many as you can without getting too sore in your forearm, wrist or legs. You should feel fatigue, but if pain arises stop the activity immediately.

 

1. Bounce Downs

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet to the ground. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Bounce the ball at hip level to implicitly teach yourself that the hitting zone is at your hip level.

 

2. Bounce Downs (Low)

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet to the ground and below knee height. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Bounce the ball below knee level and work on a fast hand and firm wrist.

 

3. Bounce Ups

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Bounce the ball to approximately shoulder height, keeping a firm wrist while working on lower arm stabilization.

 

4. Pancake Flips

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head, and alternating between the front and back of your racquet (without changing your grip). This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce. Also simulating changing from a forehand to backhand.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Keep the same grip and practice internal and external rotation of the forearm.

 

5. Frame Downs

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet frame to the ground. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball. This is a great activity to practice coordination from eyes to hands with a smaller surface area than the strings.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Your eyes stay focused on the impact and bounce of the ball and maintain a controlled speed.

 

6. Frame Ups

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head. Use only the frame and not the strings. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce. This is another great activity to practice coordination from eyes to hands with a smaller surface area than the strings.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Your eyes stay focused on the impact and bounce of the ball and maintain a controlled speed.

 

7. Hitting Circles

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air. Whilst the ball is in the air create a circle around it before hitting the next ball. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Circle the ball whilst it is in the air to work on coordination, speed of arm and timing.

 

8. Opposite Hand Bounce Downs

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet to the ground using your opposite hand. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen your forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball. Training the non-dominant arm is critical for the development of the double handed backhand as well as equaling the strength on both sides of the body.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Bounce the ball at hip level to implicitly teach yourself that the hitting zone is at your hip level.

 

9. Opposite Hand Bounce Ups

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head, using your non dominant arm. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen the forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce. Training the non-dominant arm is critical for the development of the double handed backhand as well as equaling the strength on both sides of the body.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Bounce the ball to approximately shoulder height keeping a firm wrist working on lower arm stabilization.

 

10. Race Track Rolls

Aim: Work on your ball control by rolling the ball on your strings around the outer-frame of your racquet. Focusing on wrist and forearm control is important to help you with your ball feel.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • You try to keep the ball on the racquet and do as many laps around the track as possible.

 

11. Opposite Hand Race Track Rolls

Aim: Work on your ball control by rolling the ball on your strings around the outer-frame of your racquet. Focusing on wrist and forearm control is important to help you with your ball feel. Training the non-dominant arm is critical for the development of the double handed backhand as well as equaling the strength on both sides of the body.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Keep your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • You try to keep the ball on the racquet and do as many laps around the track as possible.

 

12. Single Leg Bounce Downs

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet to the ground. Do this whilst standing on one leg maintaining your balance.  This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball. You will also feel yourself having to control your lower limbs to keep balance after a period of time which enhances strength and lower body control.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand on one leg, holding your balance. Alternate legs after fatigue sets in.
  • Keep your knee bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate the unilateral demands of the game of tennis. Alternate legs during the activity.
  • Bounce the ball at hip level to implicitly teach yourself that the hitting zone is at your hip level. Keep your wrist firm.

 

13. Single Leg Bounce Ups

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head. Do this whilst standing on one leg maintaining your balance.  This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen the forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball. You will also feel yourself having to control your lower limbs to keep balance after a period of time which enhances strength and lower body control.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand on one leg, holding your balance. Alternate legs after fatigue sets in.
  • Keep your knee bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate the unilateral demands of the game of tennis. Alternate legs during the activity.
  • Bounce the ball to approximately shoulder height keeping a firm wrist working on lower arm stabilization.

 

14. Squatting Bounce Ups

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen the forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce. Continue squatting whilst bouncing the ball up and coordinate a rhythm of upper and lower body movements.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • You keep a wide base of support with your feet.
  • Maintain a continuous squat whilst keeping a strong posture.
  • Bounce the ball to approximately shoulder height keeping a firm wrist working on lower arm stabilization.

 

15. Hopping Bounce Ups

Aim: Work on your ball control by bouncing the ball from your racquet into the air, no higher than your head. This can help you to maintain ball feel, strengthen forearm and wrist and keep your timing of the ball in shots that require no bounce. Continue hopping on one leg whilst bouncing the ball up and coordinate a rhythm of upper and lower body movements.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Hop on one leg continuously and alternate legs after fatigue sets in.
  • Maintain a continuous hopping whilst keeping good ball control. Maintain balance and simulate the unilateral demands of the game of tennis.
  • Bounce the ball to approximately shoulder height keeping a firm wrist working on lower arm stabilization.

 

16. Wall Volleys (Forehand & Backhand)

Aim: Volley against a wall, controlling the ball as if you were in a rally. Keeping a firm wrist and minimal wrist action. Aim to achieve as many as you can in a row without a mistake or losing control of the ball.  

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand approximately 1-2m from the wall
  • Hold a semi open stance position keeping your knees bent at approximately 110 degrees to maintain balance and simulate an on court athletic base.
  • Control the volleys at aim to achieve as many as you can in a row on the forehand side, then the backhand side. If you feel like a challenge do one forehand followed by one backhand and repeat the process continuously.

 

17. Open Stance Wall Volleys (Forehand)

Aim: Volley against a wall, controlling the ball as if you were in a rally. Keeping a firm wrist and minimal wrist action, aim to achieve as many as you can in a row without a mistake or losing control of the ball.  Your stance for this activity is in a lunge open stance helping to develop strength, balance and simulating a wide ball.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand approximately 1-2m from the wall
  • Hold an open stance lunge position keeping your back knee bent to almost the floor and keeping a strong posture.
  • Control the volleys at aim to achieve as many as you can in a row or stop when the burning in your legs becomes too much to handle.

 

18. Closed Stance Wall Volleys (Forehand)

Aim: Volley against a wall, controlling the ball as if you were in a rally. Keeping a firm wrist and minimal wrist action, aim to achieve as many as you can in a row without a mistake or losing control of the ball.  Your stance for this activity is in a lunge closed stance helping to develop strength, balance and simulating a wide volley.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand approximately 1-2m from the wall
  • Hold a closed stance lunge position keeping your back knee bent to almost the floor and keeping a strong posture.
  • Control the volleys at aim to achieve as many as you can in a row or stop when the burning in your legs becomes too much to handle.

 

19. Open Stance Wall Volleys (Backhand)

Aim: Volley against a wall, controlling the ball as if you were in a rally. Keeping a firm wrist and minimal wrist action, aim to achieve as many as you can in a row without a mistake or losing control of the ball.  Your stance for this activity is in a lunge open stance helping to develop strength, balance and simulating a wide ball.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand approximately 1-2m from the wall
  • Hold an open stance lunge position keeping your back knee bent to almost the floor and keeping a strong posture.
  • Control the volleys at aim to achieve as many as you can in a row or stop when the burning in your legs becomes too much to handle.

 

20. Closed Stance Wall Volleys (Backhand)

 

Aim: Volley against a wall, controlling the ball as if you were in a rally. Keeping a firm wrist with minimal wrist action, aim to achieve as many as you can in a row without a mistake or losing control of the ball.  Your stance for this activity is in a lunge closed stance helping to develop strength, balance and simulating a wide volley.

When completing this activity always ensure:

  • Stand approximately 1-2m from the wall
  • Hold a closed stance lunge position keeping your back knee bent to almost the floor and keeping a strong posture.
  • Control the volleys at aim to achieve as many as you can in a row or stop when the burning in your legs becomes too much to handle.

 

If you enjoyed these drills, check out www.thetennismenu.com for hundreds of activities and drills designed for coaches to get the best out of their players.

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