PracticeTennis at Home
How to improve your tennis at home?
What can you do to practice tennis at home when you don’t have access to a court?
What trainingcan you do on your own without having a coach?
How can you practice whenyou’renot on court?
How much time should youspend?
Below you’ll discover the most popular, common, and effective exercise techniques and drills. You can use them to get better when you’re away from court.
Table of Contents
How many hours do you need for practice?
The number of hours or days you should practice tennis depends on how good you want to get.
Today, it is common for people competing in leagues and tournaments to train almost every other day with one day off from time to time.
For those just trying their hand at the sport as an amateur, practicing once a week should suffice, although some may play more often depending on preference.
What Solo Tennis Drills Can I Practice At Home?
The only things you need are some extra balls and some open space.
First, start by doing some gentle warm-up exercises.
I recommend everyone to start by running and jumping across the lines. Get the blood flowing and increase your core body temperature.
Running across the lines and jumping back and forth the baseline will help you with steady and improved footwork.
But, since you’re at home, use some tape on the floor as the baseline, providing you have space to jump around.
Now that you are all warmed up, let’s jump into some common Tennis Drills to practice at home.
1. The Serve Pronation
This is basic and effective drill for amateur players who want to develop forearm muscles and strengthen pronation.
You need a racket and some free space of a couple of feet.
Hold the racket in your dominant hand in front of you with the sting side facing skywards. This specific position is the Supination.
Next, you should flip the racket side to side at 180 degrees, where your backhand is on top. This is the Pronation position.
Keep repeating going from Supination to pronation and backward for at least 20 to 25 reps per set. You will start noticing a prominent change in your wrist muscles.
5 to 7 minutes of this drill will make a huge difference in your game. This is a good exercise at any time of the day before the game.
2. The Serve Toss
This exercise can help a lot in concentrating on a single object.You need an open-air space or a high ceiling if you are practicing inside.
For this exercise, take a ball in your non-dominant hand and toss the ball straight in the air above your head with your arm stretched.
As the ball leaves your hand, keep your arm straight and try to catch the ball with the same hand with keeping that arm stretched.
Keep doing this with 50 reps at a time. You can do 2 to 3 sets at a time.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to do this while standing in your natural serve position.
This drill will also help you with a straight toss as you proceed to an actual game in a court.
The more reliable and accurate you are with your serve-toss, the better service you can expect with other basic techniques included.
3. The Racket Drop
Most beginner and club players have a problem with their service. The problem is they don’t have any racket drop in their serve.
The racket drop is the inverted position of the racket when it is upside down at the end of the service when the ball leaves the racket.
This position is like the position when you scratch your back with something; hence it’salso called “scratch your back position.”
It is essential for generating the correct pace in your serve, along with the correct swing of the arm and wrist.
So here is a simple exercise for you to achieve an ideal racket drop.
Hold your racket with a conventional continental grip and stand in your natural serve position. Now raise the racket with the arm above your head with your elbow bent.
Take the arm over your head behind your back by bending your elbow further inwards till the racket touches your back. Now start raising the racket upwards by slowly straightening the elbow and moving the racket in a pronation position with your torso slightly bent.
Visualize all these moves just as you are about to hit the ball and keep going with the entire flow of the racket as it was your serve.
This exercise will help you a lot if you do 2 to 3 sets of 25 – 30 reps any time of the day. You can do it on your lawn or even watching TV if you have high ceilings.
Doing this exercise daily can help you improve your serve and move from a shallow racket drop to a deep one. This will ultimately help you increase your serve speed with less effort.
4. Bouncing the Ball on a Racket
This might be the oldest and most common exercise. To some people, this exercise is a default in their leisure time.
You need a racket and a ball with some space above your head for this exercise. So it can be done almost anywhere.
Hold the racket flat with the strings facing skywards with your forehand. Take the ball and start bouncing it in the air with your racket and don’t let it hit the ground.
Try to make your personal record and try to go as far as possible. If you want to do it 30 or 40 times, that’s good. As soon as you have completed the forehand, pronate and try to do the same with your backhand grip.
This switching will help you develop both forehand and backhand muscles.
If you want to make it a bit more challenging, do the forehand and backhand alternating when the ball is in mid-air.
This will help you increase your concentration and muscle coordination.
You can do this before every game, for 5 minutes or 2 to 3 sets of 30 reps.
Click here for a tutorial.
5. Volley to Volley
Most people enjoy doing this drill. This drill requires you to have a partner to practice with and some open space.
Both the players need to face each other holding their rackets with a continental grip. Now volley the ball mid-air and return without it touching the ground.
You get the idea, of how this exercise works. Make it into a game for yourself and your partner. Whoever lets the ball touch the ground loses.
You can do this drill with a forehand as well as a backhand. What you need to do is to keep this volley as long as you can. This drill helps you with the concentration and the control of the ball.
If your partner wants to make it a bit more challenging, you can both do this while going side to side, making it into a workout as well.
You can do this drill for 5 to 10 minutes a day and replace it with your regular workout before the game.
Click here for a tutorial.
6. The Shadow Swing
This is the simplest of all drills to explain. Whatever shots you have in mind you want to play in an actual match, pick up a racket, go to your backyard or garage and start swinging the racket in the desired fashion.
The only concern with this drill is if you have a bad technique to begin with, you would only be reinforcing the poor process with shadow practicing.
So it’s probably best to watch the shots you want to make on YouTube and go over them multiple times.
Practice with some high backhand and forehand returns. Start slow and then increase the speed.
Next, you should focus on some backhand slice. You can do each exercise for 50 reps.
To make it better, you can use a camera to record yourself while shadow practicing, and that will give you a better idea of where you need improvement and what you are lacking.
Click here for a tutorial.
7. The Overhead Shadow Stroke and Footwork
Remember all those iconic overhead smashes Roger Federer made us fall in love with. Have you ever wondered how professionals manage to execute such a shot with pinpoint perfection?
I am sure everyone has and tried it thousands of times and failed miserably.
Why is it such a difficult shot for every club player to perfect? The answer is simple; Footwork and Body Momentum.
What you need to do is to take a racket and get in the ready position. Grip the racket with the continental grip and lean a bit towards your dominant side.
Next, you raise your non-dominant hand up in the air with the racket recoiled behind your head, ready for a power stroke.
Now imagine a ball coming down just over your head. Here your non-dominant hand will serve as a guide for you to concentrate and start bringing your racket upfront along with the non-dominant hand going back down.
This continued motion of both hands will help your body make the perfect connection with the ball at the time of contact, and you will create the maximum momentum in that return smash.
Keep this load and fire position going for 20 reps or a 5-minute practice workout.
After this simple drill, make it a bit tricky and start moving 3 to 5 steps on the back foot during the shot, taking crossover steps.
You don’t want to run or walk for this shot. After you completed the swing, move back towards your original position and start doing it all over again.
8. Pivot and Rotation
This is one of the advanced shots and can prove a valuable asset for any player in multiple scenarios.
You must have seen a lot of the top players rotate during groundstrokes.
It’s subtle but visible to a keen eye player. They use their feet (a single foot in most cases), especially the toe, to rotate a bit to generate the perfect amount of power in the shot.
So I would recommend every player develop this shot as it can help you generate the power you want without actually straining your shoulder or arms as much.
What you should do is to take the racket and start with one foot.
Imagine a ball coming towards your dominant hand. Now raise the other foot a bit in the air and try to generate some momentum by bringing your stretched arm in front to hit it.
The motion of your arm will create a centripetal force which will convert into momentum, and your foot will provide you with a pivot for all this motion.
Repeat this motion for 30 reps for each foot, and increase it to 50 reps over a week or two. You will start noticing valuable results when you start playing on the court again.
You can increase the difficulty of this drill by increasing some weight to the racket, and you can also do this freestyle off of both feet straight in the air.
Click here for a tutorial.
9. Volley Drills
Here’resome volleys you can practice
As the name implies, you are using your racket to punch the ball. This doesn’t include a lot of motion, just timing.
In this volley, you use the head of your racket to kind of slice the ball a bit to generate some backspin on it and drop the ball just over the net to make it difficult for your opponent to make a return.
Again, as the name suggests, you use your racket to absorb impact, to slow your return. This volley doesn’t require you to generate any power at all. Instead, it makes you take the effects through your wrist.
This is the most strenuous of all these volleys. It requires you to generate a lot of power and put your all in the shot. You need to go farther back into the shot and create a more powerful impact.
Most of these volleys are not too hard to hit, so you can practice these as much as you want.
You can start with one volley or mix them all up. It doesn’t make much difference.
But you will observe improvement in your volley game with these drills.
Click here for a tutorial.
10. The Footwork Game
All drills I discussed above are equally important and are somehow unique.
But the most common technique and element present in all these drills is the footwork.
Many players have a good technique but can never develop a top game mainly because they don’t have a strong footwork game.
Footwork can be improved with a lot of players with drill practice. The most basic one requires you to have a partner who can throw balls for you to catch.
Stand 8 to 10 feet away from your partner and face to face. Ask them to throw the ball about 6 feet to their right. You need to catch the ball off one bounce and return to your original position, and hand over the ball.
Repeat this for both directions either alternately or consecutively.
You can do a set for 5 minutes or do it for 50 reps.
If you are home coaching your child, you can make it a game for them to break their personal best.
You can also make run across hurdles of definite lengths and distances.
How can you benefit from practicing alone?
It may seem that playing tennis alone and away from a court is pointless but believe me, and it surely isn’t. You get a lot of things by practicing in your own private space with no one to watch you.
Let’s look at some of those advantages.
Practicing in a distraction-free environment
Develop your strategy and game plan
Opportunity to work on your precision
A chance to work on your physical strength
Tips for a Better Practice Session
Here are some tips for making your practice sessions worthwhile, even though you will be practicing in your garage or on your lawn.
Always stay hydrated, especially during summer.
Always keep a close eye on your fitness, and don’t push your self too hard
Don’t deviate from the rules even if you are practicing.
Try to follow video tutorials while practicing.
Use a ball machine if you can afford one.
What disadvantages practicing at home can have?
Playing at home is perhaps the easiest way to develop your game, but it is not the best.
Here are a few reasons why
If you have no one to coach you and no video tutorials to watch, you can quickly develop bad habits.
You might not get better at all if you keep repeating the same drills at the same pace and reps daily.
You can never freely open your arms to play every shot at its full power with limited space and so no advancement on topspin shots.
You get used to the same predictable bounce and nature of the ball and will find it harder on the court next time.
Wrapping it up
While it’s best to practice on the court, it’s not always practical. If you’ve got a spare 10 minutes and want to improve your game, then practicing a few shots or drills is perfect.
Hopefully, the drills above give you some good ideas on how you can practice tennis at home alone.