27 March 2020

Tennis court? Who needs a tennis court to improve?

The courts may be locked but tennis training can continue. There are so many ways you and your kids can improve your footwork, co-ordination and all round game at home you will almost begin to wonder why you need to train on court at all.

Main pic JSTEL INGBAGS Super Soft Modern Bouncing Tennis Balls Area Rugs available from Amazon

Train the kids

The LTA's Tennis at Home section shows how teach tennis to your 4-7 year olds or 8-11 year olds without leaving the house. Take Pirate Catch for instance. Using a beach ball for younger children or tennis ball and racket for older kids, call "Right'' or Left'' as you throw the ball underarm. The child has to catch the ball in their hand or their racket while standing on the nominated leg.

Drills for all 

No net? No problem. The USTA’s Net Generation suggests improvising with a step ladder on its side or simply stuff you have in the garage. Although not designed with the Coronavirus crisis in mind, the site has a good selection of training ideas that are ideal for lockdown life. Some involve two people, like Plank Passes ie passing the ball while in the core-strengthening plank position (it's not easy!). Others, like Double Volley (below) can be done on your own.

With a racket in each hand, hit the ball from one to the other. This does great things for your co-ordination and ball control.

Five step programme

Made on 20 March, three days before Prime Minister said the UK had to stay at home, Top Tennis Training suggests five great ways you can improve your tennis at home

  1. Work out to maintain your fitness. See Sport England's new Join the Movement campaign for an enormous number of on-demand fitness routines which are either free or available on extended trials. Offering everything from yoga to strength and endurance, meditation and HITT, and how to target specific areas of the body, this is an amazing resource for both children and adults.
  2. Shadow swing Practise the perfect swing, ideally in front of a mirror. Do forehands, backhands, slices and volleys. Go for quality and focus on doing each segment of each stroke well.
  3. Improve your tennis knowledge by watching old matches of the pros, and study both technique and tactics. YouTube will be your new best friend for this
  4. Practise co-ordination drills. Several examples are on the link above, including dropping two balls at the same time and catching them, or if that is too easy, bouncing one ball in one hand while you bounce a ball on your racket with the other hand (see right). Get good at this and it will improve you hand-eye co-ordination skills no end.
  5. Visualise your match. A very powerful tool, visualisation involves feeling exactly what it is like in a match, nerves, frustration and all, and playing the way you want to play, constructing the points and feeling yourself play every shot. TTT suggests imagining the first two games of a match against someone you have played or are likely to play in the future, and the last two games. We hope you win!