There are times when you are not able to get to a tennis court to play or practice. There could be a variety of reasons why.
It might be due to the rain, your practice partner is sick, a CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC in 2020, you have no time because of your job, it is snowing, or you have no access to any tennis courts nearby.
You may be annoyed or disheartened that you are not able to play tennis and you crave that sound when your racket smacks the tennis ball.
You might be looking for a way to practice or improve your tennis skills but have no partner or coach to help you with it.
Do not fret, there are always some ways you can improve your tennis techniques and skills at home, or anywhere. ( not as good as an actual tennis court )
I used to cut out my racket handle and bring it to the military so i could not forget the grips i was so used to swinging my tennis racket with. It helped me to not forget so when i got back to the courts it was much easier.
Benefits of practicing tennis at home
When you are by yourself, you decide what to do. No one can force you or stop you from improving at the pace you want to. You have the control to take things as quick or as slow as you want them to be.
There will be no one judging you on anything bad or good that you might be executing. You can watch professionals and copy the exact same techniques they are doing without a terrible coach that may teach you the wrong things resulting in bad habits in your tennis game.
You can control how long or how much you want to practice. This can help you by speeding up your learning ability depending on how much you practice and how much you understand the game.
Stretching at home
Flexibility is quite important in tennis, you need it to perform most of the techniques fluidly as well as keep injury free. For example, a good serve requires your body to be flexible because it contains many movements and explosive actions.
In certain extreme situations you might have to stretch your legs or body extremely far to get the ball in court and a flexible body can help you maintain your balance and strength without injuring yourself while taking such balls.
One good example is Novak Djokovic, he is very flexible and watching him get super wide balls is where his flexibility shines.
Stretching is also a great way to minimize stress injuries. I have seen countless players playing without stretching and pulling their muscles or groin just because they did not stretch properly.
Pro players stretch for 30-minute sessions both dynamic and static, one to two times a day to keep their body in optimal playing conditions. It is great for increasing flexibility and strengthening your connective tissues.
You can do static stretches as much as your schedule allows while not at the tennis court, during work you can take as short as a 5 minute break and stretch it out, no need to go to the gym if your office does not have it.
You can do it in your cubicle. Other people might just start doing it from your influence. When you are at home, you can do it as long or as much as you want.
Dynamic stretching before tennis is preferred and you can do static stretching after your tennis. Or if you like, you can do it after your dynamic stretches.
If you do not know how to stretch, just check out some videos on youtube!
Weightlifting for tennis at home
Weight lifting can be hard for some to start but once you get into it, you might just enjoy it, especially when you feel and see the improvements in your body.
Professional tennis players use weight lifting to get explosive muscles, that is why they can hit the balls so fast on the tennis court.
For a start, you can just purchase a pair of dumbbells, the weight depends on you. I would recommend 5-7 kg for men and 2-5 kg for women. Most people will be able to lift those weights. If you cant, you can start with some bottles filled with water.
These are some examples of simple exercises you can do at home.
Shoulder press: This exercises builds your shoulders so you have strong shoulders for your serves as well as good stability so they do not get injured easily.
Dumbbell Rows: This exercise is great for your rear shoulder, biceps and your upper back muscles.
Dumbbell Squats: This builds your leg muscles, from your quadriceps to your glutes and hamstrings. You need these muscles to get your explosive movement on court. It also helps you gain a lot of power in your shots as you push off the ground with more force. Start with refining your squat technique before adding weights.
Dumbbell Deadlift: This focuses on your hamstrings and glutes in you lower body to help you be more explosive as well as decelerate when stopping after sprinting.
Crunches and Planks: Having a strong core is very important in tennis, as it provides not only power but stability and balance.
Push-ups: It builds your shoulders, biceps, triceps and your chest muscles. Overall it is one of the most strength gaining exercise for your upper body only second to the pull up.
Plyometric Jumps: This variety of jump exercises greatly boost your explosive power as well as fitness. By doing plyometrics, you improve your first step speed and can get quicker to balls.
There are many more exercises like the tricep extensions, bicep curls etc. Do some research, pick a workout and start improving !
Stand in front of the mirror, no mirror is fine too! and start hitting imaginary but proper shots through the air. You’ll start noticing a difference in your game and you can start correcting yourself.
This can also tire you in just 15 minutes of doing it so I find it to be a very effective cardio workout.
It is very important to also have movement while doing shadow swings. Example: move from side to side to hit both inside out forehands and backhands.
This is also a great warm up exercise to do when you are about to jump on the court for some real practice with balls.
Bouncing The Ball On The Racket
If you are a complete tennis beginner and interested to start tennis, it can be very useful to start out with the basic of basics. Hand eye coordination is one of those basics. Most players take this skill for granted and some complete beginners seem to struggle with it, especially those who do not play any sports.
The drill: You hold your racket like you would hold a frying pan and you place the ball on top of the racket. Slowly start bouncing the ball on the racket. This drill is meant to increase your hand eye coordination.
If you are a beginner you’ll notice that you won’t be able to control the ball for very much and it will keep bouncing away from your racket strings. This especially true for newbies who have little to no experience with other sports.
Do not give up and keep going! Sooner or later you will be able to understand how to control the ball.
Dribbling the tennis ball.
This is similar to the frying pan drill but now you switch positions and now the ball bounces between your racket and the ground.
It’s like dribbling in basketball because it is pretty much the same concept just has a racket in between your hand and the ball.
Move around and try to dribble the ball the same way you would do with a basketball.
Try to do it as long as you possibly can if you are a beginner and you can increase the level of difficulty as you start getting comfortable. Start with a slow dribble and gradually increase the speed.
Practicing Your Ball Toss
Having a good ball toss will help you tremendously. We all know the service is pretty much the bread and butter for all tennis players. You don’t have a good serve, you might as well don’t play tennis at all. Unless you do not plan on playing an actual match then you can skip this.
One of the most important aspects of the serve is the ball toss, and for a complete beginner or someone who has only been playing for a few months, you will most likely struggle with this.
Try to practice tossing you ball just slightly in front of your front feet while serving, keep your toss just a grip’s length higher than your racket fully stretched out.
You can do it as much you want, as for me I do with a full shadow service motion.
Using A Rebounder or a Wall
The wall is one of the best hitting partners that one can have. It is very dependable and never lets you down. You can start hitting with any wall you find.
You can use it to practice your ground strokes and be amazed at the consistency that the wall provides. You have to be at least an intermediate level to practice against the wall.
You can practice on it as much as you want. You can even practice your serve on this, it’s a godsend for people who have problems finding hitting partners.
4. Develop Your Stamina and Footwork Skills
Tennis isn’t just about mastering your serve and hitting big ground strokes. The game also requires you to have great fitness and be quick on your feet.
Now that we have to stay at home most of the time, why not try to have a tennis home workout plan that can help improve your strength, speed and coordination.
You can also do overall body conditioning exercises by adding running drills to your solo tennis training regimen. Other activities to get your heart pumping are the following:
- jumping jacks
- high knees
- squat jumps
- agility ladder footwork drills
Improving your footwork and fitness will also help you move faster and easier during matches as well as last longer. Consistently doing all kinds of footwork on the agility ladder can help you improve your footwork execution in the long term.
Tools to improve footwork
20ft Agility Ladder & Speed Cones Training Set – Exercise Workout Equipment To Boost Fitness & Increase Quick Footwork – Kit for Soccer, Lacrosse, Hockey & Basketball – With Carry Bag & Drill Charts
Ulimate Speed Training Set – Agility Ladder, Bungee Resistance Cord, 4 Adjustable Hurdles, 12 Sport Cones and Exercise Folder – Premium Training Kit for Increased Acceleration & Speed
Crown Sporting Goods Hexagonal Ladder Set, Fluorescent Orange – Plyometric Hex Speed Rings for Agility Footwork Training & Vertical Jump Workouts, Features 6-Rungs of Hexes