There are times when you can not really get to a tennis court. There maybe a countless reasons behind it like, it’s raining and you play on an outdoor court, your job has you doing overtime and you do not get the time to get on court, it’s snowing or you out on a vacation that has no tennis courts in your close vicinity.
You may be frustrated or you may be sad that you are not able to get your tennis fix and are craving physical exertion.
You may have missed a coaching session because of some commitment and you are looking for some way to practice your skills but can not get to the court.
Do not worry, there are ways you can improve your tennis skills at home, or your office (provided your boss allows it) or pretty much anywhere for that matter.
I used to do these drills at home or my college dorm when I could not get to the court for practice and these things improved a lot of things for me.
Benefits of Practicing at Home
When you are alone, you are your own boss. No one stops you or forces you to move at a faster pace than you want to. You have the ability to take things as fast or as slow as you want.
No one is going to judge you on anything bad you are doing, you can watch the pros and do the exact same thing they are doing without a bad coach that may induce bad habits into your game.
You have the ability to practice as long as you want and as much as you want. This can speed up your learning experience many times depending on your frequency and how much you actually have to learn the game.
The physical elements like rain, snow or wind won’t hinder most of these drills and you won’t waste a lot of gas either trying to reach the tennis court. So, it’s a win win pretty much everywhere right!
By the way, If you are an intermediate player looking to get a new racket, you can check this post out, I have tried to detail everything needed to find your perfect racket. I have some of my favorite recommendations there too, so if you like them you can try them out. How To Find A Tennis Racket For Intermediate Players
So, let’s start shall we.
Flexibility is pretty important in tennis, you need it to perform pretty much any task in the game. A good serve requires your body to be flexible and so do the Forehand and the Backhand.
I extreme situations you might have to stretch your body extremely hard just to get the ball in the court and having a good flexible body can help you achieve that without breaking too much of a sweat.
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.
Pro players stretch for 30-minute sessions, three or four times a day to keep their body in optimal playing conditions. It is great for increasing flexibility and strengthening your connective tissue.
You can stretch as much as your schedule allows, during work you can take a 5-10 mins 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 much as you want.
I do it for 15-20 minutes before going to the tennis court, it cuts down on my warmup process and I can play and enjoy more.
You do not even have to do anything extraordinary, watch this video and you’ll know that it is pretty dead simple and you do not need any extra equipment too.
Weight Lifting can be hard to start out at but once you get a steady rhythm started then nothing can stop you. Pro players use weightlifting to increase the muscles that are most used in tennis matches.
You can purchase a set of two dumbells of your choosing but be careful to not buy something that is too much for you. Most people are comfortable with 5-6 kgs and I have two 6kg ones too. The exercises that I focus on for the most part are:
- Dumbbell Rows: These are pretty awesome for the rear shoulder, biceps and your upper back. Start slowly and increase the number as per your convenience overtime
- Dumbbell Squats: These build the most important muscles in my opinion, those being your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. You need these muscles to get the most explosive movement on the court. Start with normal squats without the weights and start the weights when you get comfortable
- Crunches and Planks: Having a strong core is pretty vital for a wide range of movements like serving, hitting forehands and backhands. A strong core provides stability and strength to these movements.
- Push-ups: You do not need any weights for these cuz they are pretty much a complete workout in themselves. They build wide variety of muscles like you biceps, triceps, chest and shoulder muscles. When you hit a ripper of a forehand down the line and people cheer for you, you can thank this exercise.
- Plyometric Jumps: I love this exercise, it gets me excited to play tennis and boosts my mood infinitesimally. It actually helps in performing explosive movements from a static position. It is extremely important in matches and these jumps will improve your reaction speeds.
- Dumbbell curls: Increases your swing speed and power and gives you those good looking biceps. Start slow, so you do not get demotivated by the post exercise pain and never do them again.
Imaginary Racket Swinging
I do this one often in front of a mirror. They are also called shadow swings and you can imitate pro players right to the T with this one.
Stand in front of the mirror and start hitting imaginary shots through the air and watch yourself. You’ll start noticing a difference in your game compared to the pro players 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.
Your clothing doesn’t even matter, you can do this anywhere you want tbh. As long as your boss is ok with it ofcourse.
This is also a great warmup exercise to do when you are about to jump on the court. Opens up those forehand and backhand muscles and cuts down on the knocking period.
I do it whenever I am about to get on the court or am in a place where I won’t be able to find a tennis for a few days.
Bouncing The Ball On The Racket/ The Frying Pan
If you are a complete beginner and just getting started with tennis, it can be extremely useful to start out with the basics. And, hand eye coordination is one of those basics. Most players take this skill for granted and someone who’s a complete beginner seem to struggle with it.
The drill goes like this. 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 long and it will bounce away from your racket. This especially true for people who have little to no experience with other sports. Do not worry you’ll start to get the hang of it in less than a week and you will able to bounce the ball for very long amounts of time without breaking a sweat.
This is pretty much the same drill as the frying pan one but you switch positions and now the ball bounces between your racket and the floor/court.
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, move the racket high up sometimes and down low sometimes.
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 and then slowly decrease back to a slow dribble.
Practicing Your Ball Toss
Having a good ball toss will help you as much in the long run as it would do in the short run. As we all know the service is pretty much the bread and butter for tennis players. You don’t have a good serve, you might as well don’t play tennis at all.
Gone are the days when players could compensate for their bad serves with good groundstrokes.
One of the more 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 can have problems with the right ball toss.
Sometimes, you may toss the ball behind you or too in front of you or to the right or left extremes of your body. These bad tosses can create barriers to an otherwise good service motion.
Correcting the ball toss is very easy though because you do not need to be on the court for it and you can do it pretty much anywhere you want.
Try to toss the ball right above you, not to the right and not the left. All pro players toss the ball to their absolute top. This creates an uncertainty for the other player so they can not judge whether the player will use a flat serve, a slice serve or a topspin kick serve.
You can do it as much you want, as for me I do with a full imaginary service motion. I used to have a really bad service and after trying it out for a couple of months, I am beginning to see a stark difference compared to my old serve.
Using A Rebounder or Your Wall
I was one the poorer ones, growing up so I had to do with the wall and I am pleased to say that it works awesomely well.
The wall is literally one of the best hitting partners that one can call for. It is very dependable and never lets you down. You can start hitting with any wall you find.
Even pro players love the wall as they can practice with it without needing to find a player to hit with. You can use it to practice your groundstrokes and be amazed at the consistency that the wall provides. I was amazed at first when I started wall practicing because it was hitting better than any hitting partner I had hit with.
You can see pro players practicing with the wall with effectiveness in this video
If for some reason, you think that you hitting the wall might damage it or your neighbours might come knocking on your door filing a noise complaint. You can try a rebounder like the PowerNet 7×7 ft Portable Tennis Net Trainer. I was amazed at the convenience this rebounder provided, it provides a very consistent feel and kids absolutely love it.
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.
You can find it on Amazon by clicking the link here
Watch And Analyse Pro Players
This can be boring or entertaining, depending on how much you enjoy watching pro players. But watching and analysing are two different beasts all together.
I loved watching pro players but when it came to analysing and watching them in slow-mo over and over and over again I didn’t enjoy it at all.
But when it comes to improving your game, this is by far the best drill you can do. Pro players have their techniques down to the T. Watching them and then imitating them in your own game can add an accelerator to your game. Cutting your tennis learning time by magnitudes.
You can find different YouTube channels dedicated to analyzing different tennis techniques and you find them by simple searching for them.
As you can clearly see that there are a lot of ways for you to improve your game without even stepping on to the tennis court.
Tennis is a fun game and there is no need to make it a burden on yourself and for others.