Though nothing can quite beat the buzz and improvements you will make on a tennis court by playing against somebody else, there are still a number of ways you can improve your tennis game without a partner, or even without a court
Practice your ball toss
As we have covered here, having a consistent ball toss is critical to improving the reliability of your serve – the foundation of your tennis game.
There are a number of drills you can use to aid your ball toss, but perhaps the most simple is outlined in the 3 step catching process below:
- Get into your normal serving position.
- Toss the ball in the air with your non-dominant hand as if you were going to serve, remembering to keep your arm straight and release at the right height.
- After the ball leaves your hand, keep your arm in the air and try to catch the ball with your arm still extended (resist the temptation to turn your hand to catch the ball. Your palm should remain facing your direction).
Hit against a wall
Hitting against a wall might not sound as fun as playing with a friend, but if you’re looking to improve your footwork while hitting balls, as an alternative to doing off court exercises, hitting against the wall can be a great option. Additionally, because the time between shots is less than when hitting on the court, it forces you to move and set up faster, so you can meet the ball on time.
This exercise is also great for practicing your volleys and control – especially if you are playing very close to the wall. A useful strategy is to put a real or imaginary “X” on the wall and see if you can hit it.
If you have access to a court, self-feeding balls is a great way to practice your placement and power. You may need a fair few balls to limit the trips back and forth from each side of the court but this video provides are a few useful tips of variations and drills you can incorporate to practice dynamically each aspect of your tennis game.
Practice shadow swinging
Most people have heard of “shadow boxing,” but not everyone has come across shadow swinging. Hopefully the clue as to how this works should be in the title – this is a tennis drill that mimics the boxing training method. To do this, use the following steps below:
- Stand in front of a mirror. Make sure you keep a safe distance away to avoid any accidents.
- Practice your groundstrokes. It’s best to alternate between forehand and backhand strokes and to start off slowly to avoid getting too close to the mirror.
- While you’re practicing your swings, keep an eye on important aspects of your technique. The mirror can help you notice parts of your game you might not be aware of, such as knee movement, foot placement, grip, and finishing position.