Practicing against a wall

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by GarrettReid, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    We all have those times where NO ONE wants to play tennis. I was curious if practicing against a wall would be beneficial in anyway?
     
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  2. masterxfob

    masterxfob Semi-Pro

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    if my strokes are off, i head for the wall or get a consistent hitting partner to do some short court with.
     
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  3. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    A friend practices against the wall as he has some heel injury (reoccurring) ..as that would remove running...which was causing more damage...

    Sometimes I use it to warm-up as some of the folks I play with hate to 'waste' time warming up on court :)
     
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  4. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    It just seems like I have two kinds of games, the excellent fast paced game I have against my wall and the slow, clumsy game against people. Is there anyway I can bring those two games together? Or make my wall more player like? Lol.
     
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  5. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    Consistency, and the original version of the ball machine is what the wall provides.
     
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  6. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Make the wall move you so you can work on your footwork.

    The simplest way is to alternate between forehands and backhands.

    You can alternate crosscourt and inside out forehands to work on using your killer forehand (if this is your best groundstroke).

    You can alternate crosscourt and inside out backhands to work exclusively on your backhand if this is your weaker shot and you want to hit it and work on your footwork at the same time.

    You can volley against the wall.

    You can play "serve and volley" against the wall.

    But most of all... don't just hit the ball so that it keeps coming directly back to you. Make yourself run.
     
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  7. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    Beautiful advise. I'll defiantly try some of these things out next time I play the wall. Practicing against the wall I really seem to improve my volley (which when I started was laughable) and serves.
     
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  8. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Just keep in mind that on the backboard there is tendency to "flatten" out your strokes as you attempt to hit the ball progressively harder. This seems to work great at improving how fast the ball comes back, but when you go to play, you may find you are hitting a lot of balls long. That's because on the wall, you never know how long the ball would have landed if you had hit it that hard during a game. So the key is to retain your form hitting plenty of topspin by swinging low to high on your groundstrokes. On the court, it will only be with topspin that you will be able to smack it, and then have the topspin curve the ball down, keeping it in.
     
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  9. strontor

    strontor New User

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    The wall is a great way to warm up, but it is simply no substitute with other players. Playing with others makes you adjust and thats what the wall can't really help with. It's also a pain grabbing for balls when you hit it over the board :p
     
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  10. Tennis sensation

    Tennis sensation Hall of Fame

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    hitting against wall is great fun as u can try all the strokes (inside out, serve volley) and in the process u would eventually sharpen your reflexes which would help u in matches
     
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  11. GetBetterer

    GetBetterer Hall of Fame

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    Tennis_sensation:
    How do you practice a serve and volley? o_O
     
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  12. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    ^ You serve into the wall and run forward, picking up the ball off the first bounce.

    We had this topic a few weeks ago, the OP should try the search feature. Different people expressed a lot of different (and pretty thoughtful) opinions.

    In my view, the wall is excellent for practicing overheads, somewhat useful for volleys, a bit useful for aggressive slices, and only so-so for groundstrokes since it can ruin your feeling of court depth/geometry, angles, footwork, spin and timing.

    The wall can improve hand-eye coordination (especially after a long break) and assist in grip changes and other experiments.
     
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  13. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    Well it's not really a "wall". I practice on something more like a racquet ball court so all the balls stay pretty close by. :p
     
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  14. longnt80

    longnt80 New User

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    A few tips that I find very useful when practice with the wall:

    - Let the ball bounce twice so you don't have to rush your take back.

    - Hit with more top spin (even spinnier than when you hit on real court with a human partner)

    - Aim your ground strokes 2 to 3 meters above the net height.

    And of course, practice lots of volley when with the wall!
     
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  15. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Good points. Do you practice the overhead by bouncing the ball off the ground then off the wall?
     
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  16. HeavyDluxe

    HeavyDluxe New User

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    Just a question, thinking ahead to winter (and I hope this isn't a threadjack)...

    Has anyone tried to practice theirs strokes in a racquetball court? One 'resort' near me has indoor fitness, racquetball, and tennis. There's not really many people using either the tennis or racquetball courts and I wondered about grooving my strokes over the winter in the cubes. If I had a ball machine, I'd just do it on the courts.

    Thoughts?
     
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  17. HeavyDluxe

    HeavyDluxe New User

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    Oops... I missed this. Garrett: If is a racquetball court, how's the bounce/speed on the smoother flooring?
     
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  18. oldskool

    oldskool New User

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    You can do overhead also.
     
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  19. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Some great advice by many here.

    However, the wall, like the ball machine and even with a hitting partner can emphasize and develop poor mechanics through many factors.

    Because the wall does not "Hit" the ball back, and because the wall is effectively returning the shot as if it were the net, (not giving you the time that the ball would normally take to pass the net, bounce on the other side, and then be returned by an opponent or hitting partner), many players start becoming rushed and end up flicking at the ball to keep it going.

    The solution is to make sure you are working on the strokes you are trying to develop rather than just hitting the ball over the painted line that represents the net. Like one person mentioned, players tend to flatten the ball out more against the wall.

    Don't be afraid to let the ball bounce twice in working on being back far enough that you are not rushed. Develop the spin you are working on and then the aim.

    Put a spot on the wall if you can, (a piece of gum, a dot or a peal-and-stick decal if possible) and hit the correct strokes to this target.

    Yes, you can volley against the wall, you can work your overhead, you can work your feet, and you can work your serve and approach. But, if you hit each of these only for the sake of hitting shots against the wall without conscious effort to hit with the strokes you want to master, you will often be developing bad habits that will be difficult to break when you are on the court.
     
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  20. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    I spent countless hours hitting against a wall in my driveway when I was a kid. It is how I taught myself to play - repetition built my strokes and muscles.

    Obviously a huge difference from training on Court - but can be valuable for sure.
     
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  21. TnTBigman

    TnTBigman Professional

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    It's a much faster paced game agaisnt a wall vs an actual hitting partner. But you can't get experiece with returing spins from a wall. IMO its excellent for "quick hand" reactions for doubles when you increasingly shorten the distance between you and the wall.
     
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  22. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Wall work is great for working on techique (new or old), footwork and conditioning. You can practice groundies, volleys overheads and serves. It helps if there are sidewalls like an outdoor racquetball court so you can practice serving down the middle and out wide. The two drawbacks are that you don't get feed back on the depth of your groundies, and, although you have half as much time to prepare for the next shot, no matter how hard you hit, the pace of the ball slows down a lot by the time it comes back, so you don't get to practice hitting heavy balls with pace.

    Anyway, I have read that Borg and Federer both said they spent hours and hours and hours hitting against a wall when they were juniors.
     
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  23. Broccoli

    Broccoli New User

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  24. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I also "grew up" hitting against a wall (lonely kid) and I still like it, but I think it makes me tend to hit the ball straight ahead too much in actual play. It's fine to "make yourself run," but if you hit a decent crosscourt stroke against a wall you really shouldn't be able to reach the wall's return (or it wasn't that good a crosscourt.) You can practice with a few balls and figure on hitting a few strokes and then a crosscourt which you'll let go.

    A few people mention practicing the overhead with the wall but one question about how that's done didn't elicit any answers. I sometimes do this by smacking the ball pretty hard into the court a few feet in front of the wall so it bounces up into the wall and rebounds still going up. I find it pretty tricky, though, you're pretty close to the wall and don't have much time to prepare an overhead. A nice high wall would help, I think--I don't have one. When I go for the big bounce to get a nice high "lob" I risk bouncing it over the wall and having to go dig the ball out of the cactus where it always winds up. And what if someone's watching...:oops:
     
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  25. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    That's impressive and probably good for timing and I couldn't do it, but you don't really want to hit your "forehand" volley 2-handed and crosshanded, do you? It'd be pretty challenging to do that 1-handed, and least that close and fast.
     
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  26. HeavyDluxe

    HeavyDluxe New User

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    I think it's pretty widely agreed that, in that video, Cara is exercising her core more than practicing volleys.

    I'm sure it helps other things (hand/eye coord, etc), too, of course.
     
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  27. Broccoli

    Broccoli New User

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    I've tried that Cara Black drill, it's awesome!!! I find it impossible to control the ball like she does, so it becomes such a good drill/warmup for footwork. I need to be farther from the wall for it to work and pretty much need to split-step and hop around the whole time, I can't just stand there like she's doing. SUPER TIRING! The two-hand thing is needed otherwise it's too much strain for the wrist, and it's no big deal that that's different from a normal on-court 1Hvolley because the point here is to work on the reflexes. Try it!!!
     
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  28. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    Well the speed is a little slower then if you were playing against an opponent.
     
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  29. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    I'm probably guilty of doing this. I'll work on slowing down a bit and focusing more on my strokes. If I play against the wall again today. :/
     
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  30. film1

    film1 Semi-Pro

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    I learned to play tennis hitting against a back board so go for it.
    You can play some games and learn to keep a ball in play.
     
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  31. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    They put some tape about 3 feet above the net line on our wall. I always aim for that when I hit. Definitley helps!
     
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  32. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    To me, this is an exercise in consentration, reflexes and keeping your eye on the ball. It won't help your volleying technique, though.
     
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  33. GarrettReid

    GarrettReid Rookie

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    Do you aim above to tape or below? Because my main fault is hitting too low into the net.
     
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  34. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    I have been using a soft tennis training ball for warming up on the wall, is there any disadvantages to this?

    I find it gives me more preparation time but I am not sure if it will cause any bad habits... thoughts?
     
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  35. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    It's a box outline made from tape..about 2 feet over the net and about 2x2. I aim for the middle.
     
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  36. new_tennis_player

    new_tennis_player Banned

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    I think it's a great idea!

    Actually, the hitting wall on the courts near my apt. complex is fairly small, so if I mishit, oops, no wall, and I have to go running to retrieve.

    That's a great incentive to hit it in and not too high!

    You could also practice your serve. But you have to be prepared to bring a gazillion balls.

    Or, shadow swings I suppose, if it's raining outside.
     
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  37. aceX

    aceX Hall of Fame

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    Serve and volley? My ball usually hits the ground before I've even finished my service motion lols O_O
     
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  38. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    Yes. I have a high-enough concrete wall at my employer's parking garage. )

    I try to aim at the short area in front of it. I snap the ball to get things going, then it bounces off the ground and off the wall, forming a realistic lob (slight underspin). Then I try to get into an "smash-lob" rally.

    It can get extremely fun, but it is quite demanding physically since even small irregularities in the bounches and shot itself can lead to very different lobs that will be hard to chase down. However, even 10 minutes of hitting overheads improve timing and coordination dramatically, teach fast movement (which is the key to successful overheads) and running around backhand overhead (if possible).

    Of course, one needs to focus on split-step, body turn, tracking the ball with the non-hitting arm, racket drop & pronation - all as usual. What this exercise does not teach is real court aiming. But I believe it's very useful anyway, since the major drawback of the wall - predictable and unrealistically slow bounce - is not significant here.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
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  39. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Couple of things you might also consider.

    - use dead balls, even if you have to put a hole or two in them.

    - use a black marker on the seams so you can see spin.

    - use a hula-hoop(s) and duct tape so you have a target.
     
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  40. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    Great advice to use and follow!
     
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  41. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    There are a couple of things I have read or observed that have been helpful to me.

    I saw a lady hitting against the wall. I thought she was a good player -- good balance. I noticed something. She did a split step. I watched, and it seemed that every time the ball struck the wall, she split.

    I resolved to try this, and it was very helpful. The difficulty with a split step is remembering to do one and having it become an ingrained habit. Well, hearing that "pop" of the ball hitting the wall is the cue to split. One of my goals this fall is to hit against the wall and do that split so that it will be automatic when I play.

    The other thing I heard was that you can take a knife and punch a hole in a ball. That makes the ball totally dead and flat, so you it won't come back at you so fast. I marked that ball with a big "X" with a sharpie so I wouldn't get it mixed up with the other.
     
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  42. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

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    It's true, I often hit winners on myself when I hit against the wall, it's rather frustrating getting in a 3-shot rally. I use it to practice my defense mostly, since hitting normal groundstrokes isn't effective. The fast pace makes the ball harder to return, and you can slice and dice every ball you want without getting the stink eye from your partner :D
     
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