Has wall hitting screwed with my game?

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I have been extensively doing wall hitting on average 2-3 times a week for the whole lockdown now. (I have been using various tennis balls, from regular but flat, beginner dot and normal but used). I'm talking sometimes extensive hitting for 30min to an hour non stop. SometImes it felt like I played full matches.
Please note that I did not do mindless hitting. I have targets and tried to focus on technique, knee bend and shots I have been struggling with.

Then after the wall hitting I have also been coaching some beginner friends with mini court tennis (1 against 2) for at least another hour or more. Considering posting wall hitting vids later.

So my fitness has probably gone up, but after having played some normal tennis, I noticed my shots flying very high and far. I struggled controlling the balls which flew high and long. The balls also felt like hitting hard baseballs.

The first normal tennis week went fine...but the second felt like a disaster. I guess I'm disappointed having doing so much hard work with seeing negative results. I am a reasonable level player which altough not qualified am able to coach myself to some extent. But just thought I'd share my experience in this lockdown. I guess I'm hoping my hard work will eventually reap rewards, even though later than expected.
 

norcal

Hall of Fame
Yeah the fitness and footwork will pay off for sure, you just need to get used to 'normal' hitting again.

Wall can't create topspin so you need to get used to that again.
 

jxs653

Professional
I have a couple of occasions in which I played badly following a wall practice session prior and thought to myself hitting against wall might mess up real play. I guess I am not alone.
 
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vex

Hall of Fame
I have been extensively doing wall hitting on average 2-3 times a week for the whole lockdown now. (I have been using various tennis balls, from regular but flat, beginner dot and normal but used). I'm talking sometimes extensive hitting for 30min to an hour non stop. SometImes it felt like I played full matches.
Please note that I did not do mindless hitting. I have targets and tried to focus on technique, knee bend and shots I have been struggling with.

Then after the wall hitting I have also been coaching some beginner friends with mini court tennis (1 against 2) for at least another hour or more. Considering posting wall hitting vids later.

So my fitness has probably gone up, but after having played some normal tennis, I noticed my shots flying very high and far. I struggled controlling the balls which flew high and long. The balls also felt like hitting hard baseballs.

The first normal tennis week went fine...but the second felt like a disaster. I guess I'm disappointed having doing so much hard work with seeing negative results. I am a reasonable level player which altough not qualified am able to coach myself to some extent. But just thought I'd share my experience in this lockdown. I guess I'm hoping my hard work will eventually reap rewards, even though later than expected.
My personal experience is the wall is great for building your swing basics. You already have those obviously so for you the wall is really just a last resort for basic swing maintenance.

what the wall is terrible at is giving you feedback on pace/spin control. You can’t see where your shots are landing so its all to easy to hit really hard, see it strike the wall around net height and think “great shot!” In reality you may be hitting way to hard or without enough spin.

adding balls that aren’t fresh only makes the problem worse
 
I prefer to play "mini-tennis" with full strokes when hitting against a wall. Like OP has found out, it's hard to get realistic pace/spin with wall hitting.
 

ballmachineguy

Professional
Is it a purpose built tennis ball wall? The problem with most walls is they are perpendicular to the ground so when the ball comes back to you it is usually low. They should be angled one way or the other to promote a higher bounce. Maybe you have ingrained a "low ball" swing. If you are only letting the ball bounce once, your wait-time for the ball to get back to you has shortened considerably. Maybe you have changed the tempo of your swing to negative effect.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
Is it a purpose built tennis ball wall? The problem with most walls is they are perpendicular to the ground so when the ball comes back to you it is usually low. They should be angled one way or the other to promote a higher bounce. Maybe you have ingrained a "low ball" swing. If you are only letting the ball bounce once, your wait-time for the ball to get back to you has shortened considerably. Maybe you have changed the tempo of your swing to negative effect.
You are correct I feel...

The whole idea was for me to improve footwork and basically to hit targets. I also wanted to vary all depth and speed possibilities.

Here are some of my drills at random:

- Warming up close to the wall. First backhand then forehand then both. To prevent injuries.

- Casual hitting further from the wall. Counterpunching. Pace hitting for agressive baselining.

- Pace or slow hitting close to the wall on the rise.

- Mimic return of serve:
Hitting hard enough to almost block or swing as one would normally at a persentage crosscourt angle. I do this every second shot. SometImes dtl. Focus on quick footwork such as baby steps or split steps and shorter followthrough.

- Changing angle:
I have a drill where I have to aim for targets on the wall. Centre of the wall for cc shots, and both far sides of the wall for dtl shots. The drill would be to hit one shot dtl on the fh...then fh cc...then bh dtl and cc bh. I would repeat this continuously to purposefully change direction as long as I can. The main goal is to improve my cc shots. For some reason my inside outs are better. My cc bh is weaker than my dtl. I hit the net a lot and close the racket face too much. Also a footwork "jamming myself" problem.

- Groove my bh:
The wall hitting has definitely given me a lot more confidence on my non existent double bh. So much so that my normally strong forehand feels weaker at times, especially at warmup...which would normally be the other way around.

- just hitting targets:
Would sometimes just aim for the middle of the wall target on either bh or fh. On the left dtl target I would drill the bh or fh. Same on the right side. My club has great net players.
Aside from typical topspind or hard and flat, the bh slice was also a drill as I'd like to be able to place a low slice at net players as one normally lifts a defencive slice too much. It's not conventional but if done right can catch some players off guard.

- defensive slice lob:
My wall has a netting that absorbs shots at a lob height. I aim for that net and can rally or lob into that part with ease. The aim for this drill is confidence on touch lobs which requires composure and proper footwork.

-Volleys. Reflex and half volleys. Not much to say here.

- Playing actual points against the wall:
Very tiring. Would serve and play the point out...and always lose hehe.


The point of all the drills are so that I could handle anything thrown at me and to make my skill level rise. Apparently it didn't work.
 

rrortiz5

Rookie
Wall is amazing for on the rise backhand not so amazing for full speed forehands. Ideally you could practice abbreviated swing forehands as if you were returning a hard first serve.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
I have been extensively doing wall hitting on average 2-3 times a week for the whole lockdown now. (I have been using various tennis balls, from regular but flat, beginner dot and normal but used). I'm talking sometimes extensive hitting for 30min to an hour non stop. SometImes it felt like I played full matches.
Please note that I did not do mindless hitting. I have targets and tried to focus on technique, knee bend and shots I have been struggling with.

Then after the wall hitting I have also been coaching some beginner friends with mini court tennis (1 against 2) for at least another hour or more. Considering posting wall hitting vids later.

So my fitness has probably gone up, but after having played some normal tennis, I noticed my shots flying very high and far. I struggled controlling the balls which flew high and long. The balls also felt like hitting hard baseballs.

The first normal tennis week went fine...but the second felt like a disaster. I guess I'm disappointed having doing so much hard work with seeing negative results. I am a reasonable level player which altough not qualified am able to coach myself to some extent. But just thought I'd share my experience in this lockdown. I guess I'm hoping my hard work will eventually reap rewards, even though later than expected.
I bet you aren't getting under the ball enough.

Against the wall it is about impossible to tell if you are hitting long. I'd focus on getting under the ball more and that should probably fix you up.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
I bet you aren't getting under the ball enough.

Against the wall it is about impossible to tell if you are hitting long. I'd focus on getting under the ball more and that should probably fix you up.
I wouldn't say impossible to know if I'm hitting long. I very often know how a long shots feels compared to one that will fall in. I also have a good idea looking at the flight of the ball in relation to the spin I have added.

Saying that, I agree that due to it being intensive hitting against a wall, it's hard on the knees for me to bend as much as I'd like to. As my experience increased through the years, I'm getting away with more shots that are not technically sound. Such as being more upright than I should be....or hitting a volley with a dropped wrist. My aim is to do as much correctly as my body allows.

The last time I played I was much much better than the week before. I feel my confidence returning and I'm also making certain "touch shots" that I never would have in the past. It's as if some of those touch shots were due to the on the rise drills against the wall. Short term the wall perhaps not good...but I believe long term I will see some results.
 

RyanRF

Professional
My two issues with wall practice and groundstrokes:
  • The ball travels half of the distance it normally would between each of your hits. Therefore you have half as much time to prepare. If you are not mindful of this it can cause you to develop short, bunting type swings. Not good.
  • No feedback. The wall has a line for the net height, but you have no way of knowing how deep your shot would go in the court. Are you not using enough spin, and these shots would be going long? Are you hitting too low with too much spin, and your shots would be landing super short? Wall practice may help you find a groove, but what type of shot are you grooving?
Mixing in some wall practice with your normal practice and matches can be good. Some pros recommend it (https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/201...-monica-seles-compact-strokes-use-wall/69834/). Exclusive wall practice for an extensive amount of time is more likely to mess you up, IMO.

Back when I had access to a court+wall but no hitting partner I'd split my time in thirds:
  • 1/3 serve practice
  • 1/3 drop-fed groundstrokes over the net
  • 1/3 wall groundstrokes
 
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When you're hitting on a wall, you have to be mindful of whether your shots would actually land in the court. Otherwise, you'll develop bad habits.
 

mxmx

Hall of Fame
So basically I shouldn't have practiced extensively against a wall? And that the cons outweigh the pros?

I'm starting to think that I disagree. I know I doubted myself starting this thread, but think it depends on your level also. A beginner may not be able to adapt the same as someone who has already grooved. Yes, the first time of normal tennis was very weird. But I can already see new shots in my arsenal. Two of the best players I know are advocates of wall hitting. One of the best players (another player) plays squash also. By far not the same strokes as tennis.

I do think that wall hitting could be done wrong or right and that ones existing ability also plays a part...but I just cannot see how it will hamper ones ability overall. Also, I know my shots when they feel way long, close or in. Yes, no guarantees, but on average I know. But its hard to explain this in words.

Two of the biggest drawbacks are that the ball is not coming back with spin or with height. Also using faster balls are also needed in most drills. But with wall hitting I'm learning to deal with pace and deep balls. such as shorter backswing and being in time out in front at contact or on the rise.

Perhaps I'm protesting too much.
 

PKorda

Semi-Pro
I too have done lots of wall hitting recently. I'll say that I thought I had made some adjustments when hitting on the wall that would translate to the court but was a little disappointed when I went back on the court. There was an adjustment period when I started playing again with timing. I did feel more comfortable with my volleying that I think can benefit more than groundstrokes with wall practice. It doesn't do any harm in my opinion so no reason not to do it and I personally find it kind of fun, something to do if bored and can be decent exercise.
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
I believe, with the benefit of hindsight, that overuse of the wall when I first started has impaired my development in tennis. I'm really not a fan of it anymore.
 

Dragy

Legend
Wall drills are good along with on-court practice as long as you have a clear vision on what and why and how you practice. It can throw you off if you stuck there for to long without cross-checking with actual on-court hitting. It can ingrain improper skills if approached with moot framework - one will get good at hitting the wall in a way that the ball gets back to him, with no idea what those strokes will actually look on court.
 

ubercat

Professional
Step closer to the wall and hit upwards with a slice it will come back as topspin and you will have to use fast crossover steps to get back to hit it which will simulate a topspin ball jumping up at you
 
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