How to Practice to Improve Solo?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by SeekHeart, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. SeekHeart

    SeekHeart Rookie

    Mar 30, 2008
    I was just wondering what are somethings I can do off/on court that could improve my overall tennis game? Currently I can't generate pace and I am inconsistent with my backhand (one hand). I unfortunately have no wall to work with so that is ruled out. Thanks For the Input guys.
  2. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    You can swing without a racquet in front a mirror to improve your stroke form - it really helps a lot to be self aware of your actual stroke.

    You can also exercise to get more fit.
  3. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Mar 16, 2006
    Here and There
    Can you rent a ball machine at your club? Also, you could work out a deal with one of your clubs coaches to just hit with you for an hour. They'll end up at least giving you some instruction anyways. Its like a hitting lesson and most coaches (I know I have) charge less so its a good bargain.
  4. RyKnocks

    RyKnocks Semi-Pro

    Jul 11, 2011
    Have you checked your local junior colleges or high schools? A lot of times they'll have some outdoor handball/racquet ball courts that are perfect for wall training. Honestly, any huge wall will do, it doesn't have to be a wall specific to tennis.

    My gym has racquetball courts that I go in and use to practice my hand eye coordination and hitting the sweet spot of my racquet. It's helped immensely for putting pace on my backhand.
  5. TheIrrefutableOne

    TheIrrefutableOne New User

    Jan 14, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Legend

    Aug 12, 2004
    Well if you don't have a wall - then I guess you don't have a gym either. So we are talking about some serious limitations.

    One thing you could do which I found helpful for on court quickness is jumping rope. I am not still not a great rope jumper - but I swear to god I feel faster and quicker. You can buy a jump rope for few bucks. Then you can do a little workout like.. jump rope 50x - then do pullups.. jump rope 50x - then do body weight squats - jump rope 50 x then do body weight lunges..

    Another thing you could do is run suicides..if you have space for that. Of course few people are self motivated enough to run suicides. There is a tennis style suicide you can do..

    (From the tennis server - feet don't fail me now)..

    You can run these sprints on tennis courts, in a gym or on a large field. If you are running on tennis courts, you want to run the equivalent of 2 1/2 court widths for each sprint. I usually begin at the center service line on one court and then run until I reach the far sideline of a court that is two courts away from the starting point (thus, 2 1/2 court widths). If I am running in a gym, I run the entire length of the basketball gymnasium for each sprint. If I am running on a field, I try to run approximately 35 yards for each sprint. You can vary the distance of the sprints to suit your conditioning level.

    The idea is to never stop running or jogging. Do not walk back to the starting point in between sprints unless this is absolutely necessary. The ten sprints should be run in the following order:
    1.Sprint from the starting point to the end point at full pace. Then without stopping turn around and jog back to the starting point…make certain you jog…do not run.

    2.Repeat step 1 with another full pace, straight ahead sprint…jog back.

    3.Now "sprint" using a side step. Using quick-paced sidesteps, "run" to the end point at full speed. Do not use crossover steps. Rather bring the feet together as you move sideways…jog back. Football players who play the line frequently practice this type of movement. Try to keep your body low in a somewhat crouched position as you do these sidesteps.

    4.Repeat step 3 but this time turn around before you begin your side steps. Because you have turned your body around (if you were facing North in step 3, you are now facing South in step four) you will in effect be"sprinting" in the opposite direction…jog back.

    5.Now, you sprint backwards making certain to stay on your toes and to pump your arms as you move. Be careful that you path is clear of any debris before you run this backwards sprint as you will not be looking in the direction that you are moving. Pay attention to when you have passed the end point. Stop. Then, jog back.

    6.Repeat step 1 with a full out, forward running sprint…jog back.

    7.Now we will do a sideways sprint as in step 3, but this time we will use crossover steps. A crossover step is when one foot moves in front of the other as you move sideways. Frequently in tennis we need to use a crossover step when we recover quickly from being pulled wide by an opponent’s shot. Don’ t be afraid to really try to move fast as you do this sprint…jog back.

    8.As was the case in step 4, we want to move sideways, but in the opposite direction. To achieve this, simply turn around and do the crossover step . As was the case in step 4, because you have turned around, you are effectively moving in the opposite direction…jog back.

    9.Repeat step 5…jog back.

    10.Repeat step 1…jog back.

    Granted most people are not motivated enough to do this nor do we have a spot really suited for this..
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2011
  7. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

    Feb 28, 2011
    serve lots of balls, and do lots of laps around the courts.
  8. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Jun 22, 2007
    Shadow swinging with a mirror or using a camera to document and adjust your shadow swinging can be helpful. For example, getting a full unit-turn for your forehand is something you can work on by shadow swinging. Some people say you need 2000 repetitions of something in order to make it a habit. You can practice a lot of these repetitions off of the court.
  9. 6-2/6-4/6-0

    6-2/6-4/6-0 Semi-Pro

    Jun 2, 2011
    about 5000 feet up...
    I have an old racket that I cut some cardboard out and made pieces that fit tightly on each side of the racket face, then I took a few pieces of tape and secured the cardboard in place. I take practice swings with the covered racket when I'm talking on the phone at the office. The additional resistance builds strength and speeds muscle memory, so make sure that you are using good form and that you have smooth, consistent air resistance on the face of the racket.

    Doing this has definitely improved my groundstrokes this year. They used to be rather inconsistent and I felt more rushed to get to the net where I felt more comfortable than the baseline. Now I can sit back and wait for my opening to approach, or just tee-off when I get a sitter in the mid-court.

    Good luck.
  10. SeekHeart

    SeekHeart Rookie

    Mar 30, 2008
    My school does have a gym that has racquetball courts so I guess I can hit those up. I'm not exactly certain what I should do with the wall other than just continuously hitting it?
  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

    Oct 14, 2009
    The Peak of Good Living
  12. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Jun 18, 2004
    Throw things!
  13. snowpuppy

    snowpuppy Semi-Pro

    Aug 5, 2004
    The obvious and actually most practical thing is improve your fitness. If you are lucky you can find some tennis workout plans on the web and if not then training for a similar sport like basketball. Aside from that there isn't much to improve your technical skills in tennis as... well you need to play tennis to improve tennis! If you have the space in your home, you can try to get a foam ball to do volleys at home. Aside from that you can try to shadow swing with practice aids like the leverage band (i think by one of Bolleterri coachs?) or use something like the eye coach for you practice swings.

    Good luck
  14. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Jun 18, 2004
    And of course, throw things. Foam balls agaist the wall, footballs, play catch with the kids, etc. If you make an effort to throw a lot your serve will be better next year.
  15. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Legend

    Feb 17, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    High Speed Video

    The higher velocity parts of a tennis stroke are too fast to see directly or with standard video rates of 30 fps. 60 fps is very useful. For best results consider high speed video(HSV) in the 120-250 fps range.

    For high speed video outdoors lighting in direct sunlight is always very adequate. But taking HSV on indoor courts with only about 1 or 2% of the illumination level of direct sunlight is more limited and will have more motion blur - still very useful for analysis.

    Kinovea is a free open source software for direct side-by-side comparison of stroke videos - yours to a pros, etc.
  16. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Apr 20, 2010
    Points for wall training:

    1. When hitting groundstrokes, only hit 1 or 2 balls. Basically, hit the feed and then execute 1 really good stroke. Hitting on the 1st bounce off a wall is far faster than normal on court hitting. Sometimes, I will do 2 shots - feed to forehand, hit forehand crosscourt, and then hit backhand.
    2. Stand-in close to wall and practice volleys and 1/2 volleys. Again, just hit 1 or 2 balls past the feed.
    3. Stand-in close to wall and practice overheads. With an overhand motion, drive ball down in front of wall so it bounces up and hits the wall going upward. It should then launch about 15 feet into the air and over you head. Smash it. Angle some to your overhead smash side and angle some to your backhand side smash.

    Serve drills:
    1. get a hopper and hit 100-200 serves about 1 or 2 times a week.
    2. Try hitting serves to spots.
    3. try hitting serves with different spins.
    4. make up games where you serve points like in a match with 1st and 2nd serves and alternating service boxes. Tally 1st serves in and double faults while you do this. Try to get 10 1st serves before you get 1 double fault. 10 1st serves with 1 DF isn't bad but 10/0 should be the goal. 10/2 is a failure.
    5. Try to hit 10 2nd serves in a row without a miss alternating deuce/add serves.
  17. egilgrim

    egilgrim New User

    Aug 11, 2010
    To practice your serve and volley, go get yourself a pallet and place it angled just slightly upwards (use a stick or something to lean the pallet on) in one of the corners of the servicebox. Make sure you don't place it on the line, but a little inside, just try it out and adjust as you go. Then go pick up a hopper of balls and serve at the pallet. When the ball comes back try to run forwards and hit it as a volley to a target you have placed somewhere in the court.

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