Elite tennis players each have a skill or ability they’ve honed, a unique trait to their game that gives them an edge over their competition. It could be their serve, their backhand, the way they bounce the ball…. But one thing the best tennis players all have in common is agility. Agility allows you to slow down, speed up and constantly change directions - all incredibly important while on the tennis court. An agile tennis player gets to the ball faster so he or she can prepare better for perfect shots. Their body is balanced perfectly for power and accuracy, even in the most high-pressure situations.
Below are some drills to improve tennis agility - these drills will help you develop balance, explosion and quickness and coordination. Try them after a good warm up and before you start the rest of your practice.
The Skip-for-HeightThe main purpose of this drill is to increase hip extension, develop ankle fitness and strengthen flexion. The drill also enables a player to gain speed and balance.
- Skip forward as high as possible using either your left or right leg. While skipping, keep your spine in a straight position and maintain proper body posture.
- As each leg drives up, flex your hip knee and foot. The ankle of the raised leg should be level with the knee of the leg on the ground.
- Drive opposite arms into the air as you skip.
- Repeat, alternating legs.
Cone CallsThe aim of the drill is to help you develop the ability to immediately change direction, and enhance footwork and hip flexibility.
- Grab a partner and place four numbered cones in a square about 3 yards apart.
- Stand in the center of the square with your feet staggered and both your knees bent.
- Have your partner call out cone numbers, calling a different number before you reach the cone.
- Run as fast as you can to each cone called, facing the same direction the whole time.
- You should be moving forward, backward and laterally making quick changes in direction as you head to each cone called.
T-DrillThe purpose of this drill is to improve your ability to change directions quickly as well as improve your flexibility and footwork.
- Place a cone marked “1” five yards in front of your starting point and another cone marked “2” five yards to the right of your starting point. Cone 3 should be five yards to the left of your starting point. Note that cones 2 and 3 are diagonal to cone 1.
- Standing at your starting point with correct posture.
- Sprint quickly while maintaining correct body posture to cone 1.
- At this point, make a quick right turn to cone 2.
- Once you are at the cone marked 2, make a left sprint towards cone 3.
- Make a right turn and sprint pack to your starting point.
Medicine Ball Agility DrillThis drill enhances explosive power that will help you execute powerful serves and overhead shots. You’ll need a medicine ball and a wall.
- Stand in front of a wall with your feet hip-distance apart. Keep your body steady, your knees should be bent and your head up.
- Hold the medicine ball using both of your hands and place it slightly above your head.
- Hit the ball on the wall rapidly for as long as you can.
- Vary the drill by positioning one foot in front of the other and changing position.
- You can also do this drill in a kneeling position to work your core.