Tennis Groundstroke Drills

You’ve decided to take your tennis skills to the next level, and what better way to do that than by focusing on your groundstrokes? In this article, we will explore a variety of tennis groundstroke drills that will not only improve your technique but also enhance your power, accuracy, and overall control. Whether you’re a beginner looking to strengthen your foundation or an experienced player wanting to fine-tune your skills, these drills will undoubtedly take your game to new heights. So grab your racket, step onto the court, and get ready to elevate your groundstroke game to a whole new level!

Forehand Groundstroke Drills

Forehand Crosscourt Drill

The forehand crosscourt drill is a fundamental drill that helps improve your consistency and control on your forehand groundstroke. Start by standing on the baseline of the court, facing the net. Hit the ball diagonally across the court to your opponent, aiming for the corner of the opposite baseline. Focus on keeping your grip firm, using proper footwork, and maintaining a consistent stroke technique. This drill helps you develop muscle memory and accuracy in hitting the ball crosscourt.

Forehand Down the Line Drill

The forehand down the line drill is another essential drill that focuses on hitting the ball straight down the line. Stand on the baseline, facing the net, and hit the ball with the intention of sending it parallel to the sideline on your side. This drill not only improves your ability to hit accurate shots down the line but also helps you develop awareness of court positioning and shot selection during a match.

Forehand Inside-Out Drill

The forehand inside-out drill is a great way to enhance your ability to hit powerful and controlled inside-out forehand shots. Start by standing on the baseline and visualize an imaginary target on the opposite sideline. Instead of hitting the ball crosscourt, swing your forehand with the intention of landing the ball in the imaginary target area. This drill helps you improve your footwork, balance, and timing while hitting inside-out forehands.

Forehand Approach Shot Drill

The forehand approach shot drill is designed to improve your ability to hit effective approach shots, which are shots that set you up to make a volley or an overhead smash. Stand near the baseline, and practice hitting mid-court balls with your forehand, aiming to land them deep in your opponent’s court, forcing them to make a defensive reply. This drill helps you develop control, pace, and placement on approach shots, which are crucial in transitioning from the baseline to the net.

Forehand Lob Drill

The forehand lob drill focuses on developing your ability to hit accurate and well-timed lobs. Stand near the baseline on one side of the court, and hit lobs with your forehand over your imaginary opponent at the net. The lob should be high and deep, giving you enough time to recover into a defensive position. This drill helps you improve your lob technique, timing, and decision-making skills, which are essential for handling defensive situations during a match.

Backhand Groundstroke Drills

Backhand Crosscourt Drill

The backhand crosscourt drill is similar to the forehand crosscourt drill but focuses on improving your backhand groundstroke. Stand on the baseline, facing the net, and hit the ball diagonally across the court to your opponent’s backhand side. Concentrate on maintaining a firm grip, using proper footwork, and executing a consistent backhand technique. This drill helps you develop accuracy, control, and confidence in your backhand shots.

Backhand Down the Line Drill

The backhand down the line drill is a valuable drill for honing your ability to hit precise backhand shots down the line. Stand on the baseline, facing the net, and hit the ball parallel to the sideline on your side. Focus on generating power and maintain a smooth backswing to create a straight and powerful shot. This drill enhances your backhand accuracy and teaches you how to exploit open spaces on the court.

Backhand Inside-Out Drill

The backhand inside-out drill aims to improve your ability to hit inside-out backhand shots with accuracy and power. Stand on the baseline and visualize an imaginary target on the opposite sideline. Instead of hitting the ball crosscourt, swing your backhand with the intention of landing it in the imaginary target area. This drill enhances your footwork, timing, and control while hitting inside-out backhands.

Backhand Approach Shot Drill

The backhand approach shot drill helps you develop the necessary skills to execute backhand approach shots effectively. Stand near the baseline and practice hitting mid-court balls with your backhand, aiming to land them deep in your opponent’s court. This drill improves your control and placement on backhand approach shots, allowing you to set up for easy volleys or overhead smashes.

Backhand Lob Drill

The backhand lob drill allows you to work on hitting accurate and well-timed lobs with your backhand. Stand near the baseline on one side of the court, and hit high and deep lobs over your imaginary opponent at the net. Focus on executing a smooth backhand technique and hitting the ball with sufficient height and depth. This drill improves your backhand lob technique, timing, and decision-making abilities.

Tennis Groundstroke Drills

Agility and Footwork Drills

Ladder Footwork Drill

The ladder footwork drill is an excellent exercise for improving your footwork speed and agility on the tennis court. Lay a ladder flat on the ground, and stand at one end. Step into the first square of the ladder with your right foot, followed by your left foot. Then quickly move your right foot to the side and step into the second square, followed by your left foot. Continue this pattern, moving laterally through the ladder as quickly as possible. This drill enhances your footwork coordination and helps you react quickly to balls on the court.

Cone Agility Drill

The cone agility drill focuses on enhancing your quickness and change of direction on the tennis court. Set up several cones in a zigzag pattern on the court. Start at one end and sprint towards the first cone. Side shuffle to the next cone, then turn and sprint to the cone after that. Repeat this pattern until you reach the end of the cones. This drill improves your lateral movement, acceleration, and deceleration, allowing you to cover the court with agility.

Side Shuffle Drill

The side shuffle drill helps you develop your lateral movement and change of direction on the tennis court. Start at one end of the baseline and side shuffle to one side of the court. Then, shuffle to the opposite side of the court, moving laterally along the baseline. Repeat this pattern several times, focusing on maintaining a low and athletic stance. This drill improves your lateral speed, balance, and footwork in defensive and offensive situations.

Jump Rope Drill

Jumping rope is a classic exercise that improves your footwork, agility, and cardiovascular endurance. Grab a jump rope and start jumping with both feet, gradually increasing your speed. If you’re feeling more advanced, incorporate various footwork patterns like alternating feet, high knees, and side-to-side jumps. This drill not only enhances your footwork but also helps you improve your overall fitness and stamina on the court.

Speed and Reaction Drill

The speed and reaction drill challenges your quickness and reflexes on the tennis court. Have a partner stand at the net and feed you short balls randomly to both your forehand and backhand sides. Your task is to quickly react and sprint to each ball, hitting it back to your partner. This drill enhances your speed, agility, and the ability to make split-second decisions during a match.

Accuracy and Control Drills

Target Practice Drill

The target practice drill is a simple yet effective way to improve your accuracy and control on both your forehand and backhand groundstrokes. Set up targets on the court, such as cones or towel markers, and aim to hit the ball consistently into those targets. Start with larger targets and gradually reduce their size to challenge yourself. This drill not only sharpens your shot placement but also helps you develop mental focus and concentration.

Rallying with a Partner Drill

The rallying with a partner drill is a staple in tennis training that allows you to practice your groundstrokes in a dynamic and game-like setting. Stand on opposite sides of the court and rally the ball back and forth to each other, focusing on maintaining a consistent rhythm and hitting the ball with proper technique. This drill helps you develop consistency, shot selection, and the ability to adapt to different ball speeds and spins.

Deep Court Drill

The deep court drill challenges your ability to hit deep and powerful groundstrokes consistently. Start at the baseline, and aim to hit every groundstroke deep into your opponent’s court, close to the baseline. By consistently hitting deep shots, you put pressure on your opponent and limit their ability to create offensive opportunities. This drill improves your shot depth, power, and court positioning.

Short Court Drill

The short court drill is designed to improve your touch and finesse on your groundstrokes. Move closer to the net, and focus on hitting shorter shots that land near the service line or even closer to the net. This drill requires delicate control of your strokes and helps you develop the ability to create angles and hit effective drop shots. By practicing shorter shots, you can keep your opponents off balance and create opportunities to move forward and finish points at the net.

Consistency Drill

The consistency drill is a fundamental exercise that helps you develop a reliable and consistent groundstroke technique. Rally with a partner, aiming to hit as many consecutive shots as possible without making an unforced error. Start with a lower number of shots (e.g., 10) and gradually increase the target as you improve. This drill enhances your shot consistency, mental focus, and endurance on the court.

Tennis Groundstroke Drills

Power and Spin Drills

Medicine Ball Power Drill

The medicine ball power drill is a great way to build strength and power in your groundstrokes. Stand near the baseline and hold a medicine ball with both hands. Mimic your forehand or backhand stroke, using your hips, core, and upper body to generate power as you throw the ball diagonally across the court. This drill enhances your rotational power, allowing you to hit more powerful and explosive groundstrokes.

Weighted Racket Drill

The weighted racket drill is designed to improve your swing speed and strength on your groundstrokes. Attach wrist weights or use a weighted racket during practice. By swinging with the added resistance, you enhance your muscle strength and endurance, which translates to more powerful groundstrokes when using a regular racket. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance as your strength improves.

Topspin Drill

The topspin drill focuses on developing your ability to hit topspin shots with control and consistency. Stand on the baseline and aim to hit the ball with an upward swing, brushing up the back of the ball to generate topspin. Visualize the ball spinning forward and dropping quickly over the net. This drill helps you develop spin technique, allowing you to hit high-arching shots that bounce aggressively and create difficulties for your opponents.

Slice Drill

The slice drill is geared towards honing your ability to hit slice shots, which have a low trajectory and skid off the court. Start at the baseline, and with an open stance, brush under the ball to create backspin and maintain a low trajectory. Focus on keeping the ball low and close to the net, making it challenging for your opponent to return. This drill helps you develop the touch and finesse required for effective slice shots.

Drop Shot Drill

The drop shot drill allows you to work on your touch and precision when hitting drop shots. Stand near the baseline and aim to hit the ball with a short, soft stroke, causing it to fall just over the net and land softly near the service line. This drill improves your touch and control, allowing you to surprise your opponents with well-executed drop shots.

Improving Timing and Rhythm

Wall Hitting Drill

The wall hitting drill is an excellent way to improve your timing and rhythm on your groundstrokes. Stand close to the wall and hit the ball against it, practicing your forehand and backhand strokes. Focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm and timing your strokes to meet the ball at the optimal contact point. This drill helps you develop muscle memory and improves your hand-eye coordination.

Metronome Drill

The metronome drill is a unique exercise that helps you develop a rhythmic and consistent hitting technique. Place a metronome on the side of the court and set it to a specific tempo. As the metronome ticks, hit the ball with your groundstrokes in sync with the beat. This drill trains your timing and rhythm, allowing for more consistent and controlled shots during a match.

Shadow Swing Drill

The shadow swing drill is a simple yet effective way to practice your groundstrokes without a ball. Stand on the court and visualize hitting shots with both your forehand and backhand strokes. Focus on maintaining proper technique, footwork, and swing path. This drill helps you ingrain the correct muscle movements and improves your overall stroke mechanics.

Mirror Drill

The mirror drill allows you to monitor and refine your groundstroke technique by observing your strokes in a mirror. Set up a mirror on the side of the court and hit shots while watching yourself in the reflection. Pay attention to your grip, body positioning, and swing path, making any necessary corrections to improve your technique. This drill enhances your self-awareness and helps you develop a more effective and fluid stroke technique.

Balloon Drill

The balloon drill is a fun and engaging way to work on your timing and anticipation. Tie a balloon to the net, and hit groundstrokes, aiming to keep the balloon in the air for as long as possible. This drill challenges your timing and hand-eye coordination, as you need to make contact with the balloon at the optimal moment. It also adds an element of fun and helps you relax and enjoy your practice sessions.

Tennis Groundstroke Drills

Variation and Creativity Drills

Around-the-Cone Drill

The around-the-cone drill focuses on improving your ability to hit shots with angles and depth. Set up a cone near the sideline on one side of the court and hit shots around the cone, aiming to land the ball deep in your opponent’s court. This drill helps you develop creativity, accuracy, and control in hitting shots with different trajectories and spins.

Behind-the-Back Drill

The behind-the-back drill challenges your coordination and adds a touch of flair to your groundstrokes. Stand near the baseline and hit shots with your racket behind your back. This drill requires you to rely on your feel and proprioception, enhancing your touch and adaptability on the court. While this drill may not be practical during a match, it helps you develop a better feel for your groundstrokes.

Between-the-Legs Drill

The between-the-legs drill is a crowd-pleasing exercise that improves your improvisation and ability to hit shots from difficult positions. Drop a ball between your legs and hit it with either your forehand or backhand stroke. Focus on making clean contact with the ball, generating sufficient power and control. This drill adds creativity and variety to your practice sessions and improves your ability to handle challenging shots in real match situations.

Around-the-World Drill

The around-the-world drill challenges your footwork and movement around the court. Start at one corner of the baseline and hit shots diagonally across the court, moving from corner to corner. This drill helps improve your footwork, court coverage, and stamina. By practicing different shot angles and footwork patterns, you become better equipped to handle different game situations.

Trick Shot Drill

The trick shot drill allows you to experiment with various trick shots to enhance your shot-making skills and entertain your teammates and spectators. Practice shots like tweener (between-the-legs), behind-the-back, or around-the-pole shots. While these shots may not be suitable for every match situation, they help you develop creativity, adaptability, and the ability to think outside of the box.

Tennis Fitness and Conditioning Drills

Sprint Training Drill

Sprint training is a crucial aspect of tennis fitness that helps improve your speed and explosiveness on the court. Set up markers at various distances on the court, and sprint to each marker, focusing on quick acceleration and maintaining proper running form. This drill enhances your sprinting technique, agility, and the ability to reach balls quickly during a match.

Interval Training Drill

Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity bursts of exercise and periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. Incorporate interval training into your tennis fitness routine by performing exercises like sprints, burpees, or shuttle runs at maximum effort for a set time, followed by short recovery periods. This drill improves your cardiovascular endurance, stamina, and the ability to sustain high-intensity efforts during long rallies.

Agility Ladder Drill

The agility ladder drill is a fantastic exercise for improving your footwork, quickness, and coordination. Lay an agility ladder flat on the ground and perform various footwork patterns like two-feet in, two-feet out, sideways shuffles, and high knees. This drill challenges your agility and helps you develop quick and precise footwork, allowing you to move more effectively around the court.

Plyometric Drill

Plyometric training involves explosive movements that help improve power, speed, and overall athleticism. Incorporate exercises like box jumps, lateral hops, and jump lunges into your tennis fitness routine. These exercises increase your leg strength, explosiveness, and the ability to generate power in your groundstrokes.

Core Stability Drill

Core stability is essential for generating power and maintaining balance on the tennis court. Include exercises like planks, Russian twists, and medicine ball chops in your training routine to develop a strong and stable core. This drill enhances your rotational power, balance, and endurance, allowing you to generate more power in your groundstrokes and move efficiently on the court.

Tennis Groundstroke Drills

Mental Focus and Concentration Drills

Visualization Drill

The visualization drill enhances your mental focus and concentration on the tennis court. Before a match or practice session, find a quiet spot and visualize yourself executing perfect groundstrokes. Picture yourself hitting shots with accuracy, power, and control. This drill helps you develop mental clarity, confidence, and a positive mindset, which can greatly impact your performance.

Breathing Technique Drill

The breathing technique drill helps you manage stress and maintain focus during a match. Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing by inhaling deeply through your nose, filling your abdomen with air, and exhaling slowly through your mouth. This exercise helps reduce anxiety, improves oxygen flow to your muscles, and promotes a calm and relaxed state of mind on the court.

Pressure Point Drill

The pressure point drill simulates high-pressure situations you may encounter during a match. Set up a competitive practice session where you and your opponent play points with specific conditions, such as starting at 15-40 down. This drill helps you develop mental toughness, resilience, and the ability to stay focused under pressure.

Distractor Drill

The distractor drill aims to improve your ability to maintain concentration amidst distractions. Have a partner create distractions during your practice session, such as making noise, moving around the court, or shouting random words. Your goal is to stay focused on executing your groundstrokes without being affected by the distractions. This drill enhances your mental resilience, focus, and concentration during matches.

Goal Setting Drill

The goal setting drill involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals for your groundstroke performance. Set goals related to shot consistency, shot placement, or spin generation. Regularly evaluate your progress and make adjustments accordingly. This drill helps you maintain a sense of purpose, motivation, and direction in your groundstroke practice and performance.

Game Situations and Tactical Drills

Approach and Volley Drill

The approach and volley drill is designed to improve your ability to execute approach shots and follow up with an effective volley. Start by hitting a deep approach shot, forcing your opponent to reply defensively. Then, quickly move forward and hit a well-placed volley into an open area of the court. This drill enhances your timing, net positioning, and shot selection during attacking situations.

Crosscourt Rally Drill

The crosscourt rally drill focuses on developing consistency, control, and shot selection during a prolonged crosscourt rally. Stand on opposite sides of the court and rally the ball back and forth using controlled groundstrokes, focusing on maintaining a consistent rhythm and hitting to your opponent’s backhand side. This drill helps you improve your ability to construct points and find opportunities to attack.

Transition from Defense to Offense Drill

The transition from defense to offense drill helps you develop the skills required to quickly transition from a defensive position to an offensive one. Start by hitting a shot that forces you to retrieve a defensive ball. Then, practice recovering quickly and taking control of the point by hitting an offensive groundstroke. This drill improves your recovery, balance, and shot selection in transition situations.

Down-the-Line Attack Drill

The down-the-line attack drill focuses on developing your ability to hit aggressive shots down the line, putting your opponent on the defensive. Start by hitting crosscourt shots, luring your opponent into expecting shots in that direction. Then, quickly change the direction of your shot and hit a powerful forehand or backhand down the line. This drill enhances your shot placement, timing, and ability to exploit open spaces on the court.

Serve and Return Drill

The serve and return drill is crucial for improving your serve and return skills, which play a vital role in the outcome of a match. Practice serving with different variations and target specific areas on the court. Then, work on returning serves effectively by returning them deep and with placement. This drill enhances your serving accuracy, return consistency, and the ability to gain an advantage in the early stages of a point.

Incorporating these groundstroke drills into your tennis training regimen will undoubtedly improve your overall game. Remember to focus on proper technique, footwork, and shot selection while practicing these drills. As you continue to refine your groundstroke skills, you’ll become more confident, consistent, and effective on the tennis court. Keep practicing, stay determined, and enjoy the process of becoming a better tennis player. Happy hitting!