Tennis Footwork Drills

Improve your on-court speed with these exercises.

Side-Steps

David Martinez

Side-Steps

Increase endurance
Space six small cones equally along one sideline of full court. Stand on the opposite sideline, and quickly side-step—stepping right leg laterally, then bringing left foot to meet right—across the court to the first cone, then side-step back to start, leading with left leg. Step forward along the sideline, and position yourself opposite the second cone, and repeat, side-stepping to each cone and back to opposite side. Once you have side-stepped to each cone, repeat sequence, starting from the opposite side of the court. Several people can perform this drill at the same time by lining up behind each other.

The Snake

David Martinez

The Snake

Build agility and improve balance
Space six small cones equally along one sideline of the court. Start at one end of the cones and run, weaving your way through the cones, until you reach the opposite end. Then run backward in a straight line to the start.

Ball Pickups

David Martinez

Ball Pickups

Develop speed and improve deceleration
Space 10 tennis balls along base of net. Starting at baseline, sprint to net, pick up a ball, and bring it back to baseline, running backward. Place ball on baseline, then run to the net for the second ball. Repeat until all are at baseline. Take a 60-second break, then reverse the drill, taking balls from the baseline and placing them at the net.

Alley Jumps

David Martinez

Alley Jumps

Gain power
Start with feet together at the intersection of singles baseline and singles sideline. Keeping feet together the entire time, try to jump across the alley to the doubles sideline, coming as close to each line as possible. You want to jump sideways and forward, moving forward toward net. Run backward to start once you reach the net.

Cross-Court Drill

Cross-Court Drill

Improve approach shots, overhead shots, and court positioning
Hold a tennis racket, and stand, facing the net, at back right corner of court where singles sideline and baseline meet. Perform an imaginary forehand swing. Run diagonally to left corner of net, and perform an imaginary backhand volley. Turn toward the inside of the court and side-step to the left corner of court, then perform an imaginary overhead swing. Run forward to right front corner of net, and perform imaginary forehand volley. Run backward to starting corner, and repeat the drill. Click here to return to the main story.

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