How To Practice Tennis At Home (Plus Other Training Tips You Need To Know)

Do you need help on how to practice tennis at home? This tutorial has got you covered! Discover tips and tricks as well as easy way to train even without a partner or the convenience of a tennis court by continuing to read below!

If for some reason you can’t play tennis outdoors probably due to a lack of an available court, a sudden rainstorm, flooding, a hurricane, or heavy snowfall, there’s still a way to practice for your next match or hone your skills!

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No partner? No problem! Even if you've just moved to a new neighborhood or if your training partner just can’t be with you, you can still play and train on your own, inside the comfort of your home!

How To Practice Tennis At Home

Needless to say, the best way to improve your skills at playing tennis, as with any other sports or skills for that matter, is to play and practice constantly, consistently, and regularly.

However, your schedule could be so hectic that the only time left on your day to practice is at night or at an inconvenient time of the day when the local tennis courts are full or already closed. The weather may also inhibit you from getting access to an outdoor venue to do your routines and drills.

So how do you keep your game sharp despite all of these challenges? You make a way, of course, and play at home! If you don’t have an idea on how to start and what you will need, you have come to the right place! Keep reading to know more!

What You Need To Follow This Tutorial

  • A tennis racket
  • Tennis Balls or foam balls (to reduce the risk of breaking anything) 
  • A ball hopper to store your balls 
  • A backboard, a wall, a tennis trainer or a ball machine 
  • A pair of tennis shoes that will fit your comfortably!

What you can do:

There are several ways to play inside your home, using different tools and equipment. The common thing among them has something to shoot the ball or bounce the ball back in replacement of a partner or opponent. Check them out:

Technique 1: Practicing With A Ball Machine

Best Tennis Ball Machine Reviews

If you have a basement, a spare room, or a garage with a large enough space, you can use a tennis ball machine. Using a ball machine allows you to hit the same speed and height of a ball many times in a row so you can fully master a single shot, like a low backhand, for instance.

Some of the more advanced ball machines available today can also feed the ball in different zones on the court. This lets you control the ball width and length as well as replicate the point play against the machine. But more importantly, it lets you customize how far the ball will go to the limited space in your home.

In tennis centers or clubs, ball machines can help you practice volleys, returns, and groundstrokes. You can also vary the velocity, direction, and spin of the ball.

For playing at home or if you’re a beginner, it is recommended to set the machine so that the balls will shoot straight to you at a low speed and minimal to no spin. You should also work one side at a time, hit forehands first then backhands.

You can even practice volleys by hitting the ball before it bounces. For advanced players, the machine can be set to deliver the ball faster and with a spin and different directions to improve the strokes, movement, and footwork.

Of course, you should still consider the space you have at home to do this and remove the stuff that could break or get in your way. To use a ball machine:

  • Step 1: Set up the ball machine to a comfortable bounce, pace, and direction based on your skills. Start on a low to intermediate speed. You can make certain adjustments as you practice.
  • Step 2: If you have a large space, you can also use target cones around to help you focus. Working on a single type of stroke repeatedly is suggested.
  • Step 3: Repeat doing this session at least once per week. As you become more consistent, adjust the machine accordingly.

Technique 2: Hit Against A Backboard Or A Wall

Similar to a ball machine, hitting against a backboard or wall helps you improve your consistency, masterstrokes, and develop muscle tone and memory. A nice way to practice at home is to place an X on the backboard or wall to act as your target using tape.

This method is great for all playing levels. For beginners, practice with 2 bounces to give you a chance to position and set up for a proper shot. One advantage of this method is that a backboard or wall never misses.

A great product that can substitute for a wall or backboard is the patent-pending Perfect Pitch Rebounder used in this video:

  • Step 1: Decide for how long or how many numbers of hits you want your session to last. Then, stand away from the backboard depending on the stroke you want to practice:
  • 20 to 25 feet for ground strokes
  • 10 to 15 feet for half-volleys 
  • 5 to 6 feet for volleys

Work on one stroke and one side at a time. For example, do forehand ground strokes for 15 minutes, standing 20 feet from the wall or backboard.

  • Step 2: Concentrate on the force you give each stroke, as the ball will bounce back as hard as you hit it. Take breaks to stretch your forearms. Set a goal of consecutive good shots or strokes and increase this number once you reach your goal. As you improve, you can move farther away from the wall to improve your strokes.
  • Step 3: After 10 to 15 minutes, shift to backhands. Do this same routine weekly.
  • Step 4: After 10 to 15 minutes, shift to backhands. Do this same routine weekly.

Technique 3: Practice With A Tennis Trainer

A tennis trainer is a cheap, handy device designed to assist you in mastering your ground strokes and improving your hand-eye coordination. Although there are many brands of tennis trainers, all of them use the same concept.

It includes a tennis ball or two, each attached to one end of kinetic rubber cord, the other end of which is anchored to a heavy base. The heavy base keeps the cord in place.

When you hit the ball, the cord stretches and retracts to get the ball back so you can strike it again. Doing this many times over improves your timing and the consistency of your strokes. A tennis trainer is also very portable and works on most hard surfaces.

You can use it in a parking lot (as shown in this video):

 or any place with a large enough space.

  • Step 1: Set your trainer on the ground and if possible, adjust the cord to a certain length to allow you to hit it but prevent it from hitting furniture or lights in your house or garage.
  • Step 2: Start by hitting fifty forehand ground strokes.
  • Step 3: Take a brief break to stretch and proceed with your workout, this time doing fifty backhand ground strokes. Increase the goal number as you improve. Do this routine weekly.

Technique 4: Practicing Your Serves

Serves are probably the most important shot or stroke in tennis. So, aside from the methods mentioned to improve your other strokes, it makes sense to also master your service. Some players even allot the most time to hit serves alone.

  • Step 1: To start practicing your serves, set up a ball hopper that can hold about 35 to 40 balls, and fill it up. Take your usual service stance and practice tossing the balls in the same location without hitting them. The key to mastering a consistent service is to master your toss. 

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) suggests treating your arm as if it is a pendulum to effectively practice your ball toss.

  • Step 2: Once your toss is already consistent, proceed to hit the balls. Set up cones or tapes to give yourself a target.
  • Step 3: Do the same serve toward the same area 20 or so times in a row before changing the direction and type of serve. Spend at least an hour on serves alone, working on your toss, the speed and force of your serve, and ball placement.

Other conditioning steps include:

  • Sprinting around the court or practice space with your racket in your hand at least five times before and after a training session. This increases your endurance and speed.
  • Running five times back and forth in the same distance as that between the net and baseline. This prepares you for chasing down a ball and running towards the net when you’re on the court. 
  • Jumping rope will improve your footwork flexibility, consistency, and endurance. Footwork is very important but is a skill that’s usually overlooked. 
  • Strength training and weightlifting will beef up and target muscles commonly used in a tennis game. Using dumbbells, you can do basic rows, squats, and curls. You can also try crunches, planks, push-ups, and plyometric jumps. All of these contribute to strengthening your power and swing speed as well as allowing you to execute explosive movements. 
  • Stretching is also important to improve your flexibility. Stretch for thirty minutes at least three to four times daily. This will also strengthen your connective tissues and help prevent injuries.

For more tips on how to practice tennis at home, check out this video:

Conclusion

Tennis is a hard sport to master, but you can easily perfect it with practice. Follow the simple steps that we have mentioned, and you can surely hone your tennis skills!

Emily Brathen
 

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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