Tennis is a great sport not only for staying in shape but also for social interraction. That’s why learning tennis is, for many, a way of life – I’ve seen 40 year old people picking up tennis for the first time and admitting that it became their new “addiction”: taking lots of lessons and even enrolling into local tournaments very early.
But as enjoyable as it can be, learning new skills might be boring to some. And that can be due to many reasons: the teacher/coach is not enthusiastic, they find the lessons repetitive and boring, too much instruction (“paralysis by analysis”) or just lack of coordination on their part.
Learning tennis must be done through the right amount of technical knowledge and, most importantly, fun drills and games.
As a tennis coach I’ve tried to implement in my lessons a good balance between the right amount of technical information and always make room for the fun activities.
Following is a list of “some” of my students’ favourite tennis drills and games that add variety and enjoyment to learning tennis:
– Fifty (video) is an excellent drill that promotes ground-strokes consistency.
It can be done by two players who just learned how to keep a basic rally. The two rally while counting how many times the ball travels over the net. The winner will get a number of points equal to the number or times the ball passed over the net. They continue and add the numbers until one of the players reaches fifty. I personally like it because it improves the players’ ground-strokes consistency while enjoying a friendly competition.
– High Tap (video) – to improve serve contact point and timing.
It is for beginning and even intermediate level players to get a good feel of how high the contact between ball and racquet should happen when serving. All a player needs is a high fence, a ball and racquet.
– You vs Basket (video) is another fun drill that pretty much teaches a player how to play a regular match except that he will not compete against a player; someone will feed balls to him.
The feeder will ask the player to return a certain number of balls to get a point (e.g. for five balls in, the player receives 15 – 0; failing to do that would result in 0 – 15). Playing this game is good not only for learning how to keep score (beginners) but also to improve ground-strokes (rally) under pressure.
– Game Over (video) is a great way to stay in shape while practicing forehand and backhand ground-strokes.
A feeder will send balls side to side for a player who practices this drill from the baseline. The feeding continues until the player gets exhausted chasing the balls side to side or until she says “game over!”. Excellent for all level players.
– Bounce It (video) is one of my favourite games to introduce to beginning players even from their first lesson. It develops great hand-eye coordination, good exercise and lots of fun. Players get comfortable controlling the ball and racquet.
In short, there are two or more players opposite sides and they will pass the ball over the net avoiding to have the ball roll on their side. If the ball rolls on their court the opponent receives a point. While the ball is in their court the players can bounce the ball on the racquet or down, then, whenever ready, to hit it over the net. Touching the ball by hand is not allowed; only racquet.
– Plus 20 (video) is another rally game that beginning players would enjoy. This must be played against a more experienced tennis partner.
The beginning player is required to rally with his partner; for every ball hit over the net and inside the singles court he will receive +1 point until he reaches +20. But if a mistake is made (hits the net or out) the player loses two points (-2).
It is a good drill/game to improve ground-strokes consistency under a little bit of pressure.
These are just some of the fun drills and games beginning players can enjoy but there are many more which you can discover looking through the WebTennis24’s coaches section.
Enjoy learning tennis!