Once young tennis players start playing on their high school team, beginner hand-eye coordination games and drills are no longer at their skill level. As a high school tennis coach, it's time to incorporate more challenging and competitive drills into your team workouts to help your players perfect their skills and learn the subtleties of playing the game well.
This drill is designed to help your players work on their split step and volley. Have your players stand in one line, 4 feet behind the "T," which is where the center service line meets the service line. Stand on the same side of the court, 3 feet from the middle of the net with your back to the net. Have a large basket of balls by your side. Hold a ball in each hand with your arms 45 degrees out in front of your body. When you say "go," the first player in line runs toward you and split steps when she gets to the "T." At the same time, either toss the ball from your right hand 4 or 5 feet out to your right or toss the ball in your left hand 4 or 5 feet out to your left. Toss the ball at head height. Your player doesn't know which ball you plan to toss and she must quickly move diagonally toward the ball and hit a volley. Repeat with your next player and continue for 10 to 15 minutes.
Nothing But Forehands
Having quick feet is crucial in tennis. The nothing-but-forehands drill helps your player improve her movement by requiring her to hit only forehands. Have your player stand at the baseline on one side while you stand on the other side of the court. Set up two cones on your side, deep in the back corners. Feed your player several balls, some of which are easy forehands and some of which go toward her backhand. Your player must move her feet quickly to run around any backhands and hit a forehand. Have her direct her shots toward one of the cones. After a set number of feeds, repeat the drill with another player.
King and Queen of the Court
This is a classic drill that gets your players' competitive juices flowing. Designate one of your players the first king or queen. This person stands on the baseline on one side of the court while everyone else acts as a challenger and stands on the opposite side of the court. The first challenger steps up to the baseline and puts the ball into play. Depending on his or her skill level, he or she may serve or drop hit. Players play out a singles point and if the challenger wins the point, he or she becomes the new king or queen. The next challenger tries to become the new king or queen and so on. If your players are having a hard time starting the point, you can feed the ball to start the point.
Short Court Drill
Use only the four service boxes for this one-on-one drill. This drill helps players develop feel and touch for the ball while working on their movement and ball direction. Have your players start by standing diagonally across the net from each other, behind their right service box. Designate one player as the cross-court player and the other as the down-the-line player. The cross-court player starts by bouncing the ball, hitting it diagonally over the net into the box in front of the down-the-line player and then starts moving toward the left. The down-the-line player hits and directs the ball straight ahead and then starts moving toward the left. The cross-court player hits the ball diagonally across the net and starts moving toward the right. Then, the down-the-line player hits the ball straight ahead and then moves toward the right. Players continue to hit and move while directing the ball accordingly. After five minutes, have players reverse roles.