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Self-Practice to Improve Your Tennis Skill Consistency

by
author image Michele M. Howard
Michele M. Howard began writing professionally in 2009, producing sports, fitness, home improvement and gardening articles for various websites. In addition to writing, Howard is a United States Professional Tennis Association tennis instructor and a professional racket stringer. Howard holds a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Southern Connecticut State University.
Self-Practice to Improve Your Tennis Skill Consistency
A young man is hitting a tennis ball. Photo Credit Wendy Hope/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Improving the consistency of your tennis strokes requires mental consistency and many hours of practicing the same stroke mechanics. Sometimes it is better to practice on your own without a hitting partner because it is harder to be consistent when you are trying to keep the ball in play. Practice alone with several training aids to help stay focused while grooving your strokes.

Practice with a Ball Machine

Step 1

Set up a ball machine to shoot balls out with a slow to medium pace and with a comfortable bounce. Adjust it so that there is no spin on the ball and it shoots straight ahead.

Step 2

Place target cones on the court to help you stay focused. Work on hitting one type of tennis stroke over and over. This helps you groove this one stroke.

Step 3

Repeat this practice session weekly. As your consistency improves, set the machine to shoot out more penetrating balls with spin.

Hit Against a Backboard

Step 1

Stand 15 feet from a backboard and hit forehand ground strokes for 15 minutes. Concentrating on one stroke improves your muscle memory. Your body is learning which muscles to use when you hit this shot in the future, which is important for consistency. Take a break and then continue the workout with backhands for 15 minutes.

Step 2

Take a break to stretch out your forearms. Move 25 feet away from the backboard and repeat the ground stroke workout.

Step 3

Move to within 5 feet of the backboard to work on your volleys. Start with your forehand volley. Set a reachable goal of 10 consecutive volleys. If you reach your goal, increase the number. After 10 minutes, work on your backhand volley. Repeat the backboard workout weekly.

Serve Practice

Step 1

Set up a ball hopper, large enough to hold 35 to 40 balls, and enough balls to fill it. Take your usual service stance at the baseline. Without hitting the ball, practice tossing it in the same location over and over. A consistent serve starts with a consistent toss.

Step 2

Move on to hitting serves once your toss is consistent. Set up cones in the service box to give yourself a target.

Step 3

Serve the same serve, toward the same cone 15 to 20 times before changing the type of serve or direction.

Practice with a Tennis Trainer

Step 1

Set a trainer halfway between the net and the service line. Several designs are on the market, but basically these training aids have a weighed base, a rubber cord attached to them and a practice tennis ball at the end of the cord. The trainer improves hand-eye coordination and stamina in addition to stroke consistency. When you hit the ball over the net, the cord stretches out and returns the ball to you.

Step 2

Hit 50 forehand ground strokes.

Step 3

Take a break and continue the workout with 50 backhand ground strokes. As you get better, increase the number. Repeat this workout weekly.

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