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Tennis Agility Exercises and Drills for Tennis Speed


Tennis agility exercises focus on the quickness, reaction time and speed in tennis. Players that practice tennis agility exercises will benefit from improved coordination, explosiveness and faster tennis speed on the court.


tennis agility exercises

Tennis agility exercises are the necessary tools for success for explosive movement in tennis


Tennis agility exercises are specifically designed for tennis players lateral, side to side and explosive movement on the tennis court. Footwork in tennis is an essential part of every seasoned tennis player and practicing tennis agility exercises is a key to becoming a better tennis player.

Today is about becoming stronger, and athletes in tennis must be physically strong, in shape and possess explosiveness. All of these attributes can be improved upon through performing a series of tennis agility exercises aimed to improve a tennis player’s performance.

Understanding Tennis Agility Exercises

One of the very important components of tennis fitness is agility. People sometimes confuse tennis agility exercises or use it interchangeably with speed. However, there is a difference between the two terms.

Speed refers to how fast a person can move along a straight line. Tennis agility pertains more to how quick a player can get moving from a stationary position, change directions or change speeds. Agility is therefore more closely related to acceleration than velocity.

There are some sports where speed may seem more important than agility and vice versa. Obviously in track sports, speed is most important. In some team sports, agility would seem more useful.

Consider the sport of basketball: it is more difficult to guard against someone who can shift directions very quickly than someone who relies solely on pure speed. The usual case however is that an agile athlete is one that can also run fast, but not every athlete who runs fast is agile.

Tennis Agility Exercises: Using it To Your Advantage

In tennis, especially in singles, speed and agility are equally important. If you play against a power player who likes to bash the ball from side to side, then you have to rely on your speed to chase down every ball.

If you are playing against a player who changes spins and speeds and mixes up the rallies with some drop shots, lobs and wrong-footing attempts, then you have to rely more on your agility. So if you really want to be a complete player, then you have to learn how to do tennis agility exercises.

Tennis Agility Exercises: The Purpose

Tennis agility exercises incorporate and emphasize a lot more lateral movement as well as forward and backward movement, which are all obviously quite important. In fact, even speed and endurance training in tennis can incorporate lateral movement.

Tennis agility exercises should be done after warming up and also before a practice hitting session, strength training session or an endurance training session. These exercises are not very physically draining but they do require quality and form so the muscles have to be fresh and properly warmed up.

Tennis Agility Exercises: Examples and Drills for Tennis Speed

The following are some examples of tennis agility exercises:

Ladder drills –these drills are performed by drawing lines on the ground in the form of a ladder. Using ropes or tapes isn’t recommended for fear that these could get entangled with the feet of the player, especially if they are children. There are some guidelines for performing these drills:

1.Always stay on the balls of your feet. Push off from the balls of the feet, not the toes.

2.Pump the hands from shoulder or chest height to hips

3.Elbows should be kept bent at 90 degrees throughout all movements

4.Arms, hands and shoulders should be relaxed

5.The head and neck should be kept still

The following are useful ladder drills that can be incorporated into a systematic program of tennis agility exercises:

Tennis Agility Exercise #1: Hop scotch drill

1.Start at the bottom of the ladder with feet about a foot apart

2.Hop to the first box, landing on one foot (for example, left foot)

3.Hop immediately to the next box landing on both feet

4.Hop immediately to the next box landing on the opposite foot (for example, right foot)

5.Hop immediately to the next box landing again on both feet

6.Continue hopping quickly in this pattern to the end of the ladder

Tennis Agility Exercise #2: In-out drill

1. Start at the bottom of the ladder with feet about a foot apart 2. Step into the first box with the left foot followed immediately by the right foot 3. Step outside second box with the left foot followed immediately by the right foot stepping out 4. Step into the third box with the left foot followed immediately by the right foot 5. Continue this sequence until the end of the ladder

Tennis Agility Exercise #3: Hop scotch drill

1.Start at the bottom of the ladder with feet about a foot apart

2.Hop to the first box, landing on one foot (for example, left foot)

3.Hop immediately to the next box landing on both feet

4.Hop immediately to the next box landing on the opposite foot (for example, right foot)

5.Hop immediately to the next box landing again on both feet

6.Continue hopping quickly in this pattern to the end of the ladder

Tennis Agility Exercise #4: Lateral ladder drill

this drill is a little more complicated but is very beneficial and should be included in a program of tennis agility exercises

1. Start outside the ladder at the bottom left side corner with feet about a foot apart

2. Step into the first box with the left foot followed immediately by the right foot

3. Step to the right outside the first box with the left foot followed immediately by the right foot

4. Step into the second box with the left foot followed by the right

5. Step to the left outside the second box with the left foot followed immediately by the right foot

6. Step into the third box with the left foot followed by the right

7. Continue this sequence until the end of the ladder

Tennis Agility Exercise #5: Tango (just like the dance)

1. Start outside the ladder at the bottom left side corner with feet about a foot apart

2. Step into the first box with the left foot crossing over the right

3. The right foot immediately steps to the right outside the ladder followed quickly by the left foot

4. Step into the second box with the right foot crossing over the left

5. The left immediately steps to the left outside the ladder followed by the right foot

Sequence goes on until the end of the ladder

Tennis Agility Exercise #6: Five count drill – this is an advanced exercise

1. Start outside the bottom of the ladder with feet about a foot apart

2. Step with the right foot outside the first box

3. Immediately step with the left foot into the first box followed by the right foot

4. Step into the second box with the left followed immediately by the right

5. Step with the left foot outside the third box

6. Step with the right foot into the third box followed by the left

7. Step into the fourth box first with the right followed by the left

8. Repeat the sequence until the end of the ladder

Tennis Agility Exercise #7: Hop scotch drill

1.Start at the bottom of the ladder with feet about a foot apart

2.Hop to the first box, landing on one foot (for example, left foot)

3.Hop immediately to the next box landing on both feet

4.Hop immediately to the next box landing on the opposite foot (for example, right foot)

5.Hop immediately to the next box landing again on both feet

6.Continue hopping quickly in this pattern to the end of the ladder

The following are additional tennis agility exercises which do not make use of the ladder pattern:

Tennis Agility Exercise #8: T Drill

1. The player starts by sitting down cross legged at the centre line about halfway between the net and the service lines, with the coach on the other side of the net.

2. When coach yells or whistles start, the player quickly shuffles laterally to the right doubles sideline and back to the centre line just as the coach feeds a ball which the player must then volley

3. Immediately after the volley, the player moves quickly laterally to the left sideline and back to the centre line where he is fed another ball to volley

4. Immediately after the volley, the player runs backward to the baseline and then back up to starting position where he again volleys another ball fed by the coach

The sequence continues

Tennis Agility Exercise #9: Sprint and shuffle – take the net down to perform this tennis agility exercise

1. The player starts at the left corner of the court

2. He quickly sprints along the doubles sideline to the service line

3. He immediately shuffles laterally along the service line to the centre T

4. He quickly sprints along the centre line to where the net should be and immediately shuffles laterally to the right net post

5. He then sprints along the sideline to the service line where he shifts direction and shuffles back to the centre T

6. He proceeds by sprinting to the baseline and finally shuffles to his left over to the corner of the court

7. The player turns around. He is now on the opposite court from where he started. Reorienting, he is also now on the right corner of the court

8. The drill is continued until he reaches his original starting position

When performing tennis agility exercises, it should be emphasized that the movements in each drill are quick and fluid, with each step being taken immediately after the other. Proper form and technique are stressed. By performing exercises like these, you will find that you will get to the ball earlier and prepare better for each shot.


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