The 2020 outbreak of coronavirus forced countries around the world into a situation of a lockdown. Most activities had to be shut down and sports like tennis were no exception. So what do you do when situations like these or even some other less serious issues make it tough for you to practice your tennis on a court?
We have all had those issues. Difficulties in booking tennis courts because of the lack of availability or monetary reasons or any other reasons have been commonplace but they should never come in the way of the process of improving your tennis if you are a serious player.
What can you do if you are laid low by the aforementioned and still want to keep improving your tennis while still being at home? Surely the ‘Work From Home’ culture isn’t restricted to corporates alone, serious tennis players can also look at improving their game using the following tips.
We will keep adding to this list of tips on how to improve your tennis at home as we can begin to use some on our own or get more tennis coaches to talk to us.
Improve Your Fitness
The competitive nature of sport has made the need for fitness paramount for all players and if you are unable to book yourself a tennis court or are holed up at home for whatever reason, one of the things you could work on is your fitness.
Skipping and spot-sprinting are two of the ways of using your home to improve endurance while in order to increase arm strength, you could get yourself some basic weight-training equipment.
A one-time investment in some of this equipment would go a long way in helping you get fitter for tennis. Even better, if you are looking for weight-training at home without using any equipment, you could mix squats, push-ups, lunges and planks based on a plan drawn up specifically for you by a coach or a gym instructor.
As mentioned earlier, you can look to use a Jump Rope for skipping; five minutes of jump-roping on a daily basis goes a long way in increasing strength and stamina.
And do not forget to stretch; those muscles will thank you for years, even as it increases flexibility and strengthens connective tissues both of which going a long way in ensuring you avoid injuries.
Serve Ball Toss Practice/Shadow Swing
Shadow practicing in any sport is the act of imagining a situation, getting into the position and going ahead with the routine without the use of actual equipment or having an opponent. Many tennis players are known stand in front of a mirror to get a good look at whether they are getting into correct positions and then practicing their serve swing.
Some of the other aspects of your game you could look at is your groundstrokes, forehand and backhand. Slow them down to a level where you can notice every movement and as a result, assess the position of your body. Check whether you are transferring your weight in the correct manner, and getting into the right position and if you think something is off, you can look to tweak things around.
10 minutes of shadow serving or swinging a day should be a good start to get back into your groove, and do this for a few days, this could get ingrained in your muscle memory.
Practicing against a Wall
Once you have have practiced your shadow swing, it makes sense to do the same with a ball in place, also called “Self-Feeding” but that’s not something you can do from home. What you could do is find yourself a wall to practice in front of and try and get into the right positions.
The best bit about practicing tennis against a wall is you can mix and match almost everything; be it forehand or backhand groundstrokes or volleys, or getting the slice going. Doing this drastically improves your reflexes as well, and increases focus as you can get long rallies going – after all, as they say, nobody beat a wall in a game of tennis.
By getting far away from the wall, you can try and improve your game from the baseline while reducing the distance from it could go a long way in helping you with your net game.
The one important point to note here is before you start practicing against a wall, you need to set yourself a target. What exactly are you trying to achieve from that particular session of wall practice?
Would you like to improve your forehand or backhand? Are you looking to practice topspin or your slice? Would you want to improve your net play or rallying skills? Define it, and give yourself a stint doing exactly that against the wall.
In fact, Swiss maestro Roger Federer has admitted he used to do a lot of wall hitting as a kid, practicing with wooden racquets and white balls growing up.
Watch Tennis Videos
There are two types of videos we are referring to here.
One, you could look to watch old tennis matches from a technical standpoint, either on your own or with your coach.
Some of the biggest inspiration sportspeople get growing up is from watching their stars and that should never change; you can look to watch your favourite player again and imbibe some of the qualities, especially technical, into your game.
This was something you would have done as a kid on a subconscious level anyway but can look to improve on your game by taking down notes at different match situations and learning from the same.
The other tennis videos are some of the free YouTube tennis coaching videos. And believe us when we see there is a lot of help available online, a lot of which is free as well.
YouTube, or other such video websites, cannot obviously replace a human coach but if there’s something specific you are want to look to improve in your game, especially as a beginner, this is the best place to start. We have updated our eight most favourite tennis coaching YouTube channels for you here; you can subscribe to these and start going through to shortlist which suits you the best.
Think Hard about Your Diet
Most of us who start off with a sport, tennis or otherwise, get so engrossed with the physical side of things, it’s almost easy to forget our diet. Look for ways to get to your optimum weight, not just through exercise but also by rethinking your diet or asking a certified dietician for help.
Remember, tennis requires as much muscle as it requires stamina and flexibility, which is why your diet will play a huge role in your growth as a tennis player.