This simple drill builds speed, ball/racket control and reaction time – whilst offering variations to increase and decrease the difficulty to accommodate different players. So, it’s a great activity to include when you’re working with groups of equal or mixed abilities.
Speed & reactions drill – Variation 1
For the base variation of this speed & reactions drill, players must run towards the ball, tap it gently up with their racket and then catch it – before they reach the service line.
As the player runs at full speed towards a short ball, like a drop shot), they’re imagining that they’re going to play the most common return – which is a drop shot back. So, this drill is building the skill to run very quickly towards a ball that they’ve got to control when they get there.
Speed & reactions drill – Variation 2
In the second variation, players must hit the ball UP as if they were going to lob the ball, and then catch it – before they reach the service line.
As the player runs at full speed towards the short ball at the net, again probably a drop shot, instead of just tapping the ball back over, they’re going to lob their opponent. This drill is building the skill level to do that.
Speed & reactions drill – Variation 3
When you have players with different skill levels – one faster, one slower, you can vary the challenge.
- Option A – drop the ball from higher up to give the slower player longer to get to the ball.
- Option B – drop the ball from in front you, closer to the player, to reduce the distance the slower player has to run.
Other drills on Tennis(24/7)
- Drill: Speed & reactions from the baseline
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- Starting with a bang: junior’s warm-up routines
- Video Training Series: 10 Step Rally
- Nick Jacques’ Tape That Warm-up Exercise (video)
- Quick Tip! Developing Topspin
- Quick Coaching Tip – Keeping the racket on the ball (Video)
- First step to building receiving skills in young players (video)
- Change of Direction: Developing Awareness of Space and Angles (video)
- Mark’s session in Romania on correcting ball toss on the serve