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Conditioning Tip: Season Readiness!
Are you ready for all of your opponent’s weapons? Get into tennis shape!
First order of business, buy a basket that is lightweight and easy to carry or a tennis tube for gathering balls so you don’t have to start and stop too many times and keep the tennis ball cans. Also, stop in to Game-Set-Match for all your tennis gear-racquet demos, good shoes, padded socks, a tennis bag and an easy moving and possible stylish outfit for play! Fill up a large, icy water bottle with refreshing water and lemon slices if you are interested, pick a 9 or 10am court time to avoid unnecessary fatigue and sunburn and get yourself to the court! Break out the supply of tennis balls and use the following one-man/woman drills!
- Drill: Place empty tennis ball cans just inside the service box lines-as many as you can find-on both sides of the court-and return to the opposite side of the court at the baseline. Begin on the deuce court and practice 1st serves aiming for one can at a time, moving from left to right and then move to the ad court and complete the same. Repeat for 2nd serves. Additionally, if you are so inclined to go against the ball machine, this drill can be applied to groundstrokes, volleys, drop shots, passing shots, slices and everything in between!
Skills strengthened: This works accuracy pinpointing hand-eye coordination, muscle memory and mental focus. This drill will work up a sweat while working on consistency in your serve.
- Drill: Working with the approach shot, set your racquet on the sideline and get ready to run. Break out the tennis ball cans again! Set them up on the opposite side in no man’s land, the area between the service line and the baseline. Scatter them, place them strategically, space them out but keep in mind that these are your targets for an approach shot from the other side. Now, take at least 8 balls and place them on the service line on your side of the court and grab a healthy drink of water. Stand in ready position at the baseline facing the opposing court of targets, run to the 1st ball on your side, pick it up and throw it at a ball can on the other side. Run back to the baseline, split step, choose another service line ball on your side, run to it and throw it at a new can/target and repeat until all the balls are gone! Replace the balls until all the targets have been taken down. Make sure you are aware of the balls on your side so you don’t trip!!! Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout your drill session.
Skills strengthened: This drill is for physical conditioning and a cardiovascular workout. In addition, the drill works on tight footwork in a small area and conditions your brain to think fast and make decisions. Your throw does not need to be so hard as it should be accurate. This hand-eye coordination will also ready your game!
- Drill: Taking some time for footwork will be beneficial technically and for conditioning when done properly. Start back at the baseline at the outer singles line in the deuce court, run forward up this line and touch the net, back peddle to the service box line, then side shuffle, hopping with your outside foot, (left in this case facing the net) and sliding your right foot to follow, to the center service box. Run up touch the net and back peddle back to the center of the service boxes (up the middle), side shuffle to the ad court singles line. Then back peddle all the way back to the baseline and side shuffle to the right this time to where you began! Repeat this as many time as you feel is healthy-fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath or muscle cramping should not be ignored. You can vary this drill working in moving forward and back in smaller steps and work those shuffles.
Skills strengthened: Cardio and muscle conditioning is the goal of this drill and gets you moving and covering the court. Making mental notes of how big or small your territory is key in placing and returning shots. This drill will give you sense of place on the court as well as working those legs! Enjoy!
Go hard with spirit into conditioning but listen to your body and don’t push yourself in ways that aren’t beneficial. Keep in mind that stretching, eating right, drinking plenty of water and staying safe must be included in any training. You do want to be able to play in your next match after all!
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