1) Running Backwards – This is a great way to trip, fall, and break your wrist(s). It serves no functional purpose for the game of tennis, as you will never run backwards on the court. Instead to move backwards during a game, you turn sideways and use crossover steps or shuffle steps. If your coach asks you to practice running backwards as fast as you can, don’t. Just don’t do it. If you HAVE to do it for one reason or another, then half-ass it. I give you permission. Look over your shoulder periodically to make sure you aren’t going to hit anything, go about 30% speed, and for the love of God don’t hurt yourself.
2) Crosscourt forehand, crosscourt backhand, then repeat ad-infinitum. This is a dumb drill because it gets you practicing the wrong recovery. As mentioned in my court positioning piece, when you hit the ball crosscourt, you do not recover all the way to the center line. But practicing this drill will teach you to over-recover to the middle of the court because you know that the next ball will be coming to your other side.
3) Attack a short ball and then go back to the baseline. This is dumb drill number three because it trains you to retreat rather than attack the net and finish the point with a volley. In a game if you move into no-man’s-land to hit an attacking ball, but then retreat, your opponent can hit the ball past you by landing it deep in the court. All of a sudden you go from being on the attack to on defense.
4) Doing pushups every time you miss a shot. I remember when I was a young boy some coach at a tennis camp wanted everyone to play matches and then every time you missed a shot during your match, you had to do pushups. This was so rage-inducing, because if you are playing with any kind of aggression and going for your shots, you’re going to miss some balls. But doing pushups also makes you get really tired, as your opponent rests. It’s sort of like playing beer-pong. If you start losing, you get way worse and your opponent can win more easily. Then the push-ups start stacking if you lose 2 points in a row. Could you beat someone of equal skill if you had just done 20 pushups? I doubt it. So better make that 30 pushups. Then 40, etc. Dumb dumb dumb. There’s a time for strength conditioning, and a time for playing tennis. This drill isn’t really teaching either.