How to Structure a High-Efficiency Tennis Lesson
Too many people go out onto the court and think that just by physically being present on the court, they will improve. This is not the case. When you go out there to practice, don’t “just rally” with your coach or training partner, as this is not similating matchplay and it’s teaching you bad habits (not attacking play). Instead, I would recommend having a high intensity lesson. Below I’ve laid out a typical lesson for me when I was training for championship tournaments.
- Warmup (15-20 Minutes) – Can be done off the court
- On-Court Warmup / Feel Development (10-15 minutes)
- Baseline Practice (15-20 minutes)
- Set cones for Deep Quadrants – 10 FH crosscourt
- 10 Deep FH DTL
- 10 Deep BH Crosscourt
- 10 Deep BH DTL
Focus on: Good height over net, Good Depth in Court, Good Topspin
Alternate Focus: Driving balls, Step into every ball, full rotation, good balance
Constant Focus: Quick Feet, Splitstep, Legs Bent, Good Balance
- Serves (20 minutes)
- Warm up shoulder from service line
- 20 serves thinking about rhythm only, warming up
- 10 Second Serves to Backhand, each side
- 10 Slices, each side
- 5 first serves, each side
Focus on: Rhythm, One Technical Thing Only.
- Optional Drills (10-15 minutes)
- Serve, splitstep, swinging volley (10 minutes)
- Serve and Volley
- Serve and Inside Out
- Stroke you are having difficulty with (15-20 minutes)
- 1 Deep crosscourt, 1 DTL Approach Shot, 1-2 Volleys (repeat 10-15 times) (10 minutes)
- 15 FH Slice DTL, 15 BH Slice DTL, Followed by 5 Fake Approach Dropshots each side
- Doubles Alley Control Drill
- Infinite volleys back and forth
- Wrap-Up and Cool Down (25 minutes)
- Put on Track Pants and Jumper
- Eat a bar / drink water
- Stretch for 20 minutes: ham strings, shoulders, quads, IT band, calves, abdominals, Triceps, Inner-Thigh, Glutes
- As soon as you get home, shower as early as possible so the cold sweat doesn’t make your muscles tighten up. Eat a good meal, maybe stretch a little more.
Total Time: Approx 1-2 Hours
This lesson structure can be tweaked depending on what you want to practice, but I heavily recommend with each practice that you start out with a warmup, structured mini-tennis, and baseline drills for depth and aggression. The Cool Down is necessary to not get injured and stay in good physical condition. Most people neglect their bodies and do not stretch, do not eat properly, and do not use ice or heat to heal. There are no immediate negative repurcussions for neglecting to stretch or cool down properly, but over time you will become very tight, scar tissue will build, your range of motion will be inhibited, and likelihood of injury will increase substantially. So make it a habit take care of yourself after practice.
Serves can be replaced with return-of-serves, by having your coach stand on the service line to simulate fast serves.
The Optional Drills can be done in any order you wish, and they would make the lesson go a bit longer.
What’s your favorite tennis drill to do during practice?