4 exercises to help make you faster on the tennis court

Great hand-eye coordination is a must for tennis players, but so is footwork. To win a match, players must be able to get to every ball, which requires good speed. There are many conditioning exercises you can do to get faster on the tennis court. Here are four of them.

4 exercises to help make you faster on the tennis court

1. Shuttle sprints

Shuttle sprints require tennis players to run from a certain court line to another, then back.

  • Tennis players should run these lines at full speed, then increase the distance they run as the exercise goes on.

To run a shuttle sprint
First, start at the doubles sideline on one side of the court. Then, sprint to the next court line in front of you (the singles sideline) and back to the doubles sideline.

  • Repeat the sprinting exercise by running to the centre service line and back; the opposite side singles sideline and back; then the opposite doubles sideline and back.

This exercise helps you increase your endurance and learn how to change directions quickly.

2. Ball throws

Doing ball throws for tennis requires a partner – so you'll need a friend and a basket of balls.

  • Start at the baseline with your eyes closed.
  • Have your friend throw a ball to you and then yell for you to open your eyes as the ball is bouncing.
  • As you see it bounce, run towards it in anticipation of swinging your racket to connect with the ball. The intention is to return it over the net.

This drill will help speed up your reaction time and refine your footwork for getting to balls comfortably when you're not ready or in position.

3. Ladder drills

For ladder drills, you'll need a rope ladder or a cloth ladder – the kind used for athletic practice.

  • Place the ladder on the ground. Then, start at one end of the ladder and run through it, stepping only one foot in each square of the ladder.
  • Repeat the drill, stepping two feet inside each square.
  • You can also run ladder drills by shuffling the ladder sideways and placing one foot in each hole, or by going diagonally back and forth across the ladder, stepping both feet in each hole and alternating from the left side of the ladder to the right.

This is one of the best exercises for developing very fast footwork and quick steps.

4. Run the court

The tennis court serves as a great guide for running conditioning drills. To get used to moving around it easily, run conditioning drills using the lines.

  • Start at the doubles sideline on one baseline, then sprint forward to the net.
  • Once you reach the net, shuffle sideways toward the opposite doubles sideline.
  • Then, once you reach it, backpedal towards the baseline.
  • Shuffle across the baseline until you get to your original position.
  • Do this exercise as fast as possible.
  • Once you've mastered it and bumped up your endurance, do it from baseline to baseline, rather than baseline to net.

As with any exercise regime, if you're unsure about your health always seek advice from your family doctor.

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