Practicing Tennis at Home – General Fitness

When I teach lessons, people often ask me about practice methods they can do at home, especially when they don’t have a partner to play with. It may seem like there’s not much you can do to improve your tennis game if you don’t have a hitting partner at home, but the truth is that there’s a lot that you can do to build your tennis skills and improve your overall fitness, which will definitely contribute to increased performance.

General Fitness

Any kind of general exercise that gets your body moving and increases your heart rate will boost your tennis game by making your stronger and giving you more endurance, among other things. If you’re not used to doing a lot of exercise, be sure to evaluate where you’re at from a fitness perspective – a personal trainer or medical doctor can help you with that if you’re not sure. You can start with something simple, such as walking for 30 minutes a day at the park or in your neighborhood, or you could do some jogging. There’s a great guide called Couch to 5K that can help you go from no jogging ability to running a 5K in a few months either outside or on a treadmill. The truth is that any exercise that is more than what you’ve been doing will help you improve your overall fitness and, by extension, your tennis game.

Yoga and Stretching

Stretching and Yoga, which incorporates breathing and stretching, are great to do everyday, especially after you’ve played tennis or exercised. Yoga is great because there are poses for all skill levels – you don’t have to be able to touch your toes! Here are two yoga poses that are great for tennis players:

Cat/Cow Pose

Start on your hands and knees. If you have sensitive knees or wrists, this might not be the best pose for you, so only do what feels good for your body. While inhaling, arch your back towards the ceiling (like an angry cat!) and stretch your back as much as feels good to you. On an exhale, lower back down and lift your chest up towards the ceiling so that your belly is the part of your torso that’s lowest to the ground. Repeat this 6-8 times, or as much as feels good.

Warrior II Pose

Warrior II is great for strengthening your core and legs. Start standing and take a big step forward with one of your legs, bending your knee so that it is directly above your ankle, your back leg is stretched out straight behind you, and your back foot is at a right angle to your front foot. The deeper you bend your knee, the more it will burn! Face forward and raise your arms up so that they are straight, one pointing forwards and one pointing backwards. Hold this, and then repeat on the other side.

Sleep!

As always, make sure to get as much sleep as you can because you will feel better and help your body rebuild itself faster when you do!

These are just a few tips for improving your fitness for tennis. I’ll be doing more posts soon about how to improve your game at home, so stay tuned!

– Coach Strauss
(703) 957-8877

*This information is for educational purposes only. We accept no liability or responsibility for any negative outcomes that could be incurred from following this advice.

Practicing Tennis at Home – Tennis Drills

When I teach lessons, people often ask me about practice methods they can do at home, especially when they don’t have a partner to play with. It may seem like there’s not much you can do to improve your tennis game if you don’t have a hitting partner at home, but the truth is that there’s a lot that you can do to build your tennis skills and improve your overall fitness (which will definitely contribute to increased performance).

Tennis Exercises

Serve Toss

A great thing to practice at home is your serve toss, which is a small but essential part of your game. Think of it this way: your serve could either be 1) something that costs you point after point in a match, 2) just another stroke used to put the ball in motion, or 3) one of your best weapons against your opponent. In order for your serve to become a true weapon, it has to become effective and consistently reliable.

You can find a lot of different serve toss drills on YouTube that will help you hone various parts of the toss, and most of them are drills you can do by yourself. Here’s an example of a drill you could do: start by taking your serve stance and then placing your racket on the ground in front of the forward foot. Do your toss and let the ball fall naturally. The goal is to consistently get the ball to land on the strings of your racket. To help measure your improvement, keep a running tally in your head of how many tosses in a row hit the racket face.

Egg in the Frying Pan

Another drill you can do at home is Egg in the Frying Pan. There are a lot of variations that can be done with this drill, and the basic goal is to increase hand-eye coordination. If you’re experienced with sports, this drill might feel very basic, but if you’re a beginner or if it’s been a while, it’ll be great for you. In this variation, hold your racket in your dominant hand (like a frying pan) and put a ball (an egg) on the strings. Gently start to move the racket up and down so that the ball begins to bounce. Try to keep the ball bouncing as long as you can. It might be fun to have a clock so you can see yourself improve as you repeat the drill.

Practice Hitting

If you’d like a hitting partner, look no further than your local backboard or concrete wall (the side of a brick or stucco house might work too!). Practice hitting balls and keeping them going with a backboard-type wall, and that’s a hitting partner that will never get tired or annoyed with you for missing a lot of shots. Keep a mental tally of how many hits you can make before you miss one and keep on trying to beat that number.

These are just a few tips for practicing tennis on your own without a lot of fancy equipment, in fact you can do most all of them at home in your garage or driveway (or even at a local park). I’ll be doing more posts soon about how to improve your game at home, so stay tuned!

– Coach Strauss
(703) 957-8877

My Tennis Story

I’ve been playing tennis since I was about six years old. I learned the game from the Head Pro at the Washington Golf and Country Club on the public courts at Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA. I played #1 for Langley High School in McLean, VA during my junior and senior years of high school, and in college, I was a member of the Water Polo, Swimming and Tennis Teams at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

I had a successful career in new product marketing and development in the pharmaceutical industry. Later, I started, managed, and sold a clinical contract research organization. After I had experienced commercial success, I turned towards my passion of playing tennis. I have always loved being outdoors and making friends through this wonderful game, so I decided to start teaching it to others.

I’m a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association with their insurance coverage, and I specialize in the USTA’s Quick Start Program for 4 to 10 year olds. I’m particularly passionate about teaching tennis to children because it’s a non-contact sport, which makes it very safe for young children to play while also providing options for competition. There are many opportunities to compete with tennis, including high school teams, college teams, and leagues at private clubs and public tennis facilities. For competitive natured people, tennis affords opportunities to play on teams, compete individually, and compete with partners.

I believe tennis is a good sport for anyone to learn, regardless of their desire to compete. There aren’t many sports that allow for lifetime enjoyment and provide organized opportunities to play outside of school, but tennis is one of them. This means that a child or adult would benefit from learning the sport even if they have no intentions of competing – it’s a great way to get exercise while having fun, and it leads to many opportunities to meet new people.

Most people who play sports compete in school and maybe in college, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities to play most sports in an organized fashion after college – tennis is totally different. You can enjoy tennis as long as you can walk (and there’s even wheelchair tennis!), and you can play it no matter how young or old you are. Because so many people love it, there are great social networks around tennis, so knowing the game is a way to make friends practically anywhere you go.

I provide lessons to children and adults, and I tailor lessons to exactly what the individual student’s goals are. I’ve worked with kids who are hoping to make their high school tennis teams as well as adults who are just looking for a fun way to get exercise. I’m excited to teach tennis to anyone, regardless of their goal, because I love this sport and want to share it with people so that they can get the same lifetime of exercise and enjoyment that I’ve had through tennis.

If your interested in learning how to play tennis or want to try it out, give me a call at (703) 957-8877.

–Coach Stephen

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