5+ Best Beginner Tennis Drills – Mastering the Basics

Tennis is a sport that requires skill, agility, and precision. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player looking to improve your game, incorporating drills into your practice routine can be highly beneficial.

In this article, we will explore a variety of beginner tennis drills that will help you develop fundamental skills and build a strong foundation for your game.

The Importance of Beginner Tennis Drills

Before diving into specific drills, it’s essential to understand why incorporating them into your training regimen is crucial.

Beginner tennis drills serve several purposes:

  • Skill Development: Drills allow beginners to focus on specific aspects of the game, such as footwork, hand-eye coordination, and stroke technique.
  • Repetition: By repeating certain movements and shots in drills, beginners can reinforce muscle memory and develop consistency in their strokes.
  • Game Simulation: Many drills aim to simulate real-game situations, helping beginners become more comfortable and confident on the court.
  • Fitness Improvement: Tennis drills often involve intense movement and physical exertion, contributing to overall fitness and stamina development.

Drill #1: Forehand Groundstroke Technique

The forehand groundstroke is one of the most fundamental shots in tennis. This drill focuses on developing proper technique and consistency in executing this shot.

  1. Setup: Stand near the baseline with a basket of balls on one side of the court.
  2. Execution:
    • – Start by hitting forehands cross-court, aiming for the opposite baseline.
    • – Focus on using the correct grip, rotating your hips and shoulders, and following through with your swing.
    • – Repeat the drill, gradually increasing the pace and intensity of your shots.
  3. Variations:
    • – Practice hitting forehands down the line instead of cross-court to develop versatility in your shots.
    • – Incorporate movement by starting from different positions on the court and hitting forehands while on the run.

Drill #2: Backhand Groundstroke Technique

The backhand groundstroke is another essential shot that beginners must master. This drill focuses on developing proper technique and consistency in executing the backhand shot.

  1. Setup: Stand near the baseline with a basket of balls on one side of the court.
  2. Execution:
    • – Start by hitting backhands cross-court, aiming for the opposite baseline.
    • – Focus on using the correct grip, bending your knees, rotating your hips and shoulders, and following through with your swing.
    • – Repeat the drill, gradually increasing the pace and intensity of your shots.
  3. Variations:
    • – Practice hitting backhands down the line instead of cross-court to develop versatility in your shots.
    • – Incorporate movement by starting from different positions on the court and hitting backhands while on the run.

Drill #3: Volley Technique

Volleying is an essential skill for players who want to dominate the net. This drill focuses on developing proper technique and reflexes for executing volleys.

  1. Setup: Stand near the net with a partner on the other side of the court.
  2. Execution:
    • – Start by practicing simple volleys with your partner, aiming to keep the ball in play.
    • – Focus on using a firm wrist, keeping your eyes on the ball, and positioning yourself correctly at the net.
    • – Gradually increase the pace and intensity of your volleys as you become more comfortable.
  3. Variations:
    • – Practice volleys from different positions on the court, such as mid-court or deep in the backcourt.
    • – Incorporate movement by having your partner hit shots to different areas of the court, forcing you to adjust and react quickly.

Drill #4: Serve Technique

The serve is arguably the most critical shot in tennis. This drill focuses on developing proper technique and power in executing serves.

  1. Setup: Stand behind the baseline with a basket of balls next to you.
  2. Execution:
    • – Start by practicing your serve motion without hitting a ball, focusing on proper grip, toss placement, and body rotation.
    • – Once comfortable with the motion, start hitting serves into an open area of the service box.
    • – Gradually increase the power and accuracy of your serves as you become more proficient.
  3. Variations:
    • – Practice serving to different areas of the service box, such as wide or down the middle.
    • – Incorporate targets on the court to improve accuracy, such as aiming for specific corners or lines.

Drill #5: Footwork and Agility

Good footwork is essential for efficient movement on the tennis court. This drill focuses on improving footwork, agility, and overall court awareness.

Setup: Mark a series of cones or markers on the court to create a footwork pattern. Execution:

  • Start at one end of the pattern and move quickly and explosively through the marked points using proper footwork techniques.
  • Focus on maintaining a low and balanced stance, using short and quick steps, and pivoting smoothly when changing directions.
  • Repeat the pattern multiple times, trying to improve your speed and precision with each repetition. Variations:
  • Modify the footwork pattern to include diagonal movements, side shuffles, or backward steps to challenge different aspects of your footwork.
  • Incorporate a tennis ball into the drill, bouncing it against a wall or having a partner feed you balls while you move through the footwork pattern, simulating in-game scenarios.

30 Tennis Drills For Beginners – First Time Tennis Lessons

We have even more to share in the FAQ section 🙂

FAQs – Beginner Tennis Drills

1. What are some recommended warm-up exercises for beginners before starting tennis drills?

Before engaging in tennis drills, it is crucial to warm up properly to prevent injuries and prepare your body for physical activity.

Here are a few recommended warm-up exercises for beginners:

  • Dynamic Stretching: Perform dynamic stretches that involve moving your body through a full range of motion, such as arm circles, leg swings, and torso rotations. This helps increase blood flow and flexibility.
  • Light Jogging or Skipping: Start with a light jog or skipping for 5-10 minutes to elevate your heart rate and warm up your muscles gradually.
  • Footwork Drills: Incorporate footwork exercises like high knees, butt kicks, and lateral shuffles to improve agility and coordination.
  • Shadow Swings: Practice shadow swings without a tennis racket to mimic the movements of forehands, backhands, and serves. This helps activate the muscles used in tennis strokes.

Remember to listen to your body and modify the warm-up routine based on your fitness level and any specific needs or restrictions you may have.

2. What are the essential tennis drills for beginners to develop fundamental skills?

For beginners, focusing on fundamental skills is essential to build a strong foundation in tennis.

Here are some recommended tennis drills:

  • Forehand and Backhand Groundstrokes: Start with basic drills that focus on proper technique for forehand and backhand groundstrokes. Begin by hitting the ball against a wall or practicing with a partner, gradually progressing to more advanced drills.
  • Volleys and Overheads: Work on volleys and overhead shots, which involve hitting the ball while it is in the air. Practice against a wall or with a partner to improve hand-eye coordination and control.
  • Serve Practice: Spend time practicing the serve, as it is a crucial stroke in tennis. Begin with a simple tossing drill to focus on the serving motion and progress to hitting serves over the net.
  • Footwork and Agility Drills: Incorporate drills that enhance footwork and agility, such as ladder drills, cone drills, and side-to-side movements. These drills help improve court movement and positioning.
  • Mini Tennis Games: Engage in mini tennis games, which involve playing on a smaller court with softer balls. This allows beginners to practice their strokes in a more controlled and enjoyable environment.

Remember to start with basic drills and gradually progress to more challenging exercises as you become more comfortable and proficient in your skills.

3. How can beginners improve their hand-eye coordination through tennis drills?

Hand-eye coordination is a crucial aspect of tennis, and improving it can greatly enhance your performance on the court.

Here are some tennis drills that can help beginners develop their hand-eye coordination:

  • Wall Rally: Stand in front of a wall and rally the ball against it using your racket. This drill helps you focus on tracking the ball and improves your timing and coordination.
  • Reaction Drill: Have a partner stand across the net and randomly feed balls to different areas of the court. Your goal is to react quickly and hit the ball back accurately. This drill simulates game-like situations and sharpens your reflexes.
  • Drop and Catch: Stand facing a partner who drops a tennis ball from various heights. Your objective is to catch the ball with your racket before it bounces on the ground. This drill improves your hand-eye coordination and racket control.
  • Multi-Ball Drill: Have a partner or coach feed multiple balls to you consecutively. Focus on keeping your eye on each ball and hitting them back accurately. This drill challenges your coordination and concentration.

By incorporating these drills into your training routine, you can gradually improve your hand-eye coordination and become more proficient in tracking and striking the tennis ball effectively.

4. What are some recommended drills to improve footwork and agility for beginners?

Footwork and agility are essential components of tennis, enabling players to move swiftly and efficiently on the court.

Here are some recommended drills to improve footwork and agility for beginners:

  • Ladder Drills: Set up an agility ladder on the ground and perform various footwork patterns, such as quick steps, lateral movements, and high knees. This drill improves foot speed and coordination.
  • Cone Drills: Set up a series of cones in a straight line or in a zigzag pattern. Practice moving quickly around the cones, simulating different on-court movements. This drill enhances your ability to change directions and react to different situations.
  • Side-to-Side Shuffle: Position two cones or markers approximately three feet apart. Shuffle laterally between the markers as quickly as possible, focusing on maintaining a low stance and light footwork.
  • Mirror Drill: Pair up with a partner and face each other on opposite sides of the net. One person leads the footwork, and the other person mirrors their movements. Alternate roles to improve footwork coordination and agility.
  • Suicides: Mark three points on the court, such as the baseline, service line, and net. Start at the baseline and sprint to the first point, touch it, then sprint back to the baseline. Repeat for the other two points. This drill improves speed, endurance, and court coverage.

By consistently practicing these footwork and agility drills, beginners can enhance their movement skills, react faster to shots, and improve overall court coverage.

5. How can beginners practice tennis drills without a partner?

While having a practice partner is beneficial, there are several tennis drills that beginners can practice alone.

Here are some drills that can be done individually:

  • Wall Hitting: Find a sturdy wall and practice hitting the ball against it. Focus on maintaining proper technique and accuracy. This drill helps improve consistency and stroke mechanics.
  • Ball Machine Practice: Utilize a tennis ball machine if available. Adjust the settings to vary the speed, trajectory, and direction of the balls. This allows you to practice different strokes and simulate game-like scenarios.
  • Serve Toss and Catch: Practice your serve motion by tossing the ball in the air and catching it. Focus on executing the correct technique and developing a consistent toss. This drill helps improve serving mechanics and timing.
  • Shadow Swings: Stand in an open space and perform shadow swings without a ball. Focus on perfecting your stroke technique, footwork, and weight transfer. This drill helps reinforce muscle memory and improve overall stroke mechanics.
  • Fitness and Conditioning: Engage in fitness and conditioning exercises that are specific to tennis. This can include activities like running, agility drills, and strength training to enhance your physical fitness and endurance on the court.

While practicing alone may not fully replicate the dynamics of playing with a partner, these drills allow beginners to work on their skills, technique, and physical fitness independently.

6. How often should beginners practice these tennis drills to see progress?

The frequency of practice is an important factor in skill development.

For beginners, consistency is key to making progress. Here are some general guidelines for practicing tennis drills:

  • Regular Schedule: Aim to practice tennis drills at least 2-3 times per week. This allows for consistent skill development and muscle memory retention.
  • Duration: Allocate a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour for each practice session. This duration provides sufficient time to warm up, perform drills, and cool down.
  • Gradual Progression: Start with simpler drills and gradually progress to more advanced ones as you improve your skills. This ensures a steady and systematic development of your tennis abilities.
  • Varied Drills: Incorporate a mix of drills that target different aspects of the game, including strokes, footwork, agility, and hand-eye coordination. This helps develop a well-rounded skill set.
  • Supervised Sessions: Whenever possible, seek guidance from a qualified tennis coach or instructor. They can provide feedback, correct your technique, and introduce new drills tailored to your level.

Remember that practice quality is just as important as quantity.

Focus on proper technique, concentration, and effort during each drill to maximize your progress as a beginner tennis player.


Incorporating beginner tennis drills into your practice routine can greatly enhance your skills and overall performance on the court.

These drills provide targeted practice for specific aspects of the game, helping you develop proper technique, consistency, and court awareness.

Remember, consistency and repetition are key to improvement.

Practice these drills regularly, gradually increasing the difficulty and intensity as you progress. Combine them with other tennis training exercises and matches to develop a well-rounded game.

Whether you’re aiming to compete at a high level or simply looking to enjoy the sport, these beginner drills will lay the foundation for your tennis journey. So grab your racket, head to the court, and start practicing!

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