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16 Tennis Drills for Beginners You Should Know in the First Place

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As you have landed on this page and started reading to find out the tennis drills for beginners, there is a big possibility that you are a trainer and looking for a list of basic tennis drills for beginners. But, if you are a student then this article is for you as well.

Well, there are a lot of drills that you can include on your list. In fact, sometimes it will make you think twice or thrice to shortlist the perfect drills for beginners (i.e., kids or youth).

In this article, we tried to shortlist some of the essential drills that you can start to teach a beginner. Please note, you are not compelled to follow this step by step list. This is not even the one and only complete list on earth. But this will help your student to learn the beautiful game of tennis from zero.

However, this is our 1st part of the list of essential tennis lessons for beginners. That means this is your starting point of teaching the beginners. But later we will publish more articles on tennis drills for kids, or you can say, beginners.

Why should you trust our list?

It is because our list is not only based on the practical experience but also based on some real coach’s experiences that we researched online. We analyzed the problems a coach faces during his/her session with youths or kids.

Finally, we managed to prepare this list that follows the rule of progression. That means if you follow the drills step by step and point by point then it should be a perfect youth tennis lesson.

Before you start.

Choosing the Right Tennis Ball

Before you start your drilling session, you should be aware of the fact that you should choose the best tennis ball depending on the age level and need of your player.

The regular tennis balls will bounce a lot that your student of 8-10 years of age will not be able to handle the bounce. If you are not sure which ball you should select then, please click here to read our comprehensive guide to selecting the perfect tennis ball based on the requirement of different ages and necessity levels.

Choosing the Right Tennis Racquet

Choosing the perfect tennis racquet is another important point you should take into consideration. If your student is an adult then read our detail guide on choosing the best tennis racquet and if your student is young or kids you should suggest them to use junior tennis racquet.

Choosing Perfect Footwear

Using tennis shoes is crucial to avoid injuries during the training session. You already know a running shoe is not suitable for playing tennis as they are designed to move in one direction. But to play tennis, you need the shoes that are designed for quick turn and movement.

So please keep this in mind and instruct your students likewise.

We don’t want to talk anything about clothing. Any dress that is comfortable to your students should be ok.

So let’s start drilling.

It will be better for your students if you follow the sequence of drilling that we are going to describe now. But it is up to you too. If you want to change the sequence based on the performance of your student, then please do it.

Let’s dig the hole.

How to Grip a Tennis Racquet

Initially, it will be better if you just teach your students about the simple grip system that means the semi-western forehand grip. They will just hold the handle with their playing hand as if they are shaking hand with the racquet. You know this is a forehand grip. But it will be a funny and exciting matter for the kids to start off with the straightforward and easy things to deal.

The other grips like continental grip, eastern forehand, western forehand, and other backhand grips can be introduced later in the process. Initially, you should keep things simple, and present things in a funny way so that they don’t get bored and then lose interest from the game.

Focus more on practically funny drilling instead of theoretical knowledge sharing. Don’t spend too much time if the process is so simple.

Movement Drills – One of the Initial Tennis Lessons for Beginners

Before starting any other drill that requires physical activities, you should teach your students the movement drill. There are many ways that you can follow to teach the movements to the students.

The primary objectives of these drills are to build up the stamina for moving and quick turning. These helps to improve the concentrating capability as well.

Let’s learn the different moves.

Shoe Box Drilling

tennis drill shoebox
Sounds interesting, right?

Overview

This is mainly a drill to teach a single student at a time. If you have more than one student, then you will have to call them one by one.

The trainee will have to move holding a shoe box and catch the ball inside it.

Setup

  • The trainee should stand on mid of the baseline holding a shoe box. You will stand opposite of the net with a basket of balls.
  • The player/student must be in motion all the time during the training. That means he/she should not remain motionless even when standing.

How It Works

You will stand on the other side of the net and throw the balls from the basket one by one. The trainee will be holding a shoe box and standing on mid of the baseline. His job is to go to grab the ball in the shoe box and come back to the mid of the baseline before you throw the next ball.

The ball should drop once before your student catches it.

You should throw the ball in both directions meaning left and right-hand side of the player. You can vary the pace of the ball gradually.

If you have more than one student, you can throw the ball to one player 20 times for once. You cut one point per miss. The highest point gainer will be the winner. In this way, you can make the competition exciting.

Two Racquet Catch Lesson – One of the Most Popular Tennis Lessons for Kids

two racquet drill

This is another funny lesson your student should enjoy a lot.

What is this actually?

Overview

This is another lesson that should be taught to a single student at once.

The student will be holding two racquets in two hands. His/her job is to catch the ball with two racquets and put it in a basket.

Setup

  • The student should stand on the baseline holding two racquets in two hands.
  • There should be a basket in front of him.
  • You should stand the opposite of the net with a basket of balls.

How It Works

The student will be monitoring the ball carefully that you throw to him/her. He will stand on the baseline. Of course on the mid of the baseline.

You will put a basket in front of him. You can place the basket anywhere near the student. It’s up to you. But good practice is to keep it very close to the student for the first couple of throws. Then gradually putting it further from the student, that means closer to the net.

Once you put the basket, you should go to the other side of the net and throw balls one after another to the trainee. His/her job is to let the ball bounce once and then catch it with two racquets.

After he/she catches the ball with the two racquets, he will run towards to the basket and drop the ball there. Please note, the trainee should hold the ball with the racquets while he runs towards the basket.

Once he drops the ball into the basket, he should go back to his original position. Again he should not stop jumping when standing.

This way you can continue this process for 20 times in a row.

If you have more than one student, then you can do this session for all of them individually.

Catch the Ball and Drop It

catch and drop tennis drill

One another simple yet enjoyable tennis lesson for beginners.

The process is pretty same as the “two racquet catch lesson” that we described earlier.

Let’s find out the whole process.

Overview

The difference between the previous lesson and this lesson is here the student will be holding one racquet in his playing hand.

The task is to catch the ball with both non-playing hand and the racquet, after that putting the ball in the basket.

Setup

  • The trainee should stand on the mid of the baseline. He/she should remain jumping all the time. Standing motionlessly is not allowed.
  • He should be holding a racquet in his playing hand.
  • Place a basket in front of him/her or beside him/her.
  • Stand the opposite of the net with a basket of tennis balls.

How It Works

You will be throwing the balls one after another to the player from the opposite of the net.

The player will allow the ball to drop once and then catch with the racquet and the empty hand together. Next, he/she will run towards the basket and drop the ball inside the basket.

After dropping the ball, the student should go back to his/her original position and start jumping.

Start by keeping the basket near to the student then increase the difficulty by keeping the basket further from the player time to time.

Repeat this process for 20 times.

Stop and Drop

stop and drop tennis drills

This is one is most challenging drill among the ones that we have mentioned so far. But the challenge is something your student should learn enjoying. Anyways let’s discover the excitements that are waiting for your students.

Overview

Very similar to the “Catch the ball and drop it” but a bit more challenging. This time the trainee is not allowed to use his/her hand to stop the ball.

He/she only allows to stop the ball with the racquet, bring the ball to the basket and drop inside the basket.

Touching with the hand is not allowed. That means when your students will bring the ball to the basket; the ball should be on top of the racquet’s string, while they will be holding the racquet horizontally.

Setup

  • The trainee should stand on the mid of the baseline. Standing motionlessly is not allowed. That means he/she should be jumping all the time when standing on the baseline.
  • He/she should be holding a racquet in his playing hand.
  • Place a basket in front of him/her or beside him/her.
  • Stand on the other side of the net with a basket of tennis balls.

How It Works

You will be throwing the balls one after another to the player from the opposite of the net.

The player will allow the ball to drop once and then stop with the racquet. Next, he/she will run towards the basket and drop the ball inside the basket.

While running towards the basket, the player should not use his/her hand to hold the ball. They should carry the ball on top of the racquet surface while holding the racquet horizontally.

After dropping the ball, the student should go back to his/her original position and start jumping.

Start by keeping the basket near to the student then increase the difficulty by keeping the basket further from the player time to time.

Repeat this process for 20 times.

Cone Drill – The Most Common Tennis Drill for Beginner

cone drill

Well, this is one of the most common tennis drills for beginners. Relatively easier but totally different than other lessons that we discussed so far.

Overview

This time the student will be holding a cone. The main responsibility is to catch the ball with the cone so that the ball goes into the cone with perfection.

This lesson also helps to increase the eye-ball coordination power, resulting in increased concentration capability.

Setup

  • The student will be holding a cone and standing on the mid of the baseline. Like other drills, he/she should not remain motionless.
  • You will be standing on the other side of the net with a basket of balls.

How It Works

This time the process is very simple.

You just stand the opposite of the net and throw balls one by one.

The player should let the ball bounce once and then catch the ball with the cone. He should concentrate on catching the ball with perfection so that it enters into the cone smoothly.

Every time your student misses to catch the ball inside the cone, he loses one point.

Repeat this process for 20 times.

This is the end of the movement drill for the time being.

Take rest and then move on to the next session. Next session is about ball controlling drill.

Ball Controlling Lesson

This section of lessons focuses on improving the ball controlling capability of the players. While all these controlling power comes naturally over the time, still it is important to practice these following basic ball controlling lessons for the beginners.

The Dribble / Bouncing Ball

This is one of the very basic ball control drills yet very effective. You can include this lesson in your list with a big hope that this lesson will help your students to increase their ball controlling capability.

Overview

You can easily manage a group of members to arrange this lesson. Because this time they don’t need your help to complete the practice. You can divide your students into multiple teams depending on the number of students you have at a time.

The main concept of this drill is to line up some students right behind the baseline. They will bounce the ball with their racquet (like a basketball player dribble the ball with his hand) and march towards the marking point set by you. Once they reach the marking point set by you, then they will come back to their original place.

Setup

  • Very simple setup is required to complete this lesson. Just divide your student into multiple groups if you have more than five students.
  • Ask them to line up right behind the baseline. Five students at a time.

How It Works

Already you got an idea on how this drill mechanism works.

If you have more than five students you can divide them into teams otherwise you can motivate them to challenge each other to make the session more enjoyable.

They will be standing behind the baseline. Your job is to set a mark near the net.

The students will drop the ball, and once the ball bounces up, they will hit it with the racquet. Again when the ball bounces up, they will hit it with the racquet.

They will march towards the marking line by doing the above process continuously. Once they reach the marking point, then they should turn back to their original position and march towards the baseline by doing the same bouncing process with the racquet and ball.

If you have students who are teenagers, then you can spice up the whole process by enforcing any eliminating rules. For example, if someone misses to bounce the ball with the racquet then his/her turn is over. The remaining team members will be continuing the process. Every time any one of them misses to bounce, he/she should be eliminated from the round.

But if you have only kids as your student, we recommend not to implement anything like eliminating the players from the round. Instead of that eliminating process, you should cheer up the kids to repeat the process until they become successful in doing the process for at least three times in a row.

Frying Pan

frying pan tennis drill

The name of this lesson suggests the core mechanism of it.

Your students need to start cooking their favorite food.

Really? Cooking food helps to learn ball controlling?

Actually no. Your students don’t have to cook food here, but they need to act like they are cooking food using a frying pan.

Let’s see how.

Overview

Conceptually this mechanism is pretty similar to the previous drill, but the mechanism is the reverse. That means like the dribbling/bouncing ball this drill also requires the players to use their racquet, but instead of bouncing the ball on the ground they need to bounce the ball on the racquet surface. Otherwise, the process is entirely same as the dribbling.

Setup

  • Divide your students into multiple groups if they are more than 5 in number.
  • Five players at a time should be lined up behind the baseline.
  • Mark a point near the net.

How It Works

The players should hold the racquet with their playing/dominating hand.

Instead of throwing the ball towards the ground this time they will be tossing the ball up. The moment the ball starts to fall they will put the racquet surface under the ball. As a result, the ball will bounce up again. Again when it starts to fall your student should bounce it up with the racquet.

By doing this cooking using frying pan style, the trainees should march towards the marking line that has been set by you.

Once they reach to the marking line, they need to turn back and come to their original position. But the condition is that during the turnaround process they are not allowed to stop the bouncing process.

Like the dribbling drill, you can arrange a competition among the teams to make the lesson more interesting.

There are some other useful drills to improve the ball control. But initially, these two lessons are good enough to move forward. At least, for this part of a session, these are well and good. We can add more ball controlling drills in the second phase.

Forehand Tennis Drills for Beginners

Well now we are moving to teach our students the basic shots. You can’t expect 100% accurate result from a beginner. That is why you should start with easier lessons and appreciate whatever good your student is doing. Especially if they are kids, then you should always make them pumped up.

So what are the basic drills to learn for the forehand shots?

Very Basic Forehand Drill

Start with the very basic moves. Ask your student to hold the racquet following the rule of semi-western grip. But present this process simply by asking them to shake his/her playing hand with the racquet. That’s it.

Now ask your student to stand correctly. The feet should not be too close together. He/she should be able to bend his/her knees

Now you go to the opposite side of the net. Ask your student to stand very close to the net.

Throw the balls one after another to your student. Obviously, the direction should be to his/her playing hand so that he/she can make a forehand shot. Now your student’s task is to hit the ball with his/her playing hand, that means playing the simple forehand shot.

For this basic drill, your student should not allow the ball to bounce.

Catch and Toss – Part 1

Now we are digging the hole a bit deeper. We are going to give them a real feeling of basic forehand shot. Before doing that just do a small warm up.

Overview

This is kind of a movement drill. But an essential one for forehand drill as well. This acts like warm up drill for forehand lesson.

The core task of your student is to catch the ball and toss it back to you.

Just to use a single gender, we are considering that you are having a male student in this case.

Setup

  • Your student should stand barehanded near to the net at the center of the service line. But positioning himself in a way as he is holding a racquet.
  • You stand on the other side of the net with a basket of balls.

How It Works

Throw the balls from the opposite of the net one by one.

You have to throw the ball in a way so that it goes very near to your student. Why? Because for this drill your student should not move but catch the ball just by bending on his leg and spreading his hand. Once he catches it, his next task is to toss it to you and position himself to his original position.

The ball should bounce once before it reaches to the player.

Don’t forget to throw the ball to his playing hand’s side.

Hit and Toss – Part 1

To accomplish this drill, all the procedure is exactly similar to the previous drill that means the catch and toss drill.

The only difference is, this time your student should use the racquet to hit the ball so that the ball get tossed up and come back to you.

You can throw the ball at different pace and height. Otherwise, both you and your student will get bored in the process.

Catch and Toss – Part 2

As you see the name is similar to the previous catch and toss lesson, but just the second version of it.

Let’s find out what is the difference between part 1 and part 2.

Overview

This time everything is exactly similar to the part 1 except this time the player needs to run and catch the ball. Previously he was not allowed to run but just bend on his knees.

The core task of your student is to run towards and throw it back to you with his hand as if he just hit the ball with his racquet.

This will help him to learn the movement of real forehand shot.

Setup

  • Your student should position himself like a real tennis player but without holding any racquet.
  • He should stand near to the net at the center of the service line.
  • You should be standing on the other side of the net with a basket of balls.

How It Works

Throw the balls from the opposite of the net.

You should throw the ball in a way so that your student needs to run towards the ball. Once you throw the ball the main job of your trainee is to run towards the ball and throw it back to you as if he is hitting it with the racquet.

You can vary the pace of the ball and also the bounce height. But remember this time he is handling your throw without any racquet. So don’t make their life too hard.

One important thing that should be maintained by the player. When he runs towards the ball, he is not allowed to do shuffle run. But when comes back to his original position then he must do the shuffle run.

Hit and Toss – Part 2

You guessed it right. This one is similar to the last drill except, for this time the player needs to use his racquet to hit the ball. That’s it.

Backhand Drill

Backhand drills are pretty similar to the forehand drills. The two differences are

  • You will have to throw the balls to the opposite side of the playing hand of your trainee.
  • Your trainee will have to use his both hands to catch the ball or handle the racquet to hit the ball.

Volley – Hungry Crocodile Drill

This lesson is one of the most enjoyable and popular basic tennis drills for beginners, especially for the kids.

Overview

This a volley practicing lesson.

But why do we call it “Hungry Crocodile?”

The main reason behind calling it as “Hungry Crocodile” is you will be playing a game with your student while teaching them the basic volley shot.

At first, you will show them how to volley. Then you will throw the ball to them one by one. Their job is to play the volley shot. Each time they miss one shot, they lose one of their body parts. That means a crocodile will eat one of their body parts for each miss.

Don’t be too scared. There will be no real crocodile to eat them, and they will not lose their body parts in reality.

Setup

  • Line up your students and ask them to stand at the center of the serving line.
  • Your trainees should hold a racquet.
  • You stand on the other side of the net with a basket of balls.

How It Works

At first, show them how to volley properly.

After that throw the ball to your students one by one. Each time you throw the ball to them, they have to play a volley shot.

If any of your players misses a shot, then one of his body parts will be eaten by a crocodile. Next time he plays a shot, and if he does not miss it, then he will regain his body part.

Let’s discuss this process more clearly.

  • The first time your student does not miss the shot – nothing happens.
  • Next time your student misses a shot – will lose his non-hitting arm. As a result, he will have to put his non-hitting arm behind his back.
  • The third time he hits the ball again – will regain his arm. That means he can keep his arm in normal position.
  • The fourth time he misses a shot – will lose his non-hitting arm again. So he will have to put his non-hitting arm behind his back again.
  • Next, he misses another shot – will lose one leg and will have to kneel with one leg.
  • Sixth time he misses another shot, he will lose another leg and have to kneel with both the legs.
  • Now if he plays a shot again he will regain his one leg. But if he misses this time then he will be out of the game.

You can divide your students into multiple groups as per your choice.

Simple Serving Lesson

This is our last drill for this phase. We want to finish with this serving drill. This a very basic serving drill but very effective.

Simply you will make a circle on the other side of the net and ask your students to hit the circle from the other side.

Initially, ask them to hit the circle without using any racquet. That means they will just throw the balls targeting the circle.

After that, ask them to hit the ball with the racquet and target the circle.

Initially, they don’t have to make the serving following every basic of tossing the ball and other rules. Just hitting the ball with a racquet and targeting the circle are enough.

The main intention of this simple serving drill is to make your student’s focus clearer.

Conclusion

tennis drills for beginners that we have discussed so far are the very basic and essential lessons for your students. These are not all. There are more lessons to come. This is just the phase one. You teach your students these drills first then move on to more advanced ones. We will be publishing the next phase of tennis drills for beginners as well.

Did you find this article useful? If so, then please don’t forget to share this article with your known tennis teachers who also may find this article handy.

Happy teaching!

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