It is a misnomer to claim practice makes perfect. Practice does not make perfect because nothing is perfect. There is always room for improvement, no matter what life pursuit you chose to follow. Practice make better. The more you do something, the easier and better you become, as long as you are practicing the correct way.
Tennis is an exacting, demanding sport that requires a wealth of both physical and psychological skills. Some of those skills are natural, for some people have a natural quickness and natural born agility but even for these rare few, they must be able to practice and increase their skills if they wish to compete at the highest level. Only then with the athlete become the best they can be.
Tennis requires great footwork, to begin with, and there are some simple coordination drills that will help you to get better at moving faster on your feet. An interesting agility drill that you can do anywhere is the simple movement of skipping.
Yes, just regular skipping can help you coordinate between each foot, help with your quickness and allow you to move faster on the court. First make sure you have the proper footwear, whatever you will wear on the court, and enough space to be able to skip straight for several feet, preferably a flat surface or even the court at all. Though, in some cases an uneven surface can in fact provide a larger challenge because it is unbalanced and thus makes you work harder to keep your feet.
Start with your right foot forward and skip with only that leg and then reverse it, using only your left leg. After you’ve gotten to the point where you are out of breath, use both legs back and forth to skip once again, reaching the edge of the space you have chosen and then turning around, in mid-air if possible, and hen coming back the way you came.
This drill is tougher and more exhausting than you might think. It’s like hopscotch when you were a kid, at least for women anyway, and can even be as fun as this childhood activity. Try it and see your agility on the court improve dramatically. Remember, you get out of it what you put into it so work as hard as you possibly can with each attempt. Also make sure you maintain proper body alignment while skipping so you don’t hurt your back. This is another reason the right kind of shoe is so important.
Another agility exercise involves the use of cones. Line them up so they are in a perfect line straight ahead, for perhaps twenty feet or as far as the space allows. How far apart they are depends on difficult you wish to make this drill. The closer they are, the harder it will be. Begin with running forward and dodging in between each cone as fast as you can, trying not to hit the cones and going in a zigzag pattern. Repeat the opposite direction for as many runs as you can. It is simple but punishing and will force your body to react to a changing directional pattern that makes you fast on your feet and able to move side to side when you need to.
Another simple drill involves jumping rope. Jumping rope is a great way to develop coordination between both your hands and feet and is one of the best endurance builders in existence. Don’t be satisfied with simple jumping; mix it up instead with crossing your arms, hopping on one foot while you jump the rope and going side to side.
Shuffling your feet from side to side is another fast, easy drill that will help you in your lateral movement. With this drill, you want to make sure you do not cross your feet as this inhibits your ability to move forward or back, which is important in tennis.
Try these out and have fun!