With most of us isolating, playing tennis will be difficult. However, there are many things that you can do to continue to improve your game when confined to your home. Here are some ideas:
Shadow stroking or swinging without a ball, is an excellent way to improve your game. There are several things that you can focus on:
First, focus on executing the perfect swing for each stroke. If you can do it in front of a mirror much better. Once you start feeling comfortable with the swing path, start thinking about swinging with the least amount of tension possible. Loosen up your grip and let the racquet swing fluidly. Finally, you can work on racquet acceleration. To do this focus on the sound of the racquet-head through the air. The louder the sound, the faster the racquet. Start the swing slowly and once the racquet is close to the ideal contact point accelerate to make the racquet “swish” through the air. Make sure you do this as relaxed as possible.
Use Tools Creatively
Being in your home does not mean you cannot hit a ball. Depending how much room you have, you can always use sponge balls and hit against the wall. If you can clear a large enough area you can work on all your strokes against the wall, but if you have limited space you can greatly improve your volleys by varying your distance to the wall and adding some movement up and back and side to side.
If you have problems with your toss, this is the time to tackle them. Practice tossing to a target on the ceiling, without any movement of the wrist or elbow.
Many studies support the fact that practicing in your mind can be as effective as physical practice. To do this effectively, you need to get comfortable, close your eyes and relax. Then, start thinking about the skill you want to improve. Practice the ideal executions of the skill over and over. The more vivid you can see and feel the skill the better. Think about smells, colors, feelings, etc. Another great way to visualize effectively is by combining it with shadowing. Shadow your ideal swing and visualize exactly what you are doing.
As you know fitness is an important aspect of the game. You can improve every fitness component at home. Combine strength training, flexibility and cardio in your workouts. A few yoga sessions mixed with rope jumping or low impact aerobics will provide an ideal base for your return to the court. If you have had a nagging injury, this is the time to rehab it.
Learn from the Best
Observing and analyzing top players in action on TV is a fool proof way to improve. The key words here are “observing and analyzing”. You do not want to merely watch professional tennis, you need to study it. Watch a match and instead of following the ball, watch the players. Focus on their movement and footwork. When do they split step? How do they recover? Are they moving forwards or backwards.? What kind of shots do they hit from the defensive? Try to figure out their strategy? What are their favorite patterns?
Improve your Knowledge
Finally, this may be an ideal time to improve your tennis knowledge. Read some tennis books you have been wanting to read. Look for some solid online instruction. Just be careful sifting through all the information on YouTube. Remember anyone can upload videos. Most of the time, spending a bit of money to assure you are getting reliable information is a much better strategy.
Use your time at home wisely and you will be pleasantly surprised when your return to the courts!