Using a wall is a great way to improve your game By Tracy Townsend
Can hitting the wall improve your tennis game? I’m not talking about when you’re having a physical or mental block. I mean actually hitting the ball against the tennis hitting wall at Seaside.
Seaside is one of the few tennis facilities that has a hitting wall. Some call it a backboard and think of it as old-school. Fancy ball machines are the newer thing, and we have that in Seaside, too. But I grew up hitting against a wall, and it can benefit you, too.
There is a big green fiberglass backboard right in front of you. There is a line drawn on the wall representing the height and slope of the net. You can stand as close or as far away as you see fit. It actually requires a good bit of control and strategy.
The harder you hit the ball into wall, the harder it comes back. The higher you hit on the wall, the higher it comes back. The more cross court you hit on the wall, the more cross court the ball is returned. Control is a must in order to keep the ball going. Control. What a great concept, right?
The drills I use on the wall are simple but effective. First, stand about four feet from the wall to do volleys. Hit it straight ahead and soft enough in the beginning to do only forehands. Then only backhands. Then alternate. Then back up a few steps and speed things up.
These drills will only last a few seconds to begin with. It will wear you out. And you will see how little control you have at first. Like most things, practice makes it better.
Second, back up about 20 feet from the wall. Try to hit it straight enough to hit only forehands into the wall, but hit it soft enough to let it bounce twice before striking it again. This will require tons of footwork, tons of aim, and a feel for how hard and how straight to strike the ball. Then do backhands. Then alternate.
Third, do the same drill with only one bounce. Try to get more consecutive strikes each time. It’s called consistency. Next, try to hit soft overheads into the wall. The ball will bounce right back up into the air, and you can repeat this stoke over and over. This only works if you can control it.
Hit different spins into the wall and watch how they react. Hit the ball different heights and directions. Notice what happens. This teaches you to track and watch the ball better.
Last, you need to know that it’s just you and the wall and YOU will never win. There may be a lesson there, too. It is a great workout. It only requires you. It only requires one ball. It is great stress relief. See what creative games you can come up with and enjoy your time alone. Get out there and hit the wall! c
Tracy Townsend is a resort tennis expert and Director of Tennis at Seaside. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 231-2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.
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