Tennis Footwork Drills and Exercises

Tennis is a game that involves several skills and techniques. However no matter how good you are in the different aspects of the game, you are useless if your footwork is not good enough. If you can improve your tennis footwork, it can pay huge dividends in winning a tennis game. To improve your footwork, here some important tennis footwork drills that you can work on.

Tennis footwork drills are usually the first activity you do in order to play the best tennis you can ever play. These tennis footwork drills are easy enough for beginners to follow. You can do it anywhere as long as the place is conducive to any exercise activities like walking, jogging, jumping and other exercise activities that need space. Specifically, the place should have a flat surface, it should also be hard (avoid places which are soft like thick grasses) and the area should be free of any obstacle that can hinder your movement as go you along with your tennis footwork drills. However, if a tennis court is available, then you are lucky because it the best place where you can perform your tennis footwork drill.

In every exercise or game, it is very important to do warm up activities before the actual games or drills are performed. A warm-up exercise is usually an activity that is done before any physical activities like tennis, athletics, basketball, football or any other sport. It is also done even if you are just going to do the drill of any game like the tennis footwork drills. These are series of exercises which are performed in a step by step process wherein the phase or intensity increases as you go along. This will allow you to be ready for the more intense activities in the proper games or drills. It prepares your muscles and other aspect of your body such as mobility and breathing. One very good example of a warm up exercise before you do the tennis footwork drill is jogging. Jogging at a slow phase will allow your muscle to reflex and heat up so that you are conditioned to finally start your proper tennis footwork drills.

Backwards Skip

The first tennis footwork drill is commonly called as backward skip. The Backwards Skip can easily be done. The first step is to jog forward and then go back to your original position without turning back, which means you move backwards with the same phase as going forward. This tennis footwork drill is important to develop your muscle for the backpedal and jumping movements

This tennis forehand drill is performed by two players situated in each side of the court, one in the far east of the court while the other is in the far west. This means that if the two players are facing each other, the first player is in standing in his or her far left while the second player is also standing in his far left side. Again remember that both of them are facing each other. As a result the two players form a diagonal formation across the court. Then on the first player hits the ball straight into the opposite side of the court allowing the other player to run quickly to the other far side of the court performing a forehand approach.

The Backwards skip is not commonly practiced nor it is not usually executed by players in a tennis game unless you have to retrieve a that landed behind you. This will happen when you are standing near the net but your opponent is clever enough to place the ball behind you. In this situation, you can turn your back towards the ball and then run to get the ball or if it allows you can just do backward skip to get to the ball.

Sidestep Shuffle Slide

This is another step in tennis footwork drills. This is done by moving sideways or doing sidestep shuffles. Continue this tennis footwork drill with the series of sidesteps while maintaining a low center of gravity. You can do it several times until you feel you are satisfied with it.

This footwork drill is commonly performed by tennis players to go back to the center end part of the court after recovering a ball on the left end or right end of the court.

Backwards snake

The backwards snake is performed in similar manner as the backwards skip but instead of going straight you do a snake pattern or an S pattern. This tennis footwork drill is important to develop your muscle that allows you to perform properly the backpedal movement at an angle.


The carioca step is done by doing sidesteps but instead of going the normal sidestep you do it with one foot crossing the other foot. You can do several steps going to the right side and then several steps going to the other direction.

This tennis footwork drill is another step to develop your coordination ability. This footwork pattern is used when you want to recover quickly to the center of the court after you have hit the ball.

Backwards Slant Slide

This tennis footwork drill is done like the backwards skip or the backwards snake, but take note that in backwards skip you simple do backward step while in backwards snake you do a snake pattern but in the backwards slant slide you move backwards in a zigzag pattern. This mean you move back alternately to the left and then to the right direction. In the end you form a zigzag pattern.

In the actual game of tennis, you have to have confidence to perform this tennis forehand drill or skill because if you are not, you will lose points. If a player can execute this tennis forehand drill with perfect timing you should be able to win the game. If you don’t do it perfectly, and you give you opponent a chance to prepare for his return you might lose a point. A successful serve and volley play can be done by a perfect serve with the ball landing on the corner baseline, allowing you opponent to return a short ball.

This drill is commonly executed by a player who is in the center end of the court and tries hit the ball that landed in the middle right or left side of the court and then he wants to go back to his original position which is in the center end of the court.

Heel Kicks

The Heel kicks tennis footwork drill is done by jumping in position with your foot touching your stretched hand. While jumping, bend your feet to touch your hand. The right foot touches the right hand while the left foot touches the left hand. This drill allows the development of your ability to spring your legs or develop other leg movements.


This tennis footwork drill is also done by jumping but in different manner. You jump with your two feet together from right to left direction but move forward at the same time. You can do the forward movement with the left and right pattern continuously or go back to your original position and repeat the pattern.

This allows the development of the muscle to do spring movements allowing you to move forward and sideways quickly when the ball lands in the far side of the court. You will execute this step if you are in the center end of the court and the ball lands in the far right or far left of the court between the baseline and the net. You move forward quickly moving right or left depending where the ball is. After you hit the ball, you move backwards to the center end of the court to be ready for the next ball.

Split and Sprint

This is the last but a very important tennis footwork drill and this is done easily by its name itself. You take a split step with your feet apart and sprint as fast as you can. Split mean jump in place with your feet apart and sprint means you ran forward as quickly as you can. This drill can be done in short intervals simulating movement at the baseline or when hitting a tennis volley.

This drill is very good to develop the quickness of the player in the court. A very good execution of this drill in the actual tennis game is when the player in positioned at the far end of the court and the opponent hit’s a drop shot near the net. You have to master this drill if you are playing against a player like Roger Federer because he is one of the best, if not the best player who can perfectly execute drop shots.

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