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Ultimate Tennis Practice for Two Players

You can’t wait to hit the courts for a tennis work-out after a long
day at work; or it’s week-end and you are looking for a fun time
playing tennis with a friend or a family member.

Tennis is fun; it is a good way to release the stress from a week that
just ends and, why not, get involved in some healthy competition.

While for most of the tennis players, warming-up then playing a


couple of sets is enough, for those who are looking for more fun
exercises and better work-out than the simple tennis sets, we have
put together a series of drills and games that will make two tennis
players get the best of their time on the court.

***The following drills and games are designed for intermediate and
advanced tennis players (but the beginning players can find suitable
practice ideas as well).

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WARM-UP IDEAS FOR TWO PLAYERS


W-U1
Both players (A and B) begin at the service line (opposite sides).
- The two players rally, gently, cross-court having both hit forehand
ground-strokes only (assuming they are right-handed); keep a
controllable pace so that no winners or errors are made. (see
graphic below)
- After about two minutes switch to backhands cross-court.
- After another 2 minute session one player hits only down-the-
line, the other player only cross-court.
- Switch after another 2 minute having the previous cross-court
player going down-the-line this time and the previous down-the-
line player hitting only cross-court.
Work on footwork, hand-eye coordination and consistency.

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W-U2

Both players (A and B) are just inside the service line (opposite
sides).

- Repeat the previous exercise (W-U1) but this time they volley or
half-volley the balls coming to their side: volley forehand cross-
court, volley backhand cross-court, cross-court vs. down-the-line
and down-the-line vs. cross-court.

The pace of the ball should be cooperative so that long rallies and
fewer errors should be encouraged.

Work on footwork, hand-eye coordination and consistency.

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W-U3

Both players begin the drill from no-man’s land (half way between
service line and baseline). Once they put the ball in play (with
a drop-and-hit) they will count each 3 ground-strokes they hit
over the net. After the third shot, one of the players (A) advances
toward the net proceeding to hit half-volleys and volleys until the
rally is over. For the next rally, it will be player B’s turn to move up
to the net after a 3 balls rally.

Hit the ball at medium pace emphasizing control and accuracy.

Do this for about 5 minutes.

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W-U4

For this drill, each player begins the rally having one ball ready to
feed; both players at the baseline (opposite sides).
The two begin a rally from the baseline but after the first ball,
player A will move up to the net. The rally continues as the players
try to hit it back to each other working on consistency and control.
Once player A gets inside the service court, he practices volleys
and half-volleys. When the first ball is out of the rally, the second
ball is put in play while the baseline player (B) hits only lobs and
the net player (A) practices overheads.
Next rally, finds both players having a ball ready and B moving up
to the net.
Do this drill for about 7 - 10 minutes.

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W-U5

For the last piece of warm-up the two players should practice their
serve and return of serve.

Have player A serve, from the deuce side, while B returns back to
him. Switch roles after 2 minutes.

Then player A serves from the ad side while B returns back to him.
Switch after about 2 minutes.

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DRILLS FOR TWO PLAYERS

D-1

The two players rally, from the baseline, forehands cross-court


aiming for a specific number of times that the ball should travel
over the net (we assume they are both right handed players).

Example: Try to keep the ball in play until it crosses over the net
at least 15 times. (for more advanced levels, go for 25-40 times).

Once this is achieved, switch to backhands cross-court (same drill).

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D-2

The two players rally down-the-line as follows: player A hits only


forehands down-the-line and player B only backhands down-the-
line (assuming they are both right handed).

After about 5 minutes players switch sides (left and right) so that
player A hits only backhands down-the-line and B only forehands
down-the-line.

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D-3

This next drill is all about consistency and control.

One of the players will hit every ball down-the-line while the other
player hits only cross-court shots. (see graphic D-3)

After about 5 minutes, players switch roles so that whoever hit


cross-court before now goes for down-the-line and vice versa.

This drill is challenging for players who are not yet very consistent
but I would suggest to give it a try anyways.

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D-4
For this next drill, both players are using only half court (alley
included) - see graphic below.

Player A is at the net while B is playing from the baseline. Both


players should have their pockets full with tennis balls ready to
feed.

For this drill player A works on volleys and overheads consistency


(hitting every ball back to player B) while B practices ground-
strokes consistency. Once in awhile, player B should hit a ball up
for A to practice overheads.

Switch roles after about 5 minutes.

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D-5

For this drill, both players use only half-court. A basket of balls (or
any number of balls available on the court) is next to player A who
plays at the baseline. Player B is at the net ready for overheads.

The drill begins with player A feeding a lob for B. B will hit an
overhead (medium pace) back to A who will block it as another lob
which B, this time, will hit aggressively as a put-away overhead.

Switch roles after about 5 minutes.

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D-6

This drill is called Alley Rally. That means the two players will
attempt to rally making the ball land inside the alley as often as
they can.

Players A and B begin every rally from behind the baseline and
between the singles and doubles lines. One of them will feed the
ball then the two players rally attempting to land the ball between
the singles and doubles lines, opposite side.

Count every time the ball lands in the alley and once one of the
players makes it successfully 25 times, they can stop.

Variation: One of the players can try to hit only backhands while the
other player hits forehands. Or they can all go for only forehands
or only backhands.

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D-7

Two players position about half way between the service line and
net and trade volleys back and forth.

After every shot, they move one step back and keep moving back;
eventually they will get to rallying half-volleys and then ground-
strokes once they get closer to and then on the baseline.

Once they make it to the baseline, they continue the rally but this
time moving back towards the net.

They continue the rally using only one ball as they move from the
net to the baseline and back.

Note: Good drill for consistency and control.

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GAMES FOR TWO PLAYERS


G-1
The two players rally from the baseline.
Players count the number of times the ball goes over the net
during the rally.
The player who wins the rally gets the number of points equal to
the number of times the ball crossed over the net during the rally.
Example: If the ball traveled 22 times over the net, the winner of
the rally gets 22 points.
If the next rally is won by the other player and, as an example, 14
balls went over the net - then the score is 22-14; and so on...
Add the number of points from each rally the players win. Play
first to win 100 points.
Note: This is a good drill for improving consistency and focus.

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G-2

The two players compete against each other. One of them is the
server, the other one the receiver positioned on the opposite side.
Each one starts from 0 points.

Scoring: If the server wins then the score increases by 1 point (+1);
if the receiver wins the score decreases by 1 point.

Example: If the server wins first two points, the score would be
+2. If the receiver wins the next point then the score goes down
to +1.
Keep playing until the score becomes +3 (server wins) or -3
(receiver wins). Then switch players’ roles and or sides of court.

Great game to learn concentration and how to keep the momentum


going in your favor.

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G-3

The two players rally from the baseline.

They both should be looking for opportunities to go to the net


because if they win the point and their last shot was a volley or
overhead they receive 3 points instead of one. If they win the
point in any way other than a volley or an overhead, they receive
only one point.
Play first to 21.

Note: This game encourages transitioning to the net; also for


the baseline player it teaches them to hit the ball low to the
approaching net player.

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G-4

Two players on the baseline on opposite sides. One of them is the


server, the other the receiver.

Each game consists of 10 points; the server keeps serving until the
game is over (when one player wins 10 points by a margin of two).

Trade serves after the game is over.

Play first to win 3 games.

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G-5
Player A is the volley player and starts from the service line, having
a bunch of balls nearby. Player B is the ground-stroke player who
begins the rally from the baseline, opposite side. Both of them
cover only half court (alley included).
Player A practices volley control, consistency and transitioning to
the net; player B works on ground-strokes consistency, accuracy
and quick preparation.
The rally starts with player A taking a ball from the basket and
feed it to B while moving up towards the net.
The ball is hit back and forth between the two players until one of
them misses.
Once the rally is over, player A goes back to the service line, picks
up another ball and starts a new point.
Play to 11 then switch sides and roles.
Note: This is a very simple tennis drill yet very efficient for practicing
volleys and ground-strokes especially for improving doubles play.

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Challenging Match Play

These following games are meant for spicing up the regular way of
playing the tennis sets.

CMP - 1
The two players play a set using regular scoring.

The only changes are: servers are allowed only one serve per point
and the “let” is played.

The game promotes serving under pressure knowing that only


one serve is allowed and also that the receiver will attack it.

CMP - 2

Two players play a regular scoring set where the server must follow
the serve to the net on every point.

Variation: The returner must follow her return to the net also.

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CMP - 3

Two players attempt to win a set against each other by playing


as follows: either player who gets to 40 will have to win the next
point; otherwise he/she will go back to the score of 0 (within the
game).

CMP - 4

Two players attempt to win a set against each other by playing as


follows: every ace wins a game; every double fault loses a game;
everything else works as dictated by the rules.

CMP - 5

Two players play a regular set with one “little” exception: every
time a player serves she should do it from inside the baseline (feet
should be inside the baseline).

This game will force the returner to react faster and shorten the
back-swing.

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Bonus: Footwork and Conditioning Drills


F-C-1
This is a drill that should be done fast and against the clock.
The player starts at the baseline center and at command, he
shuffles sideways to the left corner (of the baseline and singles
side line), then shuffles along the baseline to the other corner
(right). He gets back to the baseline center from where he sprints
to the left corner of service line and singles side line; from there
he back-pedals back to baseline center. He sprints straight ahead
to the service-T (center line and service line); back-pedals to the
baseline center. One more sprint to the right corner of the service
line and singles side line; back-pedal to the baseline center.
Repeat this patter 2-3 times depending of player’s athleticism and
conditioning.
Note: Do this drill as fast as you can; it is great for speed and
stamina.

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F-C-2

The player starts from the back fence, facing the net.

He will sprint to the baseline and then back to the fence.

From there he’ll sprint to the service line and back to the fence.

One more sprint, this time all the way to touch the net and back
to the fence.

Rest for 25 seconds and do the cycle again.

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F-C-3

The player starts at baseline T; upon command, he sprints in the


following directions:

1. to the service court T (service line and center line),

2. shuffles sideways along the service line to the left singles side
line,
3. shuffles sideways along the service line to the right singles side
line,

4. shuffles sideways back to the service court T,

5. back-pedals towards the baseline T.

All this running has to be done while facing the net.

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About the author


Name:
Cosmin Alin Miholca

Introduction: I am a
certified professional
tennis coach who
traveled the world
teaching amateurs and
aspiring pros alike. My coaching abilities are built on 25
years of playing experience and teaching over 13,000 hours
of tennis lessons.
As a result of my passion for the game and willingness
to offer my students an enjoyable way to learn tennis, I
founded WebTennis24.com and WebTennisDrills.com, two
very well-known tennis instructional sites.
If you have questions or feedback, do not hesitate to visit
our websites WebTennis24.com and WebTennisDrills.com,
or write me at cosmin@webtennis24.com

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