10 Beneficial Ways to Practice Tennis at Home (with Videos!)

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Whether it’s freezing cold outside, or it’s a rainy summer day, and you don’t have access to an indoor court (or whatever the reason might be), it’s always helpful to have the alternative to practice tennis at home. Although bouncing the ball with the racquet is an excellent exercise for eye-hand coordination, there are many more exercises and ways to practice tennis from the comfort of your home.

You’ll need a tennis racquet, the proper balls, enough space and some tennis aids.

These are ten ways you can practice tennis at home:

  1. Practicing your groundstrokes against a wall.
  2. Using a tennis rebounder.
  3. Practicing your volleys against the wall.
  4. Playing mini tennis with a partner.
  5. Using the Billie Jean King’s Eye coach.
  6. Practicing by hitting against a mattress.
  7. Practicing in front of a mirror.
  8. Using the Topspin Pro.
  9. Practicing your serve with a tennis ball hanging from the ceiling.
  10. Practicing your serve toss and contact point next to a wall or fence.

Next, I’ll dive into more in-depth in each of these exercises, and give you some ideas on how to practice them while actually hitting a ball.

1. Practice your groundstrokes against a wall (or garage door).

Romakoma / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet (of preference a small size, around 24 inches)
  • A foam ball
  • A place, next to a wall (garage door) with enough space to swing and move around.

Strokes to practice:

Forehands, backhands, and slices.

How is it helpful?

Since most of us don’t have enough space at home to practice with a regular ball, it’s essential that, instead, we use a foam ball. It will allow us to work on the proper form while doing full swing because the ball won’t bounce too far or too fast. As a result of a slow bounce, using the foam will also help us to emphasize the correct technique.

Slowing things down is critical to work on proper swing and technique. If you are a beginner, I recommend that you get some practice with the foam ball; it’s going to help you build solid fundamentals while training your timing and contact point of the ball.

Obviously, this doesn’t replace hitting a tennis ball; however, it’s for sure a good way to practice your strokes muscle memory.

How to get started?

First, you’ll need to find a place at home, close to a wall, with enough space around to move and hit the ball back and forth. I’ll suggest a space of about 12 feet long from the wall and 9 feet wide. A great place, for some of you, to practice with a foam ball will be in your driveway, next to the garage door. Hitting against a window is also a good option because the ball’s material is quite soft.

Using a foam ball will reduce the chances of breaking something at home or making loud sounds, which will definitely help in keeping a good relationship with the family and neighbors. 

The most popular foam ball is the Qst 36 stage 3 ball, made for children and beginners. However, there is another smaller foam ball, called Zsig, that bounces even less, which is better for those who have limited space.

When it comes to the kind of racquet to use, I suggest using a smaller size racquet (around 24 or 23 inches long). However, any racquet size should work for this exercise.

More ideas:

The type of strokes and drills you can practice with this setup are many. It’s pretty much like hitting against a regular tennis wall at your club.

If you’re a beginner, keep it simple and start with only forehand or backhands, I’ll suggest you watch some YouTube videos on how to hit the forehand and backhand. There, you’ll find a lot of useful free resources to learn all about improving your tennis game.

If you would like to find more about practicing against the wall at home, check the following post that I wrote: “How to Practice Tennis Without a Court

2. Use a tennis rebounder.

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • A tennis rebounder
  • A place with enough space to move around and hit the ball

Strokes to practice:

All (Forehands, backhands, volleys, serves, slices and overheads)

How is it helpful?

Practicing against a wall, a backboard, or a rebounder has been a vital way to practice tennis for many years. They can, arguably, be considered the best tennis partners. They never miss, and the ball always comes back, forcing you to hit again and again.

Since hitting against a backboard or a rebounder lets you do a lot of strokes repetition, it’s essential to practice the correct form and technique. Otherwise, your practice session can be more harmful than helpful because you’ll be reinforcing bad technique and habits.

The main difference between practicing at home against a rebounder and wall is that, due to the limited space, using a rebounder allows you to practice with regular balls. Unless you live in a huge house with plenty of space, hitting a regular tennis ball against a wall at home is not feasible; that’s why I suggest using foam balls instead.

If you’re a beginner, before using a regular ball to hit against a rebounder or a tennis wall, I’ll suggest starting with a foam ball. Practicing in a slow-pace manner will allow you to learn and reinforce the correct technique; which will help you develop strong tennis fundamentals to build your game from.

How to get started?

They are plenty of options on the market for tennis rebounders. Prices range from $100 to $800. As well as with the eye coach, these are excellent tennis aid to hit plenty of extra balls outside the court.

One that I found compelling is “The Tennis Partner 3”, which costs around $700. I don’t own one, but I’ve seen videos of this rebounder in action, and it looks very good; in my opinion, the best in the market. 

Credits – YouTube channel: Tennis Partner

Nevertheless, I understand, that for most of us, is way too much to money, so I made a list of tennis rebounders and backboards for different price ranges. For more info, check the following article “Best tennis rebounders and backboards for different budgets – Ultimate Guide!”

I’ll suggest finding a place at home with enough space to place your tennis rebounder; around 12 feet long and 9 feet wide. This will help you to swing with confidence, and prevent you from breaking anything of value at home.

More ideas:

I’ll recommend starting with forehands and emphasizing in hitting with proper technique. Try to challenge yourself by hitting a certain amount of balls in a row without missing. Then raise that number every time you accomplish your objective.

Afterward, continue with backhands and use the same strategy as with the forehands. Once you feel comfortable with both shots, you can alternate them by hitting one forehand and backhand and then repeat.

For more info and ideas on practicing with a tennis rebounder, check the following article “Ways to practice your game using a tennis rebounder.”

3. Practice your volleys against the wall (or garage door).

Carlos Amarillo / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • A tennis ball (any kind)
  • A place, next to a wall (or garage door) with enough space to swing and move around.

Stroke to practice:

Forehand and backhand volleys.

How is it helpful?

One problem most players have at the net is over swinging on their volleys, instead of keeping the wrist and racquet steady. Working on your volleys against the wall is a great way to get rid of this bad habit. Since the ball is coming right back at you, this exercise forces you to keep your wrist steady and not to swing when volleying. Otherwise, you won’t have enough time to react, and you’ll be hitting the ball late, most of the time.

Also, when practicing volleys against the wall, the ball comes back right away, reducing the time between shots. This will help you to develop better reflexes and improve your reaction time.

How to get started?

On the same setup you practice your groundstrokes against the wall, you can practice your volleys as well. For these volley exercises, you can use any kind of ball (regular, green, orange, red, or foam balls). You can even start with a foam ball and work your way up to a regular ball, taking a progressive approach.

If you’re a beginner, I recommend using a foam ball to slow it down and to make sure you’re working on the proper technique, while a using continental grip. If you’re using a regular ball (or another ball that is not a foam ball) make sure to take the necessary safety measures to avoid breaking something of value.

More ideas:

To keep you motivated, it’s crucial that you set challenges for yourself. For example, in your first practice session, you can set up a goal of hitting 20 forehand volleys back and forth against the wall. Make sure only to count the ones where you used proper technique, as well as, a continental grip. Then, you can do the same thing with backhands.

Also, if you have all types of ball, you can start by hitting a specific # (let’s say 30) of balls back and forth without missing. Start with a foam ball, and then work your way through red, orange, green and regular balls (in that order).

Check the following video to get a better idea on how to work on your volleys against the wall.

Credits – YouTube channel: EdgarGiffenig

4. Play mini tennis with a partner.

Yuriy Golub / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A DIY mini tennis court.
  • A foam ball
  • Two tennis racquets
  • A friend, spouse, kid, parent, grandpa/ma, neighbor or anybody who is willing to play with you! (Your dog or cat might have a hard time holding the racquet, hehe)

Strokes to practice:

All (Forehands, backhands, volleys, serves, slices and overheads)

How is it helpful?

Let’s face it, playing with somebody else, it’s always (ok! most of the time) more fun than playing by yourself. If you’re trying to teach tennis to your kids, this is a great way to get them started.

Having your own mini tennis court at home can make the learning process more convenient and easy. Also, with a foam ball, you guys will be able to work on the correct form and technique for each stroke, while having lots of fun.

How to get started?

First, you’ll have to build your own mini tennis courts. The hardest part is to find or make the space. Your driveway, for example, could be a good location for your improvise mini tennis court. Another option could be an empty parking lot; however, make sure that you take the proper safety precautions.

Although I’ll suggest your mini tennis court size to be the same as an official USTA and ITF 36 feet red ball court (which is a mini court for little kids), it’s ok if you don’t have enough space and decide to make it smaller. The recommended size is around 18 feet wide and 36 feet long, with the net height being around 2.9 feet high.

If you need to make the court smaller and want to keep the same court proportions, make sure the court width is always half of the court length or the court length is two times longer the court width. (For example, if your court is 30 feet long, the court width should be 15 feet)

The materials you’ll need are two chairs, caution tape, and masking tape (or chalk, or anything that can be used to do the lines and distinguish the court parameters). For specific instructions, on make to build a mini tennis court, please check the following article I wrote: “How To Make a Mini Tennis Court

Also, if you are really into this, you can buy this multi-sport height-adjustable net on Amazon for around $50. However, two chairs and caution tape should be good enough to make your own net.

More ideas:

Once you have your mini tennis court, the options are limitless. From doing a rally challenge, on how many balls you and your partner can hit in a row, to actually playing a real tennis game.

If you’re just starting in tennis, I’ll recommend keeping it as simple as possible and trying to hit the ball back and forth with your partner. You can just start by hitting forehands (one hand); hit the ball sideways with a back and forth swing.

When beginning to play tennis, I believe is crucial for players to develop their timing of the ball, as well as, their eye-hand coordination first. So, remember to keep it as simple as you can before you start getting too technical.

Check the following video to get a better idea on how to hit the forehand in a simple way.

Credits – YouTube channel: Sports and Outdoors

5. Use the Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach.

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • The Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach
  • A place with enough space to swing the racquet

Strokes to practice:

All (Forehands, backhands, volleys, serves, slices and overheads)

How is it helpful?

Although the Eye Coach’s primary purpose is to help you focus and track the ball, it’s, also, an excellent tool for working on proper technique and form. This tennis aid can help you to develop correct muscle memory for all your strokes.

Since the ball is sort of stationary, it allows you to emphasize and concentrate on the form and technique of each stroke, without having to worry on timing the ball, in terms of height and speed. Furthermore, it enables you to hit the ball at your own pace and, if needed, to slow down to practice the correct form.

Using the eye coach to practice your groundstrokes makes it much more realistic and fun than just shadow swinging.

Credits – YouTube channel: Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach

As a tennis coach, I’ve seen how players can drastically speed up the learning process by using this tool. It’ll allow you to get more practice in a shorter period; you can easily hit around 20 strokes a minute. This means that you can hit about 600 strokes in a half-hour of training with the Eye Coach (without considering the breaks you might take).

How to get started?

You can find the Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach for around $150 to $190, depending on whether you buy the junior or pro version. I think both have the same functionality and effectiveness. The main difference between them is the height; the junior is shorter than the pro version.

You can purchase the Eye Coach on the following websites: onandoffcourt.com, amazon.com, or howtoplaytennis.net.
Although it might be pricey, I believe it’s an excellent investment for your tennis game. It’ll enable you to get extra practice when you’re not on the court.

If you cannot afford to buy it or don’t feel like spending the money, I might have an alternative for you. You can buy a Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach replacement arm (which only comes with the ball and the stick) for around $45, and make your own base.

Check the following article to find out more about how you can get the Eye Coach for less than $100 “How to Save Up to $80 on a Tennis Eye Coach!“.

More ideas:

With the Eye Coach, you can practice all the tennis strokes, from forehand and backhands to serves.

If you’re a beginner, I’ll recommend keeping it simple and starting with forehand and backhands. If you’re learning on your own, I’ll suggest breaking down the strokes in 3 or 4 steps max. Use trigger words that describe each step of the stroke; this will allow you to remember them with more ease.

Check the following clip to get a better idea on how to practice with the Eye Coach.

Credits – YouTube channel: Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach

6. Practice by hitting against a mattress.

Ivelin / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • A mattress
  • A wall with enough space around
  • Regular tennis balls (as many as you want)
  • A bucket (or something to put the balls in)

Strokes to practice:

Forehands, backhands, slices, and serves

How is it helpful?

If you want to practice with regular balls inside your house (on a small and closed space), you can do it by using a mattress. On most exercises, we emphasize the use of foam balls to practice tennis at home; however, on this one, you have the alternative of using regular balls.

By placing a mattress against the wall, you can hit your groundstrokes and serves using regular balls. The mattress will absorb the impact of the ball, reducing the bounce of it. Without using the mattress, hitting with regular balls, for most of us, will not be feasible, giving the limited space that we have.

Although hitting with foam balls is a great way to practice at home, it by no means replaces the need to practice with regular balls. By adding a mattress to your tennis toolkit, you have another alternative to hit extra regular balls outside the tennis court.

How to get started?

First, you’ll need to find a place at home (indoors or outdoors), where you have enough space to swing the racquet and hit the balls. I’ll suggest approx. Twelve feet long from the wall and nine feet wide on the sides. After you find the right location, put your mattress against the wall, so that it’s standing on the wall.

Then, get a bucket, a box, or even a bag to place the balls in; this will be a substitute for a tennis basket. It’ll be convenient if you have around 20 balls or more in the bucket, so you don’t have to pick up balls every time.

After setting up everything, start by practicing your groundstrokes by self-feeding the balls. You’ll be able to hit with full swings because the mattress will absorb the impact and the ball won’t bounce too much. Just make sure to take the necessary precautions, so that you don’t break anything. Try always to hit the mattress; otherwise, the ball will bounce back very fast.

More ideas:

As mentioned before, this method requires that you self-feed the balls. This means that you’ll have to drop the ball, and then hit it. In the beginning, it takes practice to get used to self-feeding balls, but eventually, you’ll get it.

Practicing the forehand is very straightforward; you drop the ball with one hand and hit it with the other. For two-handed backhands self-feeding can be a little tricky; you’ll have to self-feed with one hand, and right away hold the racquet with both to hit the ball. It’ll take some time getting used to self-feeding, but is nothing you won’t be able to do.

Besides working on groundstrokes, you can also practice serves. If the ceiling is not too high to toss the ball, you can practice serves while sitting on a chair or being on your knees.

Below, I’m sharing a YouTube video of how to practice against a mattress.

Credits – YouTube channel: The School Of Sports

7. Practice in front of a mirror.

MasterPhoto / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • A full-length mirror
  • Optional: Billie Jean King’s Eye coach

Strokes to practice:

Forehands, backhands, slices, volleys, and serves

How is it helpful?

Shadowing is used in many sports to work on the technique of the strokes while improving one’s muscle memory. In tennis, shadowing is especially useful for beginners because it allows them to work on proper stroke repetition and form.

Nonetheless, sometimes when practicing shadowing, we might not use the correct technique; that’s why it helps to shadow in front of a mirror. This enables us to identify any mistake, we might be doing, and to correct them right at that moment. Besides, this type of practice helps to stimulate proper muscle memory, which is extremely important to have good tennis strokes.

How to get started?

Most likely, somewhere in your house, you have a full-length mirror. If not, you can always buy one at Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot, or stores alike. I’ll recommend that instead of only shadowing in front of a mirror, to add the Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach to your shadowing routine so that you’re actually hitting a ball while working on your strokes.

Using this tennis aid will make it more realistic, as well as, to help you to stay motivated. If you’re a beginner, be sure to slow it down, at first, so that you’re able to work on the correct form. After that, progressively increase the pace and speed of your strokes.

More ideas:

Start with slow-motion shadowing, while keeping in mind all the proper steps to hit that particular stroke. Also, keep an eye on the mirror so you can spot any incorrect technique. Remember that the whole idea of this exercise is to improve your muscle memory.

After shadowing in front of the mirror, add the Eye Coach to the drill. Then, I’ll suggest that you practice against the wall with a foam ball. This will help you to build solid muscle memory while working on accurately timing the ball.

8. Use the TopspinPro.

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • The TopspinPro
  • A place with enough space to swing the racquet

Strokes to practice:

Forehands and backhands

How is it helpful?

Back in the day, most players will be hitting the ball with little or no topspin. However, hitting with topspin is an essential part of modern tennis. The benefits of hitting with topspin are many; for a beginner player is very useful, as it helps with consistency and control over the ball. In a more competitive level, hitting with topspin allows players to put more pressure on their shots, and keep their opponent behind the baseline.

Having a tennis aid that’s primary purpose is to develop your topspin will significantly help your tennis game.

How to get started?

You can get the TopspinPro for about $140 on Amazon or, on their website, topspinpro.com. They offer a no-questions-asked 60 days 100% money back guarantee, which helps with the creditability of this tennis aid.

An important tip to remember is not to touch the mesh screen when practicing; this will help you to keep the racket angle constant through the contact point. This tool can be set up in any place at home, as long as you enough space to swing the racquet and move around.

Check the following video to get a better idea of the TopspinPro.

Credits – YouTube channel: TheTopspinPro

More ideas:

Although it seems very similar to the Billie Jean King’s Eye Coach, the TopspinPro focus mainly on practicing topspin on the forehand and backhand.

I’ll suggest starting by working on wrist action. Put your racquet next to the ball and, with your wrist, try to make the ball spin without touching the mesh screen. After feeling comfortable with that, practice by doing a complete swing. If you’re a beginner, this tennis aid will help you to feel the difference between hitting topspin and flat shots.

9. Practice your serve with a tennis ball hanging from the ceiling.

nd3000 / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • A regular tennis ball (or any kind of tennis ball)
  • Scissors or a knife
  • A wall hook or duck tape
  • A rope, cord, or shoelace

Strokes to practice:

Serves and overheads

How is it helpful?

Besides struggling with an inconsistent toss, an issue most players have while serving is in meeting the ball at the correct contact point, as well as, to extend the arm while hitting the ball. By taking away the pressure of tossing the ball, this DIY tennis aid will help you to practice on arm extension and proper contact point.

Also, insolating the contact point from the toss will help you to improve your timing thru the serve. Plus, if you’re a beginner, this aid will allow you to work on maintaining a continental grip, as well as, to use proper risk action during contact point.

How to get started?

First, you’ll need to make two holes on the ball; you can use scissors or a knife. If you have a drill, it’ll make it much easier, but I don’t think it’s necessary. The holes should be around 3 inches apart.

Next, get a shoelace, or any kind of rope, and pass it through both holes and make a knot depending on how high you want it to hang from the ceiling. This will depend on your height, as well as, the ceiling height. After that, place a wall hook on the ceiling, and then, hang the shoelace with the ball on the hook. If you don’t have a wall hook, you can use duct tape (or any kind of strong tape) to paste the shoelace (with the ball) on the ceiling. Make sure that the ball is hanging at around your serving contact point height.

If your ceiling is not high enough to stand, you can practice while setting or being on your knees. As long as, you’re able to do the proper technique, the exercise should still be useful.

More ideas:

An advantage of this tennis aid is that it’ll allow you to focus only on the swing and contact point without having to worry about the toss. Be sure to remember to keep a continental grip while adjusting your wrist at the time of contact.

If you want to incorporate the toss and do a full serve, you can use a foam ball for the toss, but still hit the stationary ball and let the foam ball drop. If you don’t have a foam ball, you can use a ball, made out of paper, to simulate the toss.

If for any reason, you don’t feel like doing this tennis aid by yourself, you can buy a similar product called the “Serve Doctor.” It’s essentially the same concept, but instead of the ball hanging from the ceiling, it’s hanging from a stick. The only problem with this is that you’ll need somebody to hold it or place it somewhere the ball hangs high, and the rod doesn’t move.

10. Practice your serve toss and contact point, next to a wall or fence.

Arek Malang / Shutterstock

What do you need?

  • A tennis racquet
  • A tennis ball
  • A wall or fence with a height of at least 11 or 12 feet tall; and enough space on your surroundings to be able to swing.

Strokes to practice:

Serves and overheads

How is it helpful?

Another way to practice your serve is by working individually on your toss. If you ask most tennis players, they’ll tell you that the most crucial part of the serve is the toss. You can have a great technique, but if your toss is off and inconsistent, is most likely that your serve won’t be reliable. Likewise, I’ve seen many club players with strange technique but with quite consistent serves, due to their regular toss and proper timing of the ball.

With this exercise, you’ll work, primarily, on your toss and contact point. I’ll suggest starting with red balls and progressively advance to regular balls; however, any kind of ball should be fine.

How to get started?

You’ll have to find a place at home with a wall or fence with a height of at least 11 or 12 feet tall. For most of you, the exterior side of your house wall should work. If you must do it inside the house and the wall height isn’t high enough, you can practice while sitting down, or being on your knees. Otherwise, you won’t have enough space to toss the ball as usual.

Start by standing next to the wall (facing the wall around 7 inches apart). With a tennis racquet and a ball in hand, start making the serve motion (just as if you were on the tennis court). Then, toss the ball very close to the wall without touching it, forcing yourself to toss the ball straight. However, don’t do a forward swing yet; just keep practicing your toss. If you touch the wall with the ball, it means that your toss is not straight enough. Make sure to practice until your toss is straight and steady.

Once you achieve a consistent toss, the next step is to toss the ball and trap it with your racquet against the wall (with a forward swing); like if you were to actually hit the ball. This will help you to improve your contact point when serving. Although there are many ways to serve and toss the ball, I believe it’s essential to have a consistent toss with proper timing.

More ideas:

After getting comfortable with this exercise, challenge yourself by trying to toss the ball ten times in a row (or whatever # you think is appropriate). After that, try to raise that number again and again, until you’re consistently tossing the ball accurately. Practice the same way by combining the tossing and trapping of the ball; it’s always important to challenge yourself to stay motivated.

Also, remember that when it comes to tossing the ball, the only way to get better is by doing it over and over again. If you want more ideas on how to practice your serve at home, check the following article: “Practice your serve at home – Ultimate Guide!”

If you’re a beginner, the following video, from Essential Tennis, is great to get started on your serve.

Credits – YouTube channel: Essential Tennis

So, these are ten ways you can practice tennis at home. Remember that proper stroke repetition is vital in tennis; therefore, be patient and stay consistent, and results will come. To make your practice journey more enjoyable, I’ll suggest playing some music during your tennis exercises. Certainly, there are many more ways to practice tennis at home; please share your own ideas with us in the comment section.

Good luck and thanks for reading!