Wish you could get your cardio in while playing tennis 🏃? I hear you, loud and clear!
After all, I still have to find one single tennis player who enjoys running and running and running 🙄.
I mean... yes, running outdoor with a nice view is already an upgrade to the treadmill, but still! There's better things to do, right?!
At the same time though, playing good tennis with no aerobic training whatsoever is just impossible. (You've read how shocking was it for me to get back on court after half a year of forced stop, haven't you?!)
Well, the good news is, with the right drills you can work on your cardio while hitting balls at the same time. (And maybe get a little discount on your weekly booooring cardio sessions 🦊!)
Hi, my name is Elena 👋🏻 and, just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can 🥇. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it.
That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way 🤓, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to 🔥.
But ok, back to business now!
I'm coming back from such an endless period of zero tennis and movement in general, so... I need cardio. Now more than ever. (I know what you're thinking, lucky you! 😝)
But while I'm so incredibly happy and grateful that I can run again, my enthusiasm for cardio workouts hasn't changed one bit! (Still there, below zero 🙈)
And I know they cannot be replaced and yes, I'm keeping my promise of 2 cardio sessions / week, but... at the same time, I started incorporating quite many cardio drills in my free tennis practices (you know, those "uncoached") so I can maybe get back in shape faster 🚀.
And you know what?! They crack your lungs just as much as the usual cardio run, if not more! But... no pain no gain, right?!
Plus, as they're so tough they usually make me re-evaluate the boring runs, which is not an insignificant win. "Just running is not that bad after all", that's what I think while I'm half dead during those drills 💀!
Sooo... you ready for these malicious, lungs-and-legs killers?!
(Oh... and btw, watching me executing them doesn't count as cardio workout. Just saying 🤷♀️😜.)
CARDIO DRILL #1: 2 groundstrokes, 2 volleys
OMG, this is a real killer. HUAH!
We usually just do it in the service boxes, because... we're masochist yes, but we still don't want to die for real ⚰️! And trust me, the service boxes work just fine.
Here's how it works: the player who feeds the ball is the one doing the drill and counting the strokes, while the other player just rallies normally.
So let's say I feed the ball. What I'll do is hit 2 groundstrokes, rush to the net and play 2 volleys, rush back to the service line and hit 2 groundstrokes and so on, until the rally ends because of a mistake.
Running forward and backward is not something we tennis players usually train a lot (as tennis mainly requires lateral movements), so believe me when I say you don't need many rallies to feel your calves and thighs on fire and your heart in your throat!
It's quite a devastating drill, which is why it may not be the most brilliant idea 💡 to start your warmup with it, but it's definitely a fun drill to work on once you're warm and ready to get real.
CARDIO DRILL #2: 3 cross-court, 1 down-the-line
This drill is awesome 🤩! And indeed, almost not a single practice goes without it.
Sometimes we use it as a warmup drill in the service boxes, to get the heart pumping and the legs rolling. But most of the time we use it to work on consistency and precision from the baseline.
In both cases it does its job perfectly 👌.
Here's how it works: the player who feeds the ball plays crosscourt the whole rally, while the opponent plays 1 ball crosscourt and 1 ball down the line. That makes indeed 3 balls crosscourt (counting the fed ball) and 1 down the line.
It looks easy when you're fresh, but the longer the rallies last the harder it gets to be precise, keep moving fast and still have those small adjustment steps that make all the difference.
CARDIO DRILL #3: feed and follow to the net
This is a drill we've just started doing lately and I must say, I didn't think it would be so tough 😯.
Oh man, luckily the balls we can fit in our pockets are not infinite and there's some time to take a breath here and there while we pick them up 😇. Otherwise, we would just die!
Here's how it works: the player who feeds the ball follows it immediately to the net and keeps making one step forward at every volley, while the other player plays the whole rally from the baseline.
What's tough about this drill is that the tempo is changing all the time. One ball you're the one moving forward and playing volleys, the next ball you're the one hurried trying to keep up the rally from the bottom while your buddy is rushing you from the net.
Oh and what's even tougher is that it's a non-stop drill, meaning you don't get a single moment to rest. As soon as you're done with the rally at the net, you start running backward right away and get ready for the next rally 🥵.
Try it. And good luck!
CARDIO DRILL #4: 1 cross-court, 1 down-the-line
We call this drill butterfly, as the trajectory of the ball should draw a perfect butterfly 🦋. But that's pretty much all it has to do with butterflies.
Here's how it works: the player who feeds always plays crosscourt, while the other one always down the line.
While executing it, you don't feel like a cute butterfly at all. Yes, you're flying at every shot, but just because you end up out of balance most of the time.
Think more of an elephant that swerves 🐘. That's more accurate, especially when you're the one hitting down the line!
Anyway... this drill makes you feel uncomfortable, which is good! After all, when on earth have you felt comfortable in a tennis match?!
And voilà. These are the cardio drills I've been doing a bit more often lately, to speed up my comeback and make sure I don't feel like 💩 every time I go for a run!
💬 Ever done any of these? Which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!
Mine is by far the butterfly. I know, you're probably thinking: "Then you like feeling like a swerving elephant?". I guess 🤷♀️. It's not that bad after all 😂!
Ahahah jokes apart... the thing is, I love competing and being under pressure, and that drill just makes me forget I'm practicing and teleports me in match mood. Which I love!
Thanks a lot for reading this blog up to the very end, I really hope you enjoyed this roundup of drills! If you did, click on the clap button below so I know you did 💕.
Talk to you very soon,
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