Tennis Footwork Drills – Improve Footwork Beginners

Tennis players know that success in this sport depends on the hand, eye, and footwork combination. Players need to be agile, speedy, and responsive. Thus, improving the footwork is crucial to score points. For beginners, it can be challenging to achieve the required footwork.

Tennis Footwork Drills

Thus, beginners need to seek different drilling and training programs to increase their footwork and agility. But what drill should you practice?

Don’t worry since we will discuss the top tennis footwork drills for beginners to boost their footwork performance. We will show you the top footwork drills, practice, benefits, and safety tips. Even if you are an intermediate tennis player, these foot drills should be useful.

These drills include ladder drills, simple ladder run, 2-step ladder run, shuffling, high knees, etc. So, without delay, let’s jump into the foot drilling discussion.

Top Tennis Footwork Drills:

If you have ever seen Rafa or Fed express in the court, you should watch their little foot movements and adjustments to remain in the right position. Also, when they serve or return the volley, they keep moving faster than you imagine. It helps them hit the ball perfectly, poisoning their feet and hands.

It brings us to the importance of learning the foot movement techniques. Unless you know how to move your feet fast and rightly, you can’t expect to progress far in tennis.

Ladder drills:

Ladder drills are among the basics of tennis movement skills. It improves your coordination and helps you twitch the muscles fast and responsively. The ladder drill helps you take the small steps to reach and hit the ball perfectly.

Yes, on the tennis court you need to cover a large space. Also, you need to cover the broader space within the shortest possible time. And it often starts with the small steps you take in the court. If you fail to take the smaller steps and can’t coordinate between the smaller steps, you will surely fail to go to the ball fast.

Thus, you will find yourself losing the point. In this regard, regular drilling of the ladder technique will be useful. You can practice the drill easily by drawing a ladder on the court and moving front and backward within the drawn ladder.

The ladder drill will help you achieve the following skills better:

  • Speed
  • Stamina
  • Coordination

It is also helpful for beginners since it is easy to practice. You can do it even without any professional trainer’s suggestion. You can follow YouTube videos of ladder drills for tennis players.

Simple ladder run:

Another key but easy practice footwork drill for tennis players is the simple ladder run. While in the ladder drill, you put one step on each ladder with ease, this time, you will take it further.

With the simple ladder run drilling, you will need to start running faster front and back. Yes, set your ladder on the ground. You may draw one with caulk if you don’t have the ladder. Then, start running forward as you put your foot on each box. Once you reach the top of the ladder, turn backward and continue running until you reach the bottom of the ladder. Ensure that you firmly put your foot on each box while running through the ladder at both times.

The simple ladder run is a great way to warm up before the games. It will help you circulate the blood through improved pumping. As your blood circulation improves, you become more fit and agile.

Nonetheless, when you practice the simple ladder run drill, ensure that you keep your feet grounded as less as possible. It would be best to touch each box fast and then lift the foot to touch the ground on the next box. The faster you touch the ground and lift your feet, the better your movement. Also, it would help if you tried putting it in the middle of each box on the ladder. It also helps you achieve agility and swift movement to cover a broader distance.

Last but not least, this drilling technique helps you improve the accuracy of shorter moves. So, its main benefits are:

  • Improvement inaccuracy
  • Faster and responsive movement
  • Shorter steps with speedier moves

2-step ladder run:

You have learned the easier techniques for footwork improvement to move speedily and accurately. So, why don’t you try taking this further with a tougher drilling session?

Yes, the 2-step ladder run is tougher for beginners. However, when you start practicing it, you will soon realize that it will be useful for those challenging moments on the tennis court when you need to go from one side of the court to another side and hit the ball accurately.

In this drilling technique, you will need to put both your feet on the same ladder box. It contrasts with the simple ladder run where you put one step on each box. When you practice this drilling session, you need to focus on the following instructions.

  • Maintain neat and clean footwork
  • Minimize your contact time with the ground
  • Put your both feet in the middle of the same box simultaneously

You will surely see the difference when you accurately perform these three techniques in the 2-step ladder run drill. The drilling technique improves your footwork accuracy and boosts muscle strength.

Lateral quick steps:

On the tennis court, you will mostly move laterally and horizontally. Thus, you must develop lateral movement accuracy and speed. It will help you run and walk laterally on the tennis court. It is crucial since lateral or sideways movement can be tougher than most tennis players think.

The learning technique remains the same for the ladder run drilling method. During the lateral speed drill, put a ladder on the ground laterally. Then start by moving forward and then backward. You need to put one step on each box and ensure you ground the feet for the least possible time. You can reach the ball faster as you improve your lateral movement accuracy.

Also, note that lateral movement is more challenging than moving upward and backward. So, it would help if you were attentive and patient to practice the quick lateral steps. Once you learn the basics of lateral movement, you can speed up it.

Finally, like the 2-step ladder run, practice putting both feet in the same box with the least grounding time. It helps you achieve the following benefits:

  • Balancing your body
  • Improves your muscle strength
  • Improves your feet and hand coordination

The best part of this drilling technique for a tennis player is that you can practice it at home. Also, you will get several videos on YouTube suggesting the proper instructions for the quick lateral steps. You can watch them improve the accuracy.

Tennis Footwork Drill

High knees:

When you build confidence in quick lateral steps, you can take it one step further through the high knees drilling method. The high knee tennis footwork drill is among the top practicing methods you can learn to improve your tennis accuracy.

The drill can be challenging, so you should progress slowly but steadily. Start with minimal stress and gradually increase the drilling time and difficulty. As you increase the drilling intensity, your heart will start pumping faster. So, you should be ready for it and increase the intensity gradually.

You don’t need to hasten in the high knee drilling at all. Also, you shouldn’t expect to improve accuracy and intensity with the high knees within a few days. It will take months to get a better result with the high knee drilling technique. So, you must also be patient during the progress.

Its common advantages include:

  • Strengthen your muscle power and coordination
  • It helps you cope with the intensity during the real games
  • Jumping skills and knee positioning for different shots

In and out:

Until now, you have learned all the basic tennis footwork drills techniques. So, it’d time to introduce a few challenging yet helpful drills to improve your footwork. In this regard, the in and out drill is a great option.

The drilling method is tough but surely enjoyable.

The drill focuses on your muscle coordination and accuracy. The drilling technique has two parts. These are:

  1. Put one put in the box and follow with the other one
  2. After that, put one step out and let the other step follow it

This way, you can quickly improve your accuracy and coordination. The drill helps you adjust your body according to the ball’s movement. You will love the accuracy it brings to your feet on the tennis court as you track and hit the ball.

Spider drill:

All the tennis footwork drills we mentioned earlier are for the out-of-the-tennis court session. On the other side, the spider drill technique is for the court practicing sessions. Thankfully, the drilling method is easy to learn.

  1. Find the intersection of the singles and baseline of your tennis court.
  2. Place the ball right on the intersecting point.
  3. Next, find the intersection of the singles line with the service line.
  4. Place two balls in this intersecting point.
  5. Finally, find the intersection of the centerline and service line. Place a ball at this location.

You will have to grab the balls and quickly put them on the baseline. The faster you accomplish collecting balls, the better your movement accuracy and speed. As you grab the ball by bending to the ground and quickly turning towards the baseline, it improves coordination and balancing.

The drill will be useful when you play for points since you need to transfer your body weight quickly with accuracy. Its key benefits include:

  • Faster movement with accuracy
  • Better balance while changing direction
  • Improve speed during the directional change

Running lines:

Another excellent drill to enhance your tennis skill is the running lines drilling method. Also, it is one of the most serious footwork drills you can learn. There’s no joking and fun about the running line drill technique.

The main motive of this drill is to boost your fitness. Consequently, it will help you pump your foot with better fitness and agility when your feet start feeling weak.

  1. Place yourself on the outside tram line.
  2. Touch the inside tram line.
  3. Then, you must return and touch the outside tram line.
  4. Repeat the same process for the centerline.
  5. You have to continue it for the far tram lines.

This way, you can continue running and touching the different lines on the tennis court. It helps in accuracy and swift movement.

Frequently Asked Questions: Tennis Footwork Drills

  • How can I improve my tennis footwork?

You can improve your footwork on the tennis court with the drilling sessions. It includes running lines, in and out drills, quick lateral steps, etc. The key to improving footwork is to keep drilling for hours and months and continue it always.

  • What exercises improve footwork?

We have already mentioned the top exercises to improve footwork. You can also practice forward jumps, diagonal sprints, etc., techniques to boost your footwork on the tennis court.

  • Why are footwork drills important in tennis?

Better and more intense footwork drills will help the tennis players to cover more space inside the court. Also, the footwork drills will help you build strength and confidence that will help you get good scores in the games.


The top tennis footwork drills listed here will help you achieve faster movement, better coordination, and strengthen your muscles. Beginners will find these top drilling methods for improving their tennis skills. The suggestions include techniques you can practice at home and on the court. So, these mixed footwork drills will be useful throughout the year.

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