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How to Improve Your Quickness in Tennis

By Timna Katz
Updated on Jul 16, 2024
4 mins read

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams once said, “Tennis is mostly mental. Of course, you must have a lot of physical skill, but you can’t play tennis well and not be a good thinker.”

True success in any sport lies equally in physical and mental form. No great tennis player became a champion solely on physical form. Tennis demands not just physical prowess but also mental strength.

A stronger mind capable of withstanding extreme pressure, staying hyper-focused, and understanding strategy leads to a body that’s faster, more agile, and reflexive.

Dual training with BlazePod achieves this by combining physical movement with light cues. The light speed training equipment challenges your brain to process information and react in real time, constantly engaging and sharpening your reflexive behavior and boosting your ability to anticipate the unexpected. The constant challenge of dual training creates a neural superhighway, accelerating your reaction time and propelling you to new speed levels.

Here’s a breakdown of how to improve reaction speed through four interactive, engaging tennis quickness drills that will ensure you never dread a training session.

React and Return

Any tennis player needs to be just as coordinated as they are fit. Combine power hits with speed and coordination training to become an optimal player. The ‘React and Return’ drill enhances your spatial awareness, stability, and readiness for the next set. While there are only so many ways to practice hitting a ball, training for the unpredictable is what separates the average player from the champions.

You’ll need a feeder, a racquet, and 6 Pods to complete the React and Return drill. Arrange the Pods in a semi-circle around the baseline, spaced equally apart. Start the drill in the middle of the baseline, adjacent to the middle Pod. When a Pod lights up, quickly tap it out. After each Pod lights up, your feeder will bounce a ball in the opposite direction. Hit the ball, return to the starting position, and repeat until the set time ends. The duration can be as short as 45 seconds or as long as an hour if you have the stamina.

A tennis player tapping a Pod with her racquet

Racket Shuffle Comp

A fast reaction time is crucial for improving speed in tennis. If you want to learn how to improve speed in tennis, it is far more beneficial to focus on recognizing patterns on the court, predicting the next moves, and reacting precisely to set yourself apart from other players. In tennis, it takes a good player to know what to do next, but it takes a brilliant one to anticipate the opponent’s movements and act accordingly to win the point.

For this drill, team up with your doubles partner or a fellow player and prepare for intense competition. Arrange 6 Pods in a line, spaced 30cm apart. Each player starts on one side of the Pod line. When the Pods light up, tap your assigned color as quickly as possible and, just as importantly, faster than your opponent.

Depending on your skill level, you can choose between three variations of this drill. For beginners, the ‘Racquet Shuffle Comp Easy’ focuses on tapping the Pod lights as quickly as possible. The competition element comes from trying to beat your teammate or friend, fueling your drive to win. The Regular version gives players only 2.5 seconds to hit their Pods before it registers as a miss-hit. For professionals, the ‘Racquet Shuffle Comp Hard’ version ups the stakes. In this high-stakes, high-reward variation, if you tap your Pod light before the other player, they automatically get a miss-hit. Up for the challenge?

Tennis Slalom Hit Reaction

The ‘Tennis Slalom Hit Reaction’ drill will challenge you on multiple levels beyond just speed. It tests your agility, enhances your coordination skills, and improves your overall reaction time. Much like a tennis match, this drill aims to confuse and disorient you. Initially, adjusting to its many demands will be difficult, but with repeated practice, you'll notice increased speed, the ability to tune out external noise, and improved scanning abilities.

Set up four Pods on one side of the court and three to five small cones in a line adjacent to them. Start the drill from the baseline with a racquet in hand. Slalom around the cones while waiting for a Pod to light up. When it does, run to it as fast as possible and tap it. Then, a feeder (coach, teammate, or friend) will hit a ball at you. Hit the ball to the other side of the court and return to the slalom. Repeat until 1 minute 30 seconds, or your set time is up.

A tennis racquet tapping a Pod

Court Awareness

Prepare to move fast, think even quicker, and synchronize your mental and physical abilities to boost your speed and reaction time. The ‘Court Awareness’ drill trains you to be more alert, aware, and prepared for anything on the court. By improving how quickly your brain processes cues and converts them into patterns, you can supercharge your agility during gameplay.

For the Court Awareness drill, grab 5 Pods. Set up the drill by placing one Pod on the singles sideline in the corner of No Man’s Land and another in the center of the Left Service Box. Replicate these placements on the opposite side of the court. Add one more Pod at the center mark of No Man’s Land. Start the drill from the baseline. When a Pod lights up, run to it, tap it out with your racquet, then return to the centered Pod and tap that one out, too. The challenge lies in each color requiring a different hand to tap it out. For example, red requires a left-hand hit, while blue requires a right-hand hit.

Pods strapped to a tennis net