As a youngster tennis player, the technical part of your tennis game is very important, but another main aspect is footwork and movement to help you get to balls on the court. Young players do not really need to do very heavy or hard fitness as they are still young and are growing but learning some basic footwork and movement drills is quite necessary.
Some young players at times just stand there and don’t really move to the ball on the tennis court like to wait for the ball to come to them and not go to the ball to hit it. But doing movement drills allows them to run and move around more. Also, by just standing there on the court, you are less likely to react to the ball and therefore hit the ball late or even not get there.
Youngsters should learn to jump rope or to skip as this can improving your jumping on the court. Also, an important thing to do is use a speed or agility ladder to improve on your footwork. Here are some basic movements to get you started:
Forward/Backward Single Run
Put one foot into the first square, then put your back foot in the next square and so on.
Forward/Backward Double Run
Put one foot into the first square with the second foot also coming into the same square after and then repeat this to each square across the whole ladder.
Lateral Side Skips
Start on the side of the of the ladder and put one foot into the first square, then the next foot follows to go into the same square and keep going along the whole ladder.
Lateral In’s and Out’s
Face the ladder horizontally and place one foot into the first square and the other follows, then go back down under the second square and so on. Do this from left to right and then right to left.
Hop forward on one foot and keep going until the end. After that, swap feet and go the other way.
Those were just some of the basics and if you are comfortable with that you can try some of these harder and advanced drills:
Forward/Backward Ickey Shuffle Double and Single
Start on the side of the ladder and put one foot into the first square, then put the other foot into the first square as the first foot goes onto onto the other side. Repeat this until you make the whole ladder.
Jump with two feet forward, then hop on one foot, then two and so on.
Lateral Ickey Shuffle
Face the ladder horizontally and place one foot into the first square and as the second foot is coming into the first square, move the first foot on top of the ladder and go back down.
Two Forward, then One Back
Make a leap of two squares, then jump back one square and so on.
Start on the side of the ladder and place one foot into the first square and let the second foot go over the first into the second square. Then, the first foot goes behind the second and goes into the third. After that, the second goes behind the first and so on.
These ladder drills can help you completely with footwork and movement and you will be able to easily move to balls around the tennis court as a youngster.