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At-Home Tennis Lesson Plans for Junior Players

Are you a junior player (or parent) missing tennis? You’re not alone.

Tennis players of all ages and abilities are struggling to find ways to stay involved with the game while also engaging in social distancing. So Seth Walrath and our Junior Development team put together a lesson plan for junior players, targeted for ages 10-13, to help them stay involved and improve their games while at home.

While these drills are created for younger players, they can be adapted to older juniors or even adults.

Enjoy the training. And of course, if you have questions, email walrath@ms.usta.com.

Want to see more ways you can try “tennis at home”? Click HERE to check out Net Generation tennis at home videos and visit our instagram page @ustamiddlestates. 

Lesson 1:

Focus: Team USA drills – reaction speed, strength, technique  

1. Lateral Engagement: Can be done with a sibling or parent

  • Can do this timed 1:1 ratio
  • 20 seconds (followed by 20-second rest)
  • progress to 30 seconds (followed by 30-second rest) … etc

2. Muscle Activation: Ground strokes

  • 3 sets of 3 (recommended)   

3. Serve At Home Progression: Most of these progressions can be done without a court

 

Lesson 2:

Focus: Team USA drills – dynamic balance, strength, technique   

1. Heart Raiser Can be done solo

  • Keep in mind the video is shortened, we recommend each warmup exercise being done 6-8 times 

2. Split Step Can be done with a sibling or parent clapping.

  • Recommend 4 sets of 8-12 splits done randomly

3. Movement Patterns recommend 4 sets of 10

4. Medicine Ball Loading Drill with a parent or sibling use a 1-2 pound medicine ball

  • If you do not have a medicine ball us a basketball, soccer ball or volleyball

 

Lesson 3:

Focus: Team USA drills – Lateral Change of direction, Eye-hand/ dynamic balance, Volley/ Overhead technique  

1. Lateral Engagement Part 2 Can be done with a sibling or parent

  • We Recommend doing this exercise for 15- 20-second intervals followed by equal rest, 3 or 4 times with lead change

2. Ankle Stability Can be done with a sibling, parent or wall!

  • 2 progressions – recommend doing each progression twice for 1-2min

3. Tennis Specific Movement (volley/ overhead) Can be done solo in any open space (backyard, driveway etc..)

  • 3 progressions – for each progression complete 8-10 repetitions. 

 

Lesson 4:

Focus: Team USA drills – Tennis Specific Movement, Eye-hand/ Plyo, Agility

1. Heart Raiser #2: Can be done solo

  • Keep in mind the video is shortened, we recommend each warmup exercise being done 6-8 times 

2. Depth Drops: Can be done with a sibling or parent

3. Agility: (Follow the recommendations in the video)

 

Lesson 5:

Focus: Team USA  National Coach- Mental Conditioning

Podcast – Daily Mental Practice with Jon Glover

 

Lesson 6:

Focus: Team USA Exercises – Footwork/ Lateral Reaction Speed/ Eye-hand/ Split Steps

1. Speed Reaction in 3’s: You will need two partners for this exercise

  • Recommend 30- or 40-second round, followed by a rotation. Each person goes 3-4 times each.   

2. Single-Leg Squats: Can do on your own or with a partner (recommend 20 on each leg) 

3. Split Step: Have a partner to call commands and direction with the depth drops and switch after 8-10

 

Lesson 7:

Focus: Strength, Reaction Speed, and Split Step

1. Athletic Development

  • Soccer is a great way to warm up and get your feet moving. You can do this with a parent or a sibling.

2. Muscle Activation #2

  • It is recommended to do approximately 3 sets of 15 with your toes straight and then with your toes pointed out.

3. Split Step #2

  • The first drill should be done with a partner. In the second drill, you will need to use a wall.  
  • It is recommended to do 3-4 sets of 12-16 randomly tossed balls, with a 30-second rest period in between.

 

Lesson 8:

Focus: Movement, Hand-Eye Coordination, Ankle Stability, Strength and Balance

1. Lateral Engagement: You will need a partner for this exercise.

  • Do this exercise twice for 25 seconds, followed by 20-second rest. 
  • Progress to the next variation by adding a toss in the air, a bounce and a roll. 
  • Do this for 30 seconds, followed by 30-second rest.
  • (Reminder- tosses should be unpredictable) 

2. Foundation Strength:  You will need a partner and resistance bands for this exercise. 

  • Watch all four exercises that are demonstrated in the video. 
  • Complete each exercise in the order given for 2 minutes followed by a 30-second break.
  • Do this circuit three times in total.

 

Lesson 9:

Focus: Speed, Strength and Balance

Plyometric Specific Session 

Please make sure to rest between each exercise and focus on quality execution. 

Follow the recommendations below:

  • 2 sets of 2 minutes jumping rope (warm-up)
  • 3 sets of 4 low proprioception jumps (hold the landing for 1 second)
  • 3 sets of 5 cone jumps (land on the balls of your feet first)
  • 3 sets of 4 low proprioception jumps (land toe to heel)
  • 3 sets of 3 counter move jumps (hands on hips)
  • 3 sets of 3 quick elastic jumps (use your arms)
  • 3 sets of 3 proprioception into counter jumps (minimal ground contact)
  • 3 sets of 3 square jumps to counter jumps (do the jumps quickly)
  • 2 sets of 3 landings followed by quick jump (land softly) 
  • 3 sets of 3 explosive first step jumps, followed by a quick reaction sprint to cone

Johnny Parkes has created a weekly athletic development challenge. Below is the video. Feel free to try it out.

Weekly Athletic Development Challenge: 

Push-Up Plank Rally Challenge

Don’t forget to tag @teamusatennis!    

 

Lesson 10:

Focus: Team USA Drills – Agility, Balance, Speed, Strength and Coordination

 
  • There are a lot of great exercises for you in this video.  
  • However, we do not recommend weight training under the age of 15

 

Lesson 11:

Focus: Team USA Drills – Reaction Speed, Strength, Stability and Movement

1. Head Shoulders Knees Toes  

  • Take turns doing this reaction speed drill with a partner 3 times each.

2. Strength / Stability / Mobility 

  • Follow the exercises demonstrated in this video with a partner.

3. Inside Leg Drive 

  • Watch the different professional players to see how they use their inside leg on the crossover step.  

4. Court Movement

  • Follow the movement exercise in this video and repeat the drill 8-10 times.  

 

Lesson 12:

We recommend using a 1 to 2-pound medicine ball for these exercises.  If you do not have a medicine ball you can substitute any large ball like a basketball, soccer ball or volleyball. 
 

1. Medicine Ball Squat Toss

  • 1-3 sets of 6-12 repetitions 

2. Medicine Ball Forehand & Backhand Throw

  • 10-15 repetitions on both the forehand and the backhand side

3. Walking Lunge Rotation

  • 1-3 sets of 6-12 repetitions 

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