Tennis training aids? Do they work?
October 25, 2008 9:15 AM   Subscribe

What's everyone's experience with tennis training aids? Have any actually worked for you and helped improve your game?

I have bad habits in a little bit of everywhere, but particularly my serve. I realize that sure I could just try to completely re-design my serve and start from scratch, but I'm hoping there is something that could significantly help me with my serve and particularly serving into the correct service court and not 80 ft out of bounds.

Any suggestions/advice would be very much appreciated. The only conditions would be that the item of choice not be above $50 and that I'd like advice on any tennis items that have been helpful for you... although I do lean towards items that have helped your serve
posted by isoman2kx to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Practice, Practice, Practice. Not a big believer in tennis aids, but I do believe your best bet to improve the serve is to get a hopper full of ball and just hit as many serves as you can.
If you're just doing serves then you can buy a bag/bucket of cheapo balls and use them in the hopper.
I highly recommend Talk Tennis forum managed by Tennis Warehouse.
Lots of good advice from experienced players about your toss/service motion etc.

Also recommend Fuzzy Yellow Balls. Go through the serve videos and go out with the hopper full of balls and try to mimic the motions.

Good luck and have fun hitting the fuzzy yellow/green balls....
posted by Papa Mango at 10:04 AM on October 25, 2008

I agree with Papa Mango up on top. I've messed around with a couple of "aids" while playing on various teams, but none short of an actual ball machine has been all that helpful. As above, far and away the biggest aid is a huge quantity of balls so that you can minimize the time spent crossing to the other side and picking up. Yeah, it means longer cleanup at the end, but I've found that hitting 40 serves at a go is vastly more useful to me than 10 at a time.

That said, a good hopper will be cheap and very, very handy. My favorites are the ones with handles that collapse around to the bottom so that you can use them as a stand.
posted by Rallon at 10:31 AM on October 25, 2008

I'd agree that nothing helps more than hitting a lot of balls without interruption.

Another sports aid I like is video. As much as it pains me to watch, I find that I can spot errors I make a lot better when seen from the third party perspective. So for serving, I'd get a helper to record me from various angles to see if I have a tendency I don't realize. For example, how consistent is my toss? Do I tend to over reach into the court? Do I have a late wrist snap? If you take video down the baseline, you should be able to see why you hit long. I'd keep the camera on you while you hit the above mentioned 40 balls and call each one as it lands so you can tell how that serve turned out. "Net, net, in, out by a mile, wide, in, in, in..."
posted by advicepig at 3:33 PM on October 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks a lot for all the advice so far :).

I've made one change since I posted. I'm going to buy a bucket of 48 pressureless balls today. I've got about 16/18'ish in my bag right now, but it never hurts to have a few thousand balls.


As much as it pains me as well, I was thinking along those exact same lines. I don't want to see my serve (which means it's good right? lol) , but I think that's exactly what I'm going to do next time I hit around with my friend. Borrow the ol' digital camera and watch my serves because it's hard for me to honestly tell as is. People can tell me, but I need to see for myself I think to really get an idea of what I'm doing wrong.
posted by isoman2kx at 11:57 AM on October 26, 2008

good advice above.

also consider your mental game. that will strengthen every aspect of your tennis.

it's weird but it works. if you haven't read this already it will blow you away.

read this: winning ugly
posted by bradly at 3:16 PM on October 26, 2008

Lessons, playing a lot, and playing regularly. Besides bucket's o balls n' practice, as PapaMango suggests, I'd recommend a lesson or two with a good pro who will work with you for what you need -- a few lessons with specific serve pointers. Or, see if your city parks dept or local USTA chapter runs cheap group clinics.
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:16 PM on October 26, 2008

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