Practice & TrainingTennis Tips

How to Get Better at Tennis Without a Court

Unless you are fortunate enough to have your very own tennis court then there will no doubt be times when you can’t practice or train with the use of a court.

However, there are plenty of ways that you can train to get better at tennis without having access to a court. Here are some exercises, drills and diet tips to help you improve.

Start With Your Goals

Like anything, if you don’t have a clearly defined goal with your tennis game it will be very hard to produce the changes that you’d like to see in terms of results.

A good start to getting better at tennis is to write down three big goals you’d like to achieve with your game. Post your goals on your bathroom mirror or somewhere else you’ll see every day and this will motivate you to work hard to become the player you want to be.

Improving Strength & Fitness

Cardiovascular Fitness

A woman running



Any amount of extra fitness activity will make your tennis game better. Tennis by itself is not enough to get you into the kind of incredible physical shape you need to be in to be great at the sport, it burns a relatively small amount of calories compared to more intensive sports and workouts and will not efficiently build the muscles you need to inject pure strength into your game. Lifting weights and push ups are two great options to build muscle and make you stronger.

The other reason why you should focus on getting into shape is to improve your stamina and fitness levels. The last thing you want is to be exhausted and too fatigued to continue playing, which is why your physical condition is so important when playing tennis. Going for runs and cycling are great ways to do some cardio to increase your fitness levels.

To start with, you can work on your cardiovascular fitness through running or cycling, which will improve your fitness in tennis games.

The fitter that you are, the better your game will become so this is one easy way to get better at tennis even without a tennis court. Your speed and endurance for running around the court is one of the biggest areas of your game.


Short sprints are also good to practice; you can set up some markers that will incorporate sprints the width and depth of the court and different directions too, completing them in a circular routine.


A woman lifting weights

Another big element of tennis is having good strength, to enable you to deliver fast serves and to return balls to the back of the court with pace.

You can work on your arm strength through weight training at the gym, or buy your own set of weights to work with at home.


You should be eating healthy and exercising even if you’re not a tennis player. But if optimal performance is your goal, then squats are by the far the best bodyweight exercise to strengthen your legs and core muscles.

A great thing about squats is that they can be performed in the privacy of your own home, and without the need to use extra equipment.

Practicing Tennis Without a Court

Of course, you also need to be able to improve your racquet ability and (as well as investing in the best racquets) you can do this by improvising with your training environment, for example:


A large flat area of concrete or grass is perfect for practicing your serving.

You will need to measure out the relevant areas and if you have something to mark out the court like tape then you can practice your serves.

Ideally, you will want to be serving into an area that has a wall or something behind it so that you can easily collect your balls in and go again.

Returning Against a Wall

A woman playing tennis against a wall

If you have access to use a large wall, you can use it to hit the ball against to improve your racquet skills.

You can move closer to the wall to improve your short game and further back to practice your back of court shots.


You might remember swingball as a fun garden activity as a child but it is also a great way to practice your forehand and backhand shots in a small area.

If you are not familiar with the setup, it is basically a ball attached to a post that allows you to hit the ball to make it spin around the post. You can practice hitting it from one side to the other but you will want a high-quality one to get more out of it.

Master the Art of Split-Stepping

Just like the serve, the split-step is a vital part of your game that you should be constantly working on. You can do this in the comfort of your own home, preferably with your racquet for the added immersion and realism.

There are also ways of improving your game that doesn’t involve exercise in any way such as:

Reduce Foot and Heel Tightness by Rolling your Foot Over a Tennis Ball While Standing

This may come as surprising news, but using a tennis ball for a foot massage feels fantastic, relieves tension and is easy to use. You should start with one foot at a time, ensuring that you are rolling the ball all around the foot where you experience stiffness and pain.

If tennis balls aren’t your thing, then a foam roller works equally as well for the hard to reach places of your feet.

Online Courses

As with anything in life taking advice from people with experience and implementing that advice into your game can be a very powerful combination. There are many courses online that can help to make you a better tennis player just do a quick search.

One I can recommend personally is the PLB Tennis Academy: Turn Your Forehand Into a Weapon.

Watch Video Tutorials

Sometimes your game can see huge improvements by small tweaks to your techniques. From understanding the most effective grip for each shot, to how to get topspin on the ball, video tutorials will help you to develop your overall game.

There are many free videos on YouTube that will help you to improve your skills, including ones with former ATP pros and coaches.

Pick a skill that you want to improve and then search YouTube for one of the most-watched videos on that specific skill to get a high-quality tennis lesson without leaving your house!

Here are some good basic tips to improve your strokes:

Improve Your Diet

Like most sports, your diet has a large influence on your performance.

If you are carrying too much weight, for example, you will find it harder to get around the court or your stamina may be affected.

You need to have a healthy, balanced diet that provides a body shape that equips you best for playing tennis.

If you look at the pros, you will see a lot of muscle, particularly around the shoulders, arms and thighs. At the same time, you don’t want to have so much muscle that it slows you down.

Your diet can also be adapted to give you more stamina when you are playing in a match.

Some games can go on for hours, which is difficult to maintain energy levels without the right diet. You will often see tennis players eating bananas in the breaks between games for a quick energy boost.

Further Reading


Jeremy Barnes

I’ve played tennis since I was 5 years old. I played on my high school team and one year in college before I tore my ACL. It’s been about 3 years now since my injury, and I’ve been able to come back and play in some tournaments. Find out more about me here.

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