Benefits of backboard practice:
As mentioned in previous articles, using a backboard for practicing alone can be a great way to improve your tennis. Backboard practice is cheap and practical- all you need is a vertical flat surface and a tennis ball. By using a backboard, you can practice hitting high amounts of balls, improve your technique and footwork skills. It can also be useful for improving your hand-eye coordination and your judgement of the speed and spin of tennis shots. Different areas that you can work on include:
Using a backboard can be helpful for working on technique, as balls come back uniformly and give you good rhythm. The technique of all shots can be practiced using a backboard. By using a progressive system of drill difficulty, you can master each level of technique. Drop-hitting the ball and then catching it works well for very basic technique. After you have mastered this, you can try slowly rallying against the backboard, picking up speed and intensity as you gain more confidence.
Many backboards have a simulated net line drawn on. Alternatively, you can use chalk to mark out the net height. Using this, you can set yourself goals, such as getting 20 shots above net height in a row. As you get better, you can include more variety in your shots or increase your goal number.
Target practice is a great way to use a backboard. Chalk can be used to draw targets above the netline on the target for you to aim for, and can be increased or decreased in size depending on your skills level. You can also practice alternating between targets, or challenge yourself to hit x amount of balls to a particular spot. These drills can improve your aim, consistency and concentration.
Fast footwork is necessary to correctly balance and position yourself for a good tennis shot. Backboards return balls quickly, and can therefore be great for improving the speed of your footwork. Additionally, lengthy sessions of backboard practice can be exhausting, and therefore work to improve your overall fitness abilities.
Finally, playing small games with yourself while practicing in the above areas can help make your practice fun and keep you motivated. Setting goals or scoring against yourself are both fun ways to do this.
All these areas are essential for good tennis, so the next time you find yourself without a coach or a hitting partner, find yourself a backboard and get practicing!