Friday, April 6, 2012

Running Lines

Start at lower right or left corner
Work your way over to opposite side
Running lines is an evergreen tennis warm-up. Part of me thinks this warm-up is lame, lacks imagination, and is the sign of a lazy coach. The other part thinks any tennis student worth his/her salt should know what this warm-up is and in fact should arrive at the court and start running the lines unbidden because they're tennis students and it's a tennis thing. So as per my usual, I compromise. I teach it to my students, but I don't overuse it.

It's simple enough for the youngest players. Player starts at the baseline where the baseline and doubles sideline meet. He/she follows the line up to the net, turns and retraces his/her steps back to the baseline, follows the baseline a few steps over to the singles sideline, and follows it up to the net. On his/her way back from the net, he/she turns at the service line, follows it to the T line, then up to the net and back. They continue 'running the lines' until they get all the way to the far side of the court and then return to the starting point. Usually there is more than one student, so they are lined up at the starting point. Once one student starts running up the second line which is the singles sideline, the next student in line may begin so that they are not running into each other. I have them start with a light jog. If we are doing more than one repetition, the subsequent reps must be run faster.


  • For older, more experienced and coordinated players, you may choose to have them back pedal from the net.  For my younger players I have them jog or run the entire thing facing forward; in other words, no running backwards for safety reasons. 
  • You may also have your students side shuffle any horizontal lines such as the service lines. 
  • For older players, you can add the carioca step for some or all of the exercise. 
  • Increase the level of difficulty by increasing speed and repetitions.
  • Have them 'walk' the lines, but they must be dribbling either ups or downs or combination as they proceed.