In honor of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships the past few weeks, we’ve focused on exercises that add power to your swing and serves. This week in the final part of our tennis series, we focus on increasing agility on the court.
Helping us once again is certified tennis pro, Lisa Dollard. She’s also a professional pickleball instructor and co-owner of a publishing company that produces magazines including Pickleball Magazine.
Dollard uses agility ladders in Cardio Tennis classes to help students boost their heart rates and develop fast footwork. “In tennis you have to use a lot of short footwork steps,” Dollard explains. “Doing [agility ladders] helps you move quicker, get closer to the ball when you’re hitting the ball, and also helps avoid running into the ball.” She sets up the ladders parallel to the side of the court so players can hit volleys, then run through the ladders on the way to the base line. Other times, she places the ladders behind the baseline for players to utilize while waiting to play.
Two of Dollard’s favorite foot patterns are the Lateral Typewriter and the Icky Shuffle.
Lateral Typewriter (2 In 2 Out)
- Starting at one end, face your body toward the long end of the ladder.
- Step leading foot forward, trailing foot forward, leading foot back, trailing foot back…while moving laterally (sideways) through the ladder.
- Reverse and repeat.
- Starting at one end of the ladder, face your body forward (toward short opposite end of the ladder).
- Pattern is “out in in”.
- Step leading foot outside the ladder, opposite foot in the ladder, leading foot in the ladder, opposite foot outside the ladder.
Want to see these and other agility ladder foot patterns in action? Check out this Prism Fitness Group agility ladder video on YouTube and increase your agility on and off the court!
Lisa Dollard was formerly ranked #11 in the US Women’s NCAA and a four-time college state tennis champion. She’s a collegiate state record-holder (91-1) and a member of the Clarion University Hall-of-fame. Lisa has been teaching tennis for 24 years and has coached countless students towards top AMD and Middle States rankings as well as full collegiate scholarships. Along with teaching lessons, Lisa is also a certified Cardio Tennis instructor.