Improve Your Technique on a Tennis Wall
A tennis wall is clearly less frequently seen on tennis courts these days. Nevertheless, it is an effective tool with which you can organise your tennis training. For example, professionals like Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic also practice on a tennis wall.
Like the ball machine, it is perfect for your training if you don’t have a partner or just want to play tennis on your own. Basically there are a few points to consider when it comes to the tennis wall.
In this guide you will learn about the different types of tennis walls, the pros and cons of each model and how you can best practice on a training wall.
Types of Tennis Walls
Tennis walls are available in a wide variety of designs. Altogether you have the choice between three different wall types which you can use for your training.
- Stationary tennis walls
- Mobile tennis walls
- Tennis walls with net
Depending on the model, they are different in size and function.
Stationary Tennis Wall
Stationary tennis walls are most common in tennis clubs and sports facilities. Basically, this model is a backborard that is perpendicular to the floor. It usually consists of several solid concrete modules that are firmly anchored in the ground. The length and height of the wall can be adjusted individually.
A lot of space is generally required for this backborad, as the tennis balls hit can bounce far back. The floor should also have a smooth surface so that the ball does not bounce.
In addition, stationary tennis walls often have grids mounted on the top and sides to catch balls that have been hit incorrectly. It is also helpful if the wall has lines for orientation, such as a marker for the net. This allows you to see whether your ball would actually fly over the net on a normal tennis court.
Mobile Tennis Wall
Just like the stationary version, the mobile tennis wall stands vertically on the floor. However, the main difference between the two types is that the mobile wall consists of an inflatable plastic cover. Similar to a mattress, you only need a blower to pump up the wall. For this reason, it takes only a few minutes to set up and to take down the wall.
Usually, you lean this tenis wall against another wall or a fence if possible. You can also use the loops on the sides to attach it to the appropriate stands. This tennis wall is available in several lengths and also has the typical net markings.
Tennis Wall with Net
Furthermore there is a third tennis wall, which is different in construction and function. In contrast to the two previous models, this tennis wall consists of a net which you fix in a metal frame at an angle of 45°. In addition, you mount a bar at the top end and an impact board at the bottom end in a horizontal position.
How does this tennis wall work exactly?
In this case, you are standing almost directly in front of the training wall. Your distance is About 3 ft. When you hit a ball into the wall, the ball rolls up in the net and is stopped by the corresponding bar. The tennis ball then rolls back down the net and hits the impact board, which deflects the ball in your direction. At this moment you can start the next stroke.
Tennis Walls Guide
In the following we will give you an overview of the pros as well as the cons of the three tennis walls. We compare the models with regard to four different aspects. If you are looking for a new practice wall, you should definitely keep these points in mind.
In terms of flexibility, the mobile tennis wall is clearly ahead of the rest. It is super easy to handle and can be transported very easily. Unfold it once, inflate it with the blower and the tennis wall is ready to play. If you want to transport it to another place, let the air out again, fold the wall together and put it in the corresponding bag. The disassembly is ready.
Transporting the tennis wall with a net looks a bit more difficult. Here the assembly and disassembly takes a little longer, because the metal frame is made up of several individual parts. In addition, there is a relatively high weight, which you have to take into account during transport. At first sight it may not look like that, but these models can weigh over 100 lbs.
As the name suggests, a stationary wall is actually not transportable because it is firmly mounted in the ground. The assembly and disassembly alone are quite complicated. Transport would be extremely costly, which is hardly worth it in most cases.
In general you have the possibility to practice all imaginable strokes on the stationary training wall. Serves, forehands, backhands and volleys are no problem at all. If you master the right technique, you can even train smashes. Some walls have a slightly curved surface to make the opponent’s shot as realistic as possible.
The mobile tennis wall also offers you this variety of training possibilities. Furthermore, it has a great advantage:
With the help of the air pressure in the wall, you can adjust the ball speed. If you like to return fast balls, a high air pressure is the optimal choice for you. If you prefer slow balls, simply reduce the air pressure.
You can also change the flight curve of the ball by adjusting the angle of the wall to the ground. Another plus point is that this wall can be played on both sides.
In this respect, the tennis wall with a net restricts you. All in all, with this model you only have the option of playing serves, forehands and backhands. Volleys and smashes are not possible. Nevertheless, this tennis wall has some advantages.
First of all, this wall is very compact and therefore takes up less space. Furthermore, you don’t need a flat surface because you usually hit the ball directly and don’t let it bounce off the ground. For example, you can use it at home in the garden or on the terrace to practice your shots.
The tennis wall is constructed so that the ball always rolls down with a few seconds delay. This gives you enough time to prepare for the next shot. Above all, this enables you to play basic strokes constantly. No matter how fast you hit the ball against the wall, it always comes back to you at the same speed.
The volume is also a factor that plays a major role when choosing a training wall. Especially during longer training sessions the sound can become an annoying noise when the ball bounces. How intense this noise is depends, among other things, on the material of the individual model.
The best variant here is the tennis wall with net. You train with it almost silently, because the ball is caught by the flexible net and does not bounce off directly.
In contrast, stationary walls are a bit louder, but in this case it is possible to equip them with sound insulation. The volume is then kept within limits when playing
The mobile tennis wall, which is filled with air, is even louder. The free space inside creates a hollow body, which amplifies the sound like a guitar.
Of course the price is also an important decision criterion. In general, the cheapest option is a training wall with net. On average, their price is in the mid three-digit range.
In comparison, mobile tennis walls cost at least twice as much. The purchase costs are highest for a stationary training wall as the prices start in the four-digit range.
Can I Build My Own Tennis Backboard?
In principle this is possible, but most likely you will not be able to reach the quality of a professional tenis wall. The effort from the planning to the actual implementation is extremely high. For this reason, we advise you to fall back on a manufacturer who is specialized in this field.
How Do I Practice on a Tennis Wall?
In the beginning it is important that you set yourself a goal that you want to achieve during the training session. For example, you can mark an area on the wall where you want to place the balls. Many tennis walls have square markings next to the orientation lines of the net.
One of the most common mistakes made by tennis players is to hit the ball on the wall and not to think about tactics. This is how it happens that the first ball bounces off the ground once before it is hit. The next ball then bounces off twice, because otherwise it would come up short. Then the third ball touches the ground once again, and so on.
This constant change basically means that you do not get the right rhythm and cannot concentrate on your technique. Therefore, you should determine the number of bounces at the beginning. This can be one normal contact. However, if the ball is too short, it can be two or more contacts. Basically, continuity is the goal in tennis.
The next step is to choose the shot you want to practice. An exercise could be: “I will play until I hit 25 forehands against the wall without any mistakes”. Another exercise could be: “I’ll hit as many backhands until I placed 10 backhands in a row on the marked area.”
Also try different combinations of shots, such as alternating forehand and backhand. Another variation would be that you open the rally with a serve.
For volleys, you should stand at a distance of about 3-6 ft. from the tennis wall. At this point, the ball will bounce back to you almost immediately. This improves your reaction time considerably.
Smashes are a bit more complicated in terms of execution. The special feature is that you first hit the ball against the ground so that it flies steeply upwards against the tennis wall.
For this shot, it is best to stand 10-12 ft. away from the wall. Now you hit the ball down against the ground. It should bounce off the ground a maximum of 6 ft. from the wall. As a result, you will now get a high ball which you can use as a smash.