Effective Ball Feeding In Tennis

Feeding is a way to introduce the ball in play during practice. Teaching your players how tomake “friendly feeds” to teammates allows you to move around the court to offer tips and suggestions. Feeding also helps players gain experience and confidence in handling the racket and ball. Each activity may require a different type of feed depending on the skill level of the player.

The following feeds are listed in order from easy to more advanced.

• Dropped ball from partner — The feeder stands to the side and slightly
in front of the hitter so that the ball is dropped at the contact point.

• Self-dropped ball—[he player pushes the ball upward out of the hand and aims the ball to drop even with the front foot.

• Tossed ball—The feeder tosses the ball gently underhand, aiming at a target on the court that is about two-thirds of the distance between the two players.

• Forehand feed—The feeder chokes up on the racket to enhance control and reduce power and then self-drops and feeds to a target. 

In general, design activities so that players are feeding to each other as they work on skills so that you can spend more time individually with your players and are not restricted to the ball basket and the task of feeding.

If your players’ feeds are not perfect, remind your team that each player needs to practice returning all shots, and that moving to the ball is part of the game!

Christoph Friedrich