Why Do Tennis Players Need Agility? (In-Depth Explanation)

Tennis players are true athletes and must be top-notch to perform at a high level. One of the most important skills for a tennis player is agility. But why is this so important?

Tennis players must be agile in order to move their bodies quickly and smoothly across the court. Good agility allows them to maintain good balance, preparing them to hit a ball back correctly. Good agility allows you to use your energy efficiently. This can be of great importance during matches.

As mentioned, agility is incredibly important for tennis players. But does tennis also improve your agility, and what exercises can you do to improve it? You’ll find out in this article.

Why is Agility Important in Tennis?

Agility is the ability to move and change directions quickly. This is something that happens a lot in tennis.

The players often sprint from left to right, to the net and back when playing tennis.

When they have hit the ball, the ball can come back and bounce on the opposite side of the court from where they are standing, meaning they will have to switch directions quickly.

Another example is when the player gets into position to hit the ball, the wind makes the ball do something unexpected, or bounces on a line, or even when the ball hits the net.

In these situations, players have to adjust their position in time, and thus they have to be able to move quickly.

Agility is so crucial to tennis there has even been conducted scientific research about the effects of agility and agility training on tennis.

While most people can move around and change directions, not everyone is necessarily physically agile.

The more agile you are, the more efficiently and quickly you can move directions and get into the right position to hit a ball.

So, how is agility used in tennis?

Agility is mainly used to get to the ball in time and get into the right position to hit the ball right. It can be the difference between hitting the ball perfectly or just being able to hit the ball back, hoping it goes right. Topspin is easier applied when your position and stance are right and your shots are less messy.

How Does Agility Improve Performance in Tennis?

Tennis players who possess great agility are able to get into position quickly and easily when they have to hit a ball. This means they have a bigger chance of hitting the ball the way they want to.

Besides that, players who are able to properly get into position before hitting a ball have more balance. Balance also contributes to hitting the right shots and can help with power.

Trick shots are also way easier if you have the right position and stance.

Getting to the right position early may also provide the player with some time to think.

Instead of the goal is to hit the ball, the goal might shift to hitting a certain kind of shot like a drop shot or a drop volley.

If you are an agile player, changing directions will be efficient and quick. This means you don’t waste a lot of energy, which can be beneficial as well.

Suppose you lose less energy due to great agility. In that case, you might be able to put that extra energy into the actual shots or into running.

​​Does Tennis Improve Agility?

Tennis does improve agility. This is because agility is used a lot in tennis, and the more you practice something, the better you get at it.

Tennis players run from side to side, switching directions a lot and starting and stopping often.

This means they practice their agility a lot during games, so tennis does increase agility.

Of course, tennis players also practice agility a lot when they are not playing a match.

So while tennis does improve agility, the thing that really improves agility most is to do drills and exercises.

Several drills improve their agility, some of which are not necessarily related to tennis. Practice makes perfect.

Tennis Agility Drills at Home (3 Drills to do at Home)

Tennis agility training

Below I will explain some exercises you can do at home to improve your agility for tennis.

 1. Z Drill:

The Z Drill is a drill not exclusive to tennis, but it is definitely a drill that can be very beneficial. All you need are a few cones.

You place the cones on the ground in a pattern that looks like a Z. You put the first cone on one spot, then for the second cone, you walk in a diagonal line for the second spot.

For the third cone, you walk in a diagonal line from cone two, but back to the side of the first cone, and so on.

When you have placed the cones, you can start with the drill.

Simply run from cone one to cone two, from cone two to cone three, from cone three to cone four, and so on.

Don’t pause between the cones; you can do that after the drill is over.

2. Cone call out:

This is a drill for which you will need another person. You also need at least four cones.

Place these cones in a square and then stand in the middle of the box you just created. Give all of the cones a number.

The other person, perhaps a coach or friend, calls out a number.

You then run to the cone with the corresponding number as fast as possible. Before you get there, the other person can already call out a different number.

This way, you will learn to change directions quickly.

3. Ladders

Good footwork is crucial for agility, and ladders can help with this. There are several drills you can do with a ladder.

A good drill for footwork and agility is to step into a box on the ladder with your left foot, add you’re right foot, step out of it with your left foot, and step out of it with your right foot.

Do this at a fast pace and repeat the movements until you have gone through the whole ladder.


So, in short, agility is really important in tennis. The ball can bounce anywhere on the court, and the more agile you are, the faster you can get into the right position to hit the ball.

Agility can provide better speed and better balance. There are several drills to practice agility, and if you play a lot of tennis, your agility will most likely improve as well.

(Click here to learn more about the different physical demands for tennis)

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
January 21, 2022
Published: January 21, 2022