Exercise of the Week: Tennis Ball Reaction Drill

March 17, 2011

Speed is important, but there are only a few instances in a game when you actually reach top speed. Instead of working just on speed, focus on developing quickness, which is more about acceleration than overall speed. This will help you win a race to the ball or react to an opponent with a winning edge.

To improve your quickness, perform the Tennis Ball Reaction Drill, which challenges your visual reaction time and explosive starts. Before you even begin to move, you must visually identify and react to a play. By starting when your partner drops the ball, you develop the ability to react to a situation, potentially gaining a split-second advantage. Second, the drill focuses on explosive starts and acceleration to bring you to full speed in a shorter time. The combination of improved reaction and acceleration should help you blow by your competition.

Watch the video above for a "how-to" on the Tennis Ball Reaction Drill with University of Miami football.

  • Assume sport-specific start position with partner standing five yards in front, holding tennis ball in hand with arm raised to side
  • As soon as ball drops, explode into sprint
  • Bend at hips to catch ball off one bounce
  • Continue 10 yards after catch
  • With each subsequent rep, increase distance from partner

Sets/Reps: 1x3-5, with 30-45 seconds rest between sets

Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is the Performance Director at STACK. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami...
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