A Kickass Pre-Match Warmup


Change positions, grab the fence and lean to the left, then to the right. Players can even turn away from the fence: reach up, grab hold and lean forward. Keep in mind, there's no need to force the stretch.

Open Up

A player's most important assets are their ankles, knees, hips and arms. So take five minutes after you've broken a small sweat and get those limbs moving.

"You have to open everything up to be able to react in a match, otherwise your response, when the ball comes your way, will be stiff instead of fluid," Wright says.

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Start with the ankles. With your toes on the ground and the heel elevated, make small circles to the left and then to the right. Next stand with your feet and knees together. Bend slightly and move your knees in a circle-like motion clockwise. Then change direction. Then do same movement for the hips. For the arms, alternate the circular motion.

Don't Rely On Your Opponent

Once a player has completed their pre-warm-up, they should grab a friend and a racquet and head out onto the court. Wright suggests reserving about 15 minutes to hit balls with a friend before your "obligatory warm-up" with the opponent.

It's here where tennis players fall flat, Wright says. Forget about dinking the ball over the net. Get back to the baseline and hit through the ball.

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"There's no need to kill it," says Wright, who now specializes in developing junior tennis players in Arizona and California. "The point is to slow the stroke down, but make it complete. Hit through the ball, don't push it."

Take Pride in the Warm-Up

"I'm not saying you have to win the warm-up," Wright says. "But don't be sloppy about it."

The best tennis players take pride in their warm-up. That means completing all of the steps in the warm-up efficiently and concentrating on the movements. If done correctly, the entire tennis warm-up can be accomplished in under 30 minutes.

"Exaggerate your movements, even with the serve, Wright says. "Emphasize the bending down and lifting up," he says. "This isn't about mimicking. It's about extending, exaggerating, going bigger and longer."

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