How Do You Warm-up?

You walk on the court to play a match and go to the baseline to start the warm-up process;

but your opponent is standing near the net, asking you to come forward and use the “small ball” warm-up.

For me, I really prefer to first hit groundstrokes from the baseline to loosen up the big muscles and get my feet moving. But others argue that you should first work on the smaller muscles and the hand-eye coordination.

Naples teaching pro and friend, Spike Gonzales says, “While small-ball warm-up has become popular, especially on league teams, I believe players have the right to use our limited warm-up time with traditional baseline rallies. If either player wishes to start at the baseline, then that format should be engaged.

“Just like stretching, calisthenics and jogging are the option of any player wishing to get fully prepared for match play, small-ball hitting is an option for off-court pre-match activity (with or without the match opponent).

“I often use small-ball rallying for lesson preparation, but tell my students they should be psychologically prepared to do full-court procedures for match play.”

Which one do YOU prefer?

PS To all my avocado “customers,” get ready for the upcoming season (and making The Shot of the Day) to get one of the beauties that are on our tree!

If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at

9 thoughts on “How Do You Warm-up?

  1. I look forward to winning many of those heart healthy treats

    george – and with your lefty-righty options, you are always in the running! george

  2. Remember George you always have the option of warming up with your partner. I had an occasion last year when an opponent would not hit the ball to me, after a few minutes I realized he was so nervous that he had zero control but I was ready to warm up with my partner, Rich. No It was not Spike.

    Bill – Great suggestion! tks, george

  3. George – I am a proponent of the small ball warmup as recommended by our club pros here to loosen up and concentrate on watching the ball for the first few minutes. When there is a team match, several of us start warming up among ourselves 30 minutes prior to the start time including a small ball or short volley drill, then do groundstrokes, net, overheads and a few serves. So when you move to your assigned court for the match, we go right to groundstrokes with our opponents as 95% of the players do. The pre-warmup really seems to help me get in the groove early.

    Bob – The best of both worlds… you get what you want and don’t impose it on your opponents. thanks, george.

  4. Women love the small ball warm up for whatever their reasons. If your opponent wants to do a small ball warm up, I believe you should be accommodative and gradually back up to the baseline after you’ve had enough. Your opponent should then be more accommodating.

    Gene – That is because you are a nice guy! I agree with Spike. George

  5. talking about warming up, i had an interesting realization last week. i was wondering why i hit groundstrokes so differently in matches than i do in warmup. beside the obvious reasons, i realized that when i practiced them in warmups i was usually 2 or 3 feet behind the baseline (where the ball is right in my strike zone), in a match, however, im rarely hitting groundstrokes that far behind the baseline. im always hitting them inside the court usually on the rise. it seems to me, my warmup groundstrokes should be taken as close to baseline as possible. thoughts?
    and, by the way, if spike says it’s so, then I buy it, for sure!!

    Joe – in my opinion, you should warm up the way you plan on playing. But the flip side… maybe you should play further back, where you like hitting your ground strokes. george

  6. The pro golfers warm up on the driving range and then go to the putting green before a match

  7. I haven’t played a tournament in a long time, but since the warm up is limited to such a short time, I would not allow an opponent a mini tennis warm up. I suggest to all my players to get a hit in before their match so they will be ready, but if they didn’t, I wouldn’t “waste” precious minutes to include mini tennis. I use mini in all my lessons, but not in a match warm up.

  8. The small ball warm does NOTHING for the warming up of your your central nervous system, which is the “engine” that should be primed before trying to get the max out of your fast twitch muscle fibers. . And the way to do that is by actively engaging your big muscles in a ballistic fashion. An example of that is holding two of your rackets and taking some air swings (you see the pros do it all the time) or perhaps jumping up and pulling knees to chest or a couple of fast pushups.
    I’d go for baseline warm up with specific focus the first few strokes on watching the ball as long as you can and keeping your head still. Just my 2 yen. Marc

    Marc – My feelings exactly! george

  9. As I have told my Tennis Fantasy Campers for 25 years – dynamic warm-up is really the key. Small ball to me seems only to be for hand-eye coordination. It should never replace proper warm-up. Also, your techniques are different in small ball therefore bad habits could happen. HItting a tennis ball is a very specific skill that should be practiced correctly and avoid neurological confusion!

    Larry – The Expert (former Cincinnati Reds trainer) has spoken! tks, george

Comments are closed.