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Running the Tennis Court Lines

Running The Lines In Tennis

A Basic Pattern

By Jon Crim

If you’re new to tennis, then learning how to run the lines is a fantastic way to start using the tennis court to either warm up your body before practice or dial in your footwork skills.

Let’s start by taking a look at the steps involved in running the lines of a tennis court.

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Basic Running Pattern

While there are several different ways you can run the lines, the following is a common approach that you’ll find many tennis instructors and coaches using.

Start facing the net at the far right net post with one hand on the net.

  1. Backpedal to the baseline.
  2. Sidestep to your left to the singles sideline.
  3. Jog to and touch the net.
  4. Backpedal to the service line.
  5. Sidestep to your left to the service center line.
  6. Jog to and touch the net.
  7. Backpedal to the service line again.
  8. Sidestep to your left to the far singles sideline.
  9. Jog to and touch the net.
  10. Backpedal back to the baseline.
  11. Sidestep to your left to the doubles sideline.
  12. Jog back to the net.

Pretty simple, right? Of course, as with most drills, what you get out of it will be what you choose to put into it. Let’s take a look at how you can use this simple drill to warm up or improve a player’s speed and footwork.

Warming Up

Running the lines can be a great way to warm up. It’s important to be deliberate about how you run the lines when warming up, but jogging at a slow pace will be perfectly sufficient.

Improving Speed & Footwork

In addition to being a useful warm-up, running the lines can be a great drill to improve your footwork. Here are a few ideas to up the ante and make this tennis drill a bit more challenging.

  • Run at a faster pace.
  • Bend your knees and get low.
  • Challenge yourself against another player and see who finishes first.
  • Touch the bottom of the net instead of the top of the net.

As with most drills that take place on a tennis court, running the lines can be a fantastic drill when appropriately practiced, as it helps mimic the type of stress your body will experience in a tennis match – quick bursts of speed, as well as back-and-forth and quick side-to-side movements.

Wrapping Up

Have any unique twists with this simple drill that you use in practice? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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2 replies
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    Love Running the lines, plan to start using it myself and when teaching. Thanks!

    Happened to spot an extra letter in your last bullet (“next” instead of “net”)

    Thanks again!

    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for stopping by – glad you enjoy the drill.

      Running the lines always brings me back to playing in high school and college – it was a staple warm-up drill and something I still use with my students to this day.

      I appreciate you pointing out the spelling mistake. I went ahead and fixed that :)

      All the best,


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