Alcaraz Prematch Balance Exercise

This week’s question comes from a visitor to the Australian Open in Melbourne.  “Can you suggest one legged balance exercises to improve balance and ball watching similar to what I saw Alcaraz doing at the Australian Open?”

One-legged balance exercises combined with ball-catching are excellent for improving balance, coordination, and focus – all critical elements for high-level tennis performance. Here’s a routine inspired by the type of training you mentioned, often seen in professional players like Carlos Alcaraz:

  1. Single-Leg Balance with Front Toss: Stand on one leg with a partner or coach facing you. Have your partner toss a tennis ball towards you at different heights and angles. Catch the ball and toss it back while maintaining balance on one leg. Switch legs after a set number of catches.
  2. Single-Leg Balance with Lateral Toss: Similar to the front toss, but now the ball is tossed to your left and right, forcing you to stretch and catch while keeping your balance. This helps improve your lateral stability and reaction time.
  3. Single-Leg Balance with Random Toss: In this variation, the ball is thrown randomly in different directions and heights. This unpredictability mimics the quick reactions needed during a match. Catch the ball and return it while balancing on one leg.
  4. Single-Leg Balance with Overhead Toss: Stand on one leg and have your partner throw the ball above your head, forcing you to stretch your arms up to catch it. This variation is particularly good for improving the balance and coordination needed for overhead shots in tennis.
  5. Single-Leg Balance with Bounce and Catch: Have your partner bounce a tennis ball towards you. Catch it on one leg after one bounce. This helps in developing better timing and depth perception.
  6. Blind Toss and Catch: For an advanced challenge, close your eyes while standing on one leg. Have your partner toss you the ball. Rely on your partner’s verbal cue to know when and where to catch the ball. This greatly enhances your spatial awareness and balance.
  7. Single-Leg, Multi-Ball Toss: Increase the difficulty by having your partner toss two balls in quick succession, forcing you to catch one ball and immediately prepare for the next. This not only improves balance but also sharpens focus and hand-eye coordination.

For all these exercises, remember to switch legs to ensure balanced development. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration as your balance improves. These exercises are not only beneficial for your physical game but also enhance your mental focus and agility on the court.

Best of luck,