How A Tennis Ball Can Improve Your Boxing Skills? Reflexes, Speed, Footwork

A lot of people think that using a tennis ball for boxing practice is a waste of time. They couldn’t be more wrong. Using a tennis ball can improve your skills as a boxer. Tennis balls are smaller and lighter than traditional boxing gloves, so they force you to react faster. They also improve your footwork because you have to be quick on your feet to avoid getting hit by the ball. There are numerous ways a tennis ball can be used for boxing training.

A tennis ball can help you improve your hand-eye coordination, reflexes, speed, and footwork. By bouncing the tennis ball off a wall and catching it with a jab, cross, or hook, you will most definitely improve your hand-eye coordination. This will also develop your speed and reflexes. You can also use the “head ball” (reflex ball) for better footwork and precision.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to using a tennis ball for boxing training. The next time you’re looking for a way to improve your skills, don’t forget about this little piece of equipment. It just might be the thing that takes your boxing game to the next level.

Working on your reaction time and reflexes is as important as working on your conditioning and strength. This is an aspect of boxing that often gets overlooked, but it shouldn’t. Professional boxers know how important reflexes and reaction time are.

Using A Tennis Ball For Better Reflexes

If you want to improve your reflexes in boxing, one of the best things you can do is to use a tennis ball. This is because when you hit a tennis ball, it tends to zip around erratically. This forces your eyes and your brain to work together to track the ball’s movements. In turn, this helps to improve your overall reflexes.

There are a few different ways that you can use a tennis ball to help improve your reflexes. One way is to simply hold the ball in one hand, throw it in the air and try to catch it with the other hand. And repeat the same process again and again. Another way is to bounce the ball off of a wall or other surface and try to catch it. Whichever method you choose, be sure to practice often for the best results.

But when you are trying to catch the ball, remember to mimic your punches. Don’t catch the ball like you are playing baseball. Try to catch the ball by throwing a jab or a cross into it. Maybe even a hook or an uppercut can be used to catch the ball. You can also bounce the ball off the floor. Once it reaches eye level, throw your jab and catch it. You can repeat the same process for the cross, hook, or uppercut.

You can use the same drill when training with your partner. Stand in front of your training partner. Stand about 7 to 10 feet apart. First, you take the ball and bounce it off the floor in your training partner’s direction. He will have to keep track of the ball, and once it reaches his eye level, he will catch it by throwing a punch. Now you do the same when he throws the tennis ball towards you. You can repeat this drill as many times as you think is needed.

Make sure to always keep your hands up. Just because you aren’t doing regular drills or sparring doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your guard up. No matter what, always keep your hands up. Sooner or later, keeping your hand up will become second nature through engraving it into your muscle memory.

Using A Tennis Ball For Better Footwork

Boxing is a sport that requires split-second decisions and quick reflexes. One way to train your feet to be faster is by using a tennis ball. This exercise helps with footwork, hand speed, and overall coordination.

  • Start by standing on one foot and holding the tennis ball in your other hand.
  • Bounce the ball off the ground and catch it in the air. Repeat this drill 50 times.
  • Next, start bouncing the ball faster and try to catch it with both hands. Repeat this drill 50 times as well.
  • Finally, start bouncing the ball off the ground and catching it with one hand, then quickly switch to catching it with the other hand. Repeat this drill 50 times.

By doing these drills, you will improve your footwork, hand speed, and overall coordination. This drill will also help you develop superior hand-eye coordination. Try to do this exercise at least three times a week to see the best results.

Best Tennis Ball Drills

First Drill

Stand about 5 feet away from the wall, facing it. Throw the ball a little above eye level with the overhand grip. As the ball bounces back, catch it again with an overhand grip. Do 10 in a row. If you mess up, start over. After you have done ten successful catches, step 3 feet further away from the wall. Repeat the process. You will have to throw the ball harder and harder against the wall to catch the ball overhand.

Second Drill – Footwork

Stand about 4 to 5 feet away from the wall. Throw the ball up slightly, and palm strike it onto the wall. Choose one hand and stick with it for the remainder of the drill. Continue to bounce the tennis ball off the wall with your palm strikes. This will require you to move around a little but also stay in position to strike the ball accurately. Try to go for ten bounces.

If you mess up, you have to start all over again. Switch hands and repeat. The bounce of the ball will be unpredictable. This will force you to move around, mostly sideways. Sideways shuffles are what we want to learn and ingrain into our boxing muscle memory.

Improving Reaction Time Drill

Stand about 7 feet away from the wall, facing it. Throw the ball overhand, spin, and try to catch the ball. You can catch the ball however you can. You do not have to use the overhand grip. Make sure to change the distance from which you throw the ball.

For example, the closer you are to the wall, the faster the ball will be. If the ball is faster, then you have less time to react. As you adapt, start coming closer and closer to the wall to sharpen your reflexes and reaction time.

The Reflex Hat Ball Drill

This tennis ball drill was popularised back when Lomachenko was making his pro debut. He was shown using this drill on camera and made it look very easy. A big part of the community thought this drill was a joke until they tried it. It is one of the hardest tennis ball drills you can try.

You can make the hat ball yourself or buy it on Amazon or Aliexpress. It is a tennis ball attached with an elastic rope to the hat or the band on your head. To start, take up your boxing stance, throw the ball up slightly and punch it. Continue punching the ball to keep it bouncing. It will be very hard at first to keep the ball up, but you will get the hang of it.

If you miss one punch, the ball will drop, and you will have to start all over again. As you pick up a rhythm, make sure to add a little bit more power to the punches, this will make the ball faster and more challenging to hit.

Lateral Toss And Catch

This drill is great for reaction time and focus. You will need a partner for this drill and two tennis balls. Take up your boxing stance and start shadow boxing. As you shadow box, your partner should throw a tennis ball to either of your sides.

You will need to react quickly to catch the ball. After you catch it, return it to your partner. Continue doing this for 3 minutes. This drill will sharpen your hand-eye coordination and your reaction time. If you want to make it more challenging, throw the two balls in a shorter time frame.

Tennis Ball Drop Drill

This drill is designed to improve your reaction time, focus, and hand-eye coordination. You will also need a partner for this drill. Start by taking your boxing stance. Your partner should be in front of you, holding the ball above your eye level. As he lets go and drops the ball, you should catch it within your eye level. The ball shouldn’t touch the ground. You can practice both the jab and the cross on this drill.

Chin Tuck Drill

This drill might be the most crucial of them all. This drill will help you learn to keep your chin tucked all the time. Keeping your chin tucked is crucial when it comes to boxing because no matter how tough you are, a good punch on the chin will end the fight.

Because of that, your chin must not be left exposed. The drill is pretty simple. Take a tennis ball, tuck it under your chin and hold it there. Start shadowboxing and hold the tennis ball tucked under your chin. You will most likely drop the ball a few times, but that is okay. Keeping your chin tucked will very soon become muscle memory.

Tennis Ball Dodging Drill

This is another drill designed to better your defense. You will need a partner and multiple tennis balls for this drill. Start by taking up your boxing stance and facing away from the wall. Your back must be against the wall because this simulates a common boxing situation. Very often, you will find yourself pinned against the ropes, not being able to move much.

However, you will still have to be able to dodge punches. This is where this drill comes in. Your partner will start slowly throwing the tennis balls at your head. As the tennis balls keep coming, you should dodge them. But you also need to keep your stance and use head movement to dodge the incoming tennis balls.

Make sure that your partner starts with underhand throws to not injure you with a strong overhand throw. If you see a ball coming at your face, and you don’t have enough time to dodge, you can always protect yourself with your hand, just like in a real fight. This drill is perfect for practicing your defense techniques.

Tennis Ball Footwork Drill

The following drill is designed to work on your hand-eye coordination and footwork. Take up your boxing stance and pick one arm. Keep the other arm up as if you are in holding a boxing guard. Bounce the tennis ball with the other hand while also moving around. Move back and forth, sideways, in and out. This drill will teach you to keep your guard while also moving correctly around the ring.


There are endless possibilities when it comes to using a tennis ball for boxing training. So next time you’re looking for a way to improve your skills, don’t forget about this little piece of equipment. It just might be the thing that takes your boxing game to the next level.

For example, you can hold the ball in your hand and practice throwing punches at it. This will help improve your speed and reflexes. You can also tape the ball to a wall or ceiling and practice punching it as it comes toward you. This is a great way to improve your footwork and accuracy.

Start using a tennis ball in your boxing training today and see how much it improves your skills!

Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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