If you play tennis competitively, or even just for fun, one aspect you can’t overlook is your footwork. In fact, you will often see tennis players, as well as their coaches, placing far too much emphasis of a limited range of tennis shots, whereas their time may be better spent on improving their footwork. You could go as far as saying that it makes no difference how great you can play particular tennis shots if you’re unable to get yourself into position in order to play the shot in the first place. This post will introduce you to some of the fundamentals of having great footwork.
An Example Rally
Let’s imagine how a typically rally may look – your opponent serves and you hit a superb return and seem to hold the upper hand. The rally involves you moving your opponent all over the court, and you think it’s finally going to come to an end when you attempt a passing shot. Your opponent moves up to the net and volleys into the corner, only for you to chase the ball and hit the perfect passing forehand winner.
That all sounds great for now, but what were you doing during that entire rally? You were, of course, moving. In fact, you had to move your position in order to play every single shot of that rally, as you literally have a matter of a fraction of a second to actually hit the ball. You will generally move towards the ball before you hit it and even though you have the odd-second to recover while the ball is on your opponent’s side of the net, you still have a very short period of time to get ready, and in position, for the next shot.
By improving your footwork you can dramatically increase the amount of power with which you hit each shot. If you manage to get yourself into a great position you have a far greater chance of hitting the ball harder, as you can use many more body parts to hit the ball. This means that you can squat slightly to gain greater power from your legs, you can turn a little less, thus allowing greater power to come from your core, shoulders and arms, etc. If you compare the power in your shots to that of a boxer, you will be aware that very few, if any, knockouts occur from a simple jab. A boxer will typically throw every part of their body into that final knockout blow and this all comes from using as many parts of their body into creating power in their punches.
Your flexibility will greatly improve with better footwork and therefore any form of tennis coaching will focus on your footwork. This will allow you to get in position a lot earlier and therefore you can choose which specific stance is best suited to return the ball. You also increase the options of shot available to you by getting into position early and you may be able to turn an extremely difficult backhand pass into a far easier forehand volley. Without great footwork you will find you have fewer options available to you and this will often lead to a poor execution of shots.
Author Bio: Robin Peters is a part of the team at Tennis Coaching, home to qualified trainers for tennis lessons. He is a big fan of Novak Djokovic and is a regular at amateur tennis tournaments.