Technically sound and dynamically efficient footwork is absolutely essential for those tennis players wanting to compete at the highest levels. Whether you are playing defense or offense, speed and power, all while maintaing great balance, both in your legs and your core, are absolutely critical in being an advanced tennis player.
It starts with the split step, matters in the shuffle step and matters in the plant and explosive change of direction cut and does not lose imprtance until the play is over. To really focus on proper footwork with good technique, form, and body placement, it is important to teach the body exactly what to do so that you eliminate variables and create a consistancy with your body and footwork movement. Since adding a ball into the mix can create bad habits by making the player break focus or technique with their footwork, it is important to begin every drill without a ball. By doing so, the tennis player simulates the exact movement and foot placement, at game speed, without a ball.
The player can visualize the ball coming, hone in on the precise footwork needed to be as quick and efficient as possible and all without breaking play. In this session tennis instructor Arthur Ebling breaks down proper footwork with his student William Wheatley, who as a freshman on his highschool tennis team made it to the state finals.
Tennis Video Transcription: Your footwork is critical in tennis. There is a lot of running in tennis. It is a very high intensity sport. You need to be able to have that rare marriage of anaerobic and aerobic respiration. You need short explosive sprints. You need to be able to sustain that over a long period of time. So, there is an endurance factor as well. What we are working on now is really solidifying the footwork, really solidifying that muscle memory so it becomes second nature.
It's important that the first thing you do from ready position is we take our racket back, then we move to the ball, little steps, fine adjustments, to get in ideal position for the ball. Then, we step forward, I'm dropping the racket head in a loop format so the racket head is below the ball. I'm transferring my weight forward as I swing, and I'm swinging out and low to high. The vertical axis, the low to high motion, brushes on the back of the ball and creates the rotation which imparts the top spin. Topspin increases your margin of error.
When the ball bounces, it actually shoots forward so it's difficult for opponents to handle. The most critical thing about top spin is it increases net clearance, higher over the net and margin of error because of that rotation that drops into the court. You can play a much higher percentage of tennis with more top spin. A flat shot with less low to high motion is lower margin of error.
Now, we are going to be working on some footwork. We are going to do a footwork simulation drill. Essentially, we are going to take the footwork that's required in the course of play and apply it here without actually hitting the ball. Footwork is critical in tennis. It's the linchpin of your game. Without being in proper position, it's hard to hit the ball effectively. Start in ready position. Racket back, we are going to the ball. Step in, head down, drop the racket head low to high, swing, transferring my weight forward, now either shuffling or crossing over, split step, back here again and recover right to about this region.
What I want you to do, I want you to hit two forehands and then two backhands. I want you to recover. Go high intensity. Simulate actually playing with the same level of intensity. All right? Ready?
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