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View Full Version : Can someone give me a lesson on proper footwork?


Djokovicfan4life
04-06-2008, 05:35 AM
I've never really practiced my footwork, it has just kind of happened naturally, which is probably bad. I always hear people on here talking about recovery steps and split steps and crossover steps and it kind of leaves me scratching my head.

Can someone please explain how I can develop solid footwork? Besides the obvious answer, don't be lazy?

BB?

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 06:29 AM
I've never really practiced my footwork, it has just kind of happened naturally, which is probably bad. I always hear people on here talking about recovery steps and split steps and crossover steps and it kind of leaves me scratching my head.

Can someone please explain how I can develop solid footwork? Besides the obvious answer, don't be lazy?

BB?



There are two things you must know about footwork. I am a beleiver that the knee bend is particular to the player. There are no hard fast rules on knee bend. However, we can agree there needs to be some knee bend for every players. So what is so important about the knee bend? What I look for in the knee bend is your legs elasticity or its "bouncyness". You can have a knee bend but rigid legs. You can stand straight up and have rigid legs. So if we can agree that some knee bend is necessary then we also need to agree that the ulitimate goal is to have flexible legs with elasticity in them. Federer is a classic example of less bend but flexible and elastic legs.

The other thing is to have air space between the court and your heels as much as possible. I realize that at times when you are stepping into a ball or something else that your heel will touch the ground. However it will not stay there long if you have good footwork. So that is the basis for the rest of this. I apoligize for this being kind of long, but footwork is a huge topic in my book. I an a believer in building strokes from the groundup.

Footwork patterns are used to make you more effcient in moving to the ball. Some of the benefits are:

1. You use less energy

2. You get to the ball sooner

3. It is easier to control your momentum and transfer your weight into the ball.

4. You are less likely to be wrong-footed

Depending on what you have done in other sports, like basketball or football, you probably have some knowledge of what footwork is.

The Basics

1. Shuffle Steps: Keep the feet apart and bring them together and back outward as you move laterally in the court.

2. Step-outs: This is a drill that also is designed to keep the feet apart and also works at strengtening and coordinating your weaker leg.

3. Split-steps: This is a lot like a hop that is designed to keep your feet apart but as you land on the balls of your feet, the feet have unweighted you and now you can quickly move in any direction to the ball.

4. Drop-steps: This is a footwork pattern that you push off with the outside leg in the direction you want to go and do a drop-step with your inside foot to get it underneath your body, and drive forward

5. Backward steps: This is very important for the serve! Once you serve and you are IN the court, you are not in a great position, using backward steps is very important to move back behind the baseline.

6. Run-arounds: This is simlar to the footwork used to run-around a backhand.

7. Combinations: Using various footwork patterns together to get to the ball.

8. Advanced patterns: Pros can use advanced patterns so be careful. Just like working on the fundamentals in your stroke, working on the fundamentals in footwork is also important. There are more patterns but this should get you going.

If you want to leave a couple of your tennis training days open for footwork training (which is what I recommend) then here is a good warm-up for you before you begin working on tennis specific footwork trainiing.

http://tennis.about.com/od/drillspracticegames/a/footworkwarmup.htm

http://www.**********.com/workshop/footwork/footwork.htm

Without writing a long post on footwork, you might want to get some videos on footwork. If you read this persons nformation, you will see this is something I have been "preaching" to many players here. I even mentioned it to you about the movement you had to that angled ball.

http://www.webtennis.net/tennis-secrets-of-world-class-footwork.htm. Check this site first and purchase it here if they have it.

I also am looking into the Bailey method as well. Check this short video out.

http://www.thebaileymethod.com/

Let me know if that helps.

WildVolley
04-06-2008, 06:30 AM
No, I can't, but I can start you in the right direction.

Watch videos of the pros and notice how they'll often do a split step - that short-hop onto the balls of their feet with the feet apart slightly more than shoulder width. Do this in practice just when the opponent is striking the ball, such that you can land and then move to wherever the ball is hit. Also, do this little hop whenever your opponent is serving, so that your feet are coming down to the ground as the racquet makes contact with the ball.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 06:45 AM
No, I can't, but I can start you in the right direction.

Watch videos of the pros and notice how they'll often do a split step - that short-hop onto the balls of their feet with the feet apart slightly more than shoulder width. Do this in practice just when the opponent is striking the ball, such that you can land and then move to wherever the ball is hit. Also, do this little hop whenever your opponent is serving, so that your feet are coming down to the ground as the racquet makes contact with the ball.

Learning footwork this way can be difficult for many players. Watching a pro is not always going to help you design our footwork training. You are watching an end-product. You are not watching the process in which they learned how to incorporate good footwork in competitive play.

Like learning strokes, you must isolate, drill, and incorporate good footwork patterns in order for the mind to execute them automatically under stress.

WildVolley
04-06-2008, 07:12 AM
Learning footwork this way can be difficult for many players. Watching a pro is not always going to help you design our footwork training. You are watching an end-product. You are not watching the process in which they learned how to incorporate good footwork in competitive play.

Like learning strokes, you must isolate, drill, and incorporate good footwork patterns in order for the mind to execute them automatically under stress.

True, but I thought my suggestion was simple enough that someone would try it.

I've always thought that learning the split-step was at least a good way to get a player to start actively thinking about footwork, though I just consider it a beginning. I find it is lacking on players that hate to volley. They normally just charge the net and never compose and position themselves for a probable pass attempt or lob.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 07:19 AM
True, but I thought my suggestion was simple enough that someone would try it.

Yeah, I didnt get that from your post. It seemed you were providing an alternative to learning footwork, not trying it out.

I've always thought that learning the split-step was at least a good way to get a player to start actively thinking about footwork, though I just consider it a beginning.

As you just explained it, I see no harm as well. However, it can be frustrating for people who want to take this short-cut and beleive it is "training". They think they are athletic enough to just "cheat" it in.

I find it is lacking on players that hate to volley. They normally just charge the net and never compose and position themselves for a probable pass attempt or lob.

Yes, I agree. Many club players lack good footwork. There is very little training even at professional clubs that take a keen interest in footwork training to the point where it is fun and challenging.

I think the Bailey method is trying to do that. When we learn basketball, we learn footwork. When we learn football, we learn footwork. When we learn tennis? We learn how to stroke the ball usually standing still.

Ash_Smith
04-06-2008, 07:22 AM
Have a look at www.jezgreen.com

I've known Jez for years and worked with players with him. He's working with Murray at the moment so he knows his stuff and there are many useful vids on his site.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 07:27 AM
Have a look at www.jezgreen.com (http://www.jezgreen.com)

I've known Jez for years and worked with players with him. He's working with Murray at the moment so he knows his stuff and there are many useful vids on his site.

This is excellent. We are turning this site from just "tips" to actual tennis instruction that will really help a player improve. Footwork is critical and is so often looked!

By the way, this person who is describing lifting up the leg and stepping over is describing the step-out in his training.
http://www.jezgreen.com/cuttingedge/split-pro.htm

Who else can contirbute? I just might join some of you and dust off my racquet and work on some tennis training. This is firing me up!

Ash_Smith
04-06-2008, 07:37 AM
BB

This is the same Jez Green who wrote the article on the step-out (or nearest foot first!) that I was using in our previous foot work discussion on the other thread.

Jez is an excellent phsyical conditioning coach and his footwork pattern knowledge is above and beyond. I've taken so much from from him to incorporate into my own teaching.

junbug
04-06-2008, 07:42 AM
have any of you heard of oscar wegner?

Ash_Smith
04-06-2008, 07:45 AM
have any of you heard of oscar wegner?

let's not go there! :)

junbug
04-06-2008, 08:08 AM
it looks like you're being critical now of my question

Ash_Smith
04-06-2008, 08:27 AM
not critical!!! Just that whenever that name is mentioned is sparks off a whole new debate, which has been done to death round here!!! As it happens I think the guy is a great salesman who has packaged up ''modern tennis'' to sell to laypeople.

junbug
04-06-2008, 08:31 AM
over across the atlantic?

Ash_Smith
04-06-2008, 08:37 AM
No, I mean on these boards. I'm not a fan of Wenger at all, he gives coaches a bad name by selling his product as ''Modern" against "Traditional teaching". His definition of "traditional teaching" is something that was last taught in the 1950's and therefore is entirely irrelevent except as a marketing ploy. I'm sure he's a nice guy but i'm always wary of coaches who sell a magic system. There is no magic system.

junbug
04-06-2008, 08:43 AM
well it worked for me and the students i teach. i always look for better and more simple ways to teach tennis. it doesn't hurt to try his system and if it doesn't work, you can always revert back to the way you were taught.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 08:55 AM
have any of you heard of oscar wegner?

Yes, he is a joke. I challenged him on his "modern tennis" and provided him photos and clips proving he didnt invent anything and he certainly is not the "Father of Tennis". He proceeded to bring the conversation into a Christian Science converstation and would not answer the questions I asked him. He would also not comment on the proof I provided that he didn't invent jack squat.

Further he has an "us vs. them" marketing campaign painting ALL USPTA and USPTR (along wiht others) as old and out of touch teachers.

He will use an example and go to the extreme with it and has a "they are all doing this" mentality.

I am sure he has some tid-bits of good stuff, it is mainly his approach, his marketing, and his refusal to accept certain things. Also, he makes a lot of claims on how his techniques have "helped" pros but there is no proof of it.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 08:57 AM
well it worked for me and the students i teach. i always look for better and more simple ways to teach tennis. it doesn't hurt to try his system and if it doesn't work, you can always revert back to the way you were taught.

His work is good for beginners to intermediate. After that, preparation is extremely important. He claims to have influenced Guga. There is no proof and he can't provide it either.

Moz
04-06-2008, 09:05 AM
Hi Ash

Hope you're doing well.

Have you seen jez's DVD? Do you think it covers most of his stuff and is therefore a good investment?

Moz

Ash_Smith
04-06-2008, 09:11 AM
Moz

I'm good thanks buddy.

Yeah, Jez's DVD is excellent, it's basically like the vids on the site but instead of just showing the befores and afters it shows the steps in between with how to train the specific details to achieve the final result. Well worth a few quid!!!

How goes it on tour?!?!?!

Moz
04-06-2008, 09:18 AM
Thanks - I think I'll try and get it then.

Things are going fine - progress is steady but slow. I'm playing a vets tournament in Barcelona this week which will be interesting.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 09:28 AM
well it worked for me and the students i teach. i always look for better and more simple ways to teach tennis. it doesn't hurt to try his system and if it doesn't work, you can always revert back to the way you were taught.

junbug, where arrrrrrrre yooooouuuuuuuuuu...

junbug
04-06-2008, 09:31 AM
i'm here but it seems like this will end up in a debate. so i will stop right here. sorry for even giving my opinion. we are all instructors trying to help each other out but this will end up going nowhere.

junbug
04-06-2008, 09:32 AM
all i can say is best wishes to you ash

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 09:37 AM
i'm here but it seems like this will end up in a debate. so i will stop right here. sorry for even giving my opinion. we are all instructors trying to help each other out but this will end up going nowhere.

Hold on a minute. You are giving an instructional opinion with no substance or understanding of what you are suggesting?

So the thousands of players that read your advice go off and practice this "tip" with barely any knowledge on what could go wrong with this tip and have a 50/50 chance of developing an engrained bad habit?

And now that you are challenged on the advice, you dont want to defend your advice? It sounds like you havent even looked into the tip and dont understand what you are giving advice on.

People painstakingly try to learn this game. They try to get better. Some pay money and some invest their blood, sweat, and tears. However, in all cases some form of personal investment is made. Do you feel you have a personal obligation to support your tips if they are challenged?

junbug
04-06-2008, 09:40 AM
of course but if we are going to end in a debate i'll stop here!!
have a nice day.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 09:44 AM
of course but if we are going to end in a debate i'll stop here!!
have a nice day.

okay, have a nice day.

i8myshirt
04-06-2008, 10:10 AM
I had a question about the split step.
I have incorporated it into my serve return game, but after that I seem to forget about it.
Is it wise to split step while right when the opponent is making contact with a ball, like a groundstroke? I figured this would help me get to the ball faster but I may outrun it or something so I'm not exactly sure.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 10:26 AM
I had a question about the split step.
I have incorporated it into my serve return game, but after that I seem to forget about it.
Is it wise to split step while right when the opponent is making contact with a ball, like a groundstroke? I figured this would help me get to the ball faster but I may outrun it or something so I'm not exactly sure.

Yes, the split-step is a staple footwork pattern that usually (not all the time) sets up other footwork patterns.

Here is Nick on footwork:
http://www.nickbollettieri.com/tips/index.cfm?tipID=3

Here is an example of the split-step in the groundstroke with Tommy Haas practicing. Look at how many split-steps!!!!

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=tDiNRVv_0zU&feature=related

Listen for the practice partner or coach hit the ball and watch Haas's split-step to get an idea of the timing.

i8myshirt
04-06-2008, 11:37 AM
So pretty much split step around when the opponent is just about to make contact with the ball?

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 11:57 AM
So pretty much split step around when the opponent is just about to make contact with the ball?

You split-step to be able to go in any direction your opponent hits the ball. Split-stepping takes your weight off your feet.

i8myshirt
04-06-2008, 01:14 PM
I don't think we're on the same page here. You're explaining to me why we split step, while I'm asking when we should. I think I got it though so nevermind.

Julieta
04-06-2008, 01:27 PM
Yeah, I didnt get that from your post. It seemed you were providing an alternative to learning footwork, not trying it out.



As you just explained it, I see no harm as well. However, it can be frustrating for people who want to take this short-cut and beleive it is "training". They think they are athletic enough to just "cheat" it in.



Yes, I agree. Many club players lack good footwork. There is very little training even at professional clubs that take a keen interest in footwork training to the point where it is fun and challenging.

I think the Bailey method is trying to do that. When we learn basketball, we learn footwork. When we learn football, we learn footwork. When we learn tennis? We learn how to stroke the ball usually standing still.

I have a Bailey Method DVD. I do like a lot of the tips in it although it can seem technical at times. I have to remind myself that he is teaching footwork in a different way, versus just giving some drills or whatever. One issue I have with the DVD is the flow and set up of the production, moving around between the different drills and what not doesn't seem that easy to me. On the other hand, I got the DVD for free so it might be a promo or something. David Bailey does have a website and one can sign up for emails...the email lessons and tips he sends out regularly (I think its weekly at first) are very good and free! I have the warm up he recommends printed out.

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 01:59 PM
I have a Bailey Method DVD. I do like a lot of the tips in it although it can seem technical at times. I have to remind myself that he is teaching footwork in a different way, versus just giving some drills or whatever. One issue I have with the DVD is the flow and set up of the production, moving around between the different drills and what not doesn't seem that easy to me. On the other hand, I got the DVD for free so it might be a promo or something. David Bailey does have a website and one can sign up for emails...the email lessons and tips he sends out regularly (I think its weekly at first) are very good and free! I have the warm up he recommends printed out.

Good post. I was curious in hearing who had them and how they liked them.

Julieta
04-06-2008, 02:18 PM
Good post. I was curious in hearing who had them and how they liked them.

Thank you!

dave333
04-06-2008, 02:26 PM
I don't think we're on the same page here. You're explaining to me why we split step, while I'm asking when we should. I think I got it though so nevermind.

You should split step right before your opponent hits the ball (if you hit a hard shot or when you serve, its probably a good time to split when the ball bounces).

Bungalo Bill
04-06-2008, 02:53 PM
I don't think we're on the same page here. You're explaining to me why we split step, while I'm asking when we should. I think I got it though so nevermind.

Yes, this has already been said. Split-step just before the opponent hits the ball. This is so you can get a jump on the ball as soon as you see the direction it is going off their racquet. Which also means you have the possiblity of moving before the ball comes over the net. A lot of club players start moving to the ball when it is well past the net giving them very little time to get to the ball and setup properly.