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certifiedjatt
12-31-2008, 06:12 PM
the following is taken from http://cis.squirming.net/category/tennis/207/#4.

With continued changes in the game of tennis and the dominance of powerful exchanges from the baseline during points, players have even less time to prepare for groundstrokes during a rally. Early descriptions of the split step from the baseline, during the preparation to hit a groundstroke, reported both feet coming down from the air and landing on the court simultaneously. This maneuver enables the player to begin to move to either the forehand or backhand side to execute a shot.

More recent reports of baseline preparatory movement, however, have shown these initial descriptions of movement to be inaccurate. Elite level players have been shown to have a specific landing and foot position sequence during the split step employed from the baseline during a groundstroke rally. This information was discovered by sport scientists through analysis of high speed digital quality video of elite players during competition.

Using the example of a right handed player preparing to hit a forehand, the exact mechanism of this split step sequence will be discussed. While in the air and on the descent from the hop or upward movement at the initiation of the split step, players begin to time the landing from this upward movement by landing with the foot farthest away from the ball a split second ahead of the other foot. In a right handed player preparing to hit a forehand, this would involve landing with the left foot first. As the right foot prepares to touch the court surface, elite players actually start rotating that foot toward the direction of intended movement toward the ball. This would specifically involve pointing the right foot outward in a right-handed player. This movement pattern is performed without apparent conscious thought, as players and coaches were generally unaware that this response or pattern occurred until recently. This exact mechanism or sequence is thought to enhance a player's ability to perform a lateral or sideways movement and may actually initiate rotation of the body toward the side of intended movement."



the bold part is what i've found in many articles on footwork. that most of it is intuitive.


go to page 5 on http://dps.usta.com/usta_master/usta/doc/content/doc_437_46.pdf

WildVolley
12-31-2008, 06:43 PM
I noticed this a lot when watching Agassi return serves in slow motion. Sometimes when he had a good read on the ball, his outside foot would plant and his foot closer to the ball would start moving toward the direction of the ball immediately. Other times, the feet look like they almost land simultaneously but the weight shifts to the foot away from the ball in a very short fraction of a second.

baseline08thrasher
12-31-2008, 09:23 PM
You have good posts.
Please keep feeding us the truth.
Really, it's opening up my eyes. =]

certifiedjatt
12-31-2008, 10:19 PM
You have good posts.
Please keep feeding us the truth.
Really, it's opening up my eyes. =]

ohh i love good sarcasm. good sarcasm is always subtle. :)
i'm just trying to learn tennis as i go along. and for me, part of learning it is not wasting time on age old myths about footwork and "keeping my eyes on the ball" and "racket in front", and just focusing on hitting wicked running forehands.

SystemicAnomaly
01-01-2009, 03:32 AM
Good find, CJ.

I have actually been aware of using both 2-footed (simultaneous) landings as well as 1-footed (staggered) landing since the early 90s. Even tho' the authors present the (slightly) staggered landing as recent development, the notion has been around for quite a while. I'm fairly certain that I've been using both 2-footed and 1-footed landings for more than 2 decades in both tennis and badminton -- it just took a few years for me to realize it.

When I speak of a 2-footed landing, I am not really certain if it is truly simultaneous if it is nearly simultaneous. Autem, when I speak of a 1-footed landing it will obviously be a staggered landing. It really depends on the situation and the exact timing of my split-step whether I'll employ a 1-footed or a 2-footed landing. If I'm a tad on the early side, I'll land the feet simultaneously and then will immediately take another step to move toward the expected location. It I initiate the split-step a fraction of a second later, I am apt to land it 1-footed so that I am essentially "falling" in the direction that I want to move.

I would still introduce the split-step as a 2-footed landing to a player unfamiliar with the concept of a split step. Many/some players, as they find their timing of the split-step, will eventually adopt both 1-footed and 2-footed landings -- without being instructed to do so. Other players, may need to be made aware of the refinement.

5263
01-01-2009, 08:27 AM
Maybe not you CJ, but I think what the truth is missing is that there is always subtle adjustments that are made. The drills are for establishing a baseline to operate from, not a holy grail to be blindly mimicked in every case. What you point out is an excellent example of this. I think it is clear that working from a basic split step technique and growing into adjustments is the fastest way to improve. Many pick up on the split step naturally, as I did, but many need to be shown that footwork before they get it.

So for me, if the there is a Truth here, it is not to be locked rigid into what you are taught, but use it as a springboard to work from. Most techniques must be taught in a basic, generic form to morph from.
But they still have great value.

GeorgeLucas
01-01-2009, 10:25 AM
Good for you, CJ! I'm always happy to find tennis brought back down to an athletically intuitive level. We shouldn't be memorizing doing "x" if "y" occurs; we should be developing our tennis instincts. That is why good players are so flexible with their games - they can adapt to most situations intuitively and instinctively.

Djokovicfan4life
01-01-2009, 03:01 PM
This is really nothing new to me. I've been trying to master the 1 footed split step for a little while now.

Good post though, I'm sure some people here are still unaware of this technique.

certifiedjatt
01-01-2009, 03:17 PM
This is really nothing new to me. I've been trying to master the 1 footed split step for a little while now.

Good post though, I'm sure some people here are still unaware of this technique.

i think the important part wasn't the technique. the important part was that a good athlete and tennis player will develop "techniques" intuitively. so, by trying to master the `1 footed split step, you are actually doing the same thing everyone else is doing: trying to gain procedural mastery.

Djokovicfan4life
01-01-2009, 03:53 PM
i think the important part wasn't the technique. the important part was that a good athlete and tennis player will develop "techniques" intuitively. so, by trying to master the `1 footed split step, you are actually doing the same thing everyone else is doing: trying to gain procedural mastery.

I still believe that there are certain concepts and techniques that all players will NOT develop naturally. That means even the Federer's and the Gasquet's of this world.

Besides, I'm not a good athlete or tennis player. :)

LeeD
01-01-2009, 05:15 PM
I think, but am not absolutely sure, the first guy who wrote about and used the term "split step" was HenryHines back in the late '70's.
He was a track athelete, possible a decath guy.
He wrote the thesis that basically all atheletes go by for quick reaction, first step, and recognition of direction.
I still can't spell athelete.
Anyways, my contempory, I knew him well before that book.
But isn't this really barely applicable to tennis?
In tennis, unlike a shortstop or inside linebacker, unlike a goalie or tight end, you have waaaay too many options on just WHAT to do, where to go, and mainly, how to accomplish your goal (getting in hitting position early).
The basic split step enables left and right movement. It relies on you moving slightly forwards, all good.
If you can pick up trace habits telegraphed by your opponent, you don't have to rely on split step, you already have the keys!
And when you don't know where the ball is coming, nothing works better than some thesis made by a quick strong black man back 40 years ago.
John Lucas was one of the disciples of HH. John played for the Warriors (pro basketball) for about 3 years. He also was ranked top 20 in the world in Pro Tennis back then (early 80's). He used the old fashion split step in both sports.

TLD
01-02-2009, 05:18 AM
How exactly does a split step work?

SystemicAnomaly
01-02-2009, 12:19 PM
^ Are you asking how it is executed or why it is effective?