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kenshireen
01-31-2009, 06:50 AM
I have watched many service returns in slo-mo... I still have a problem trying to determine the timing of the up and down motion of the hop.

It appears that you hop up slightly before the server makes contact and you land at the point of impact when the racket makes contact with the ball.

I have the same question when playing doubles and you are at the net while the other team is making contact... Sometimes I get caught flatfooted on their return of serve while I am at the net.. What is the best way to stay fluid.

Thank you
Ken

Slicendicer
01-31-2009, 07:27 AM
split step when opponent hits with the ball...

Essential Tennis
01-31-2009, 08:04 AM
It appears that you hop up slightly before the server makes contact and you land at the point of impact when the racket makes contact with the ball.

That's exactly right, and you want to repeat that timing as often as possible for every shot your opponents hit.

kenshireen
01-31-2009, 08:15 AM
split step when opponent hits with the ball...

The hop entails going up and landing... Do I start the up motion when the opponent makes contact with the ball or do I land when he makes contact.

thank you

sukivan
01-31-2009, 11:35 AM
you're all wrong.
you shouldn't be "hopping", per se; it's more of a gliding float. the idea is to momentarily take the weight off of your feet. the less you come off of the ground, the better.

there is no set timing because there is no set distance/height/knee bend for the move. the goal is to have no weight on your feet at the moment of impact, and be able to move to either side immediately thereafter.

once you can execute this move reliably (and understand that its NOT a "hop"), you will be amazed at the serves you are able to get back.

serveitup911
01-31-2009, 12:12 PM
My split step has 3 parts.
1) Bring left foot parallel to right
2) Move upwards (not a jump really, just barely off the ground)
3) Return to the ground

I like to time this so I am just returning to the ground as the server makes contact. I think jumping at serve contact would be too late because the serve would already be across the net by the time I had any weight on the ground. Remember that you can't move unless you have weight on your feet.

Slicendicer
01-31-2009, 12:23 PM
The hop entails going up and landing... Do I start the up motion when the opponent makes contact with the ball or do I land when he makes contact.

thank you

yes, we're all wrong. Forget that I learned volleys from 1 of the best volley players in the world.... anyhoo... the "hop" as you call it, isn't really a hop. Your feet shouldn't come up off the ground more than a 1/4", a guesstimate. The idea is a to "wake up" the feet and move toward contact zone. So, as the ball is being struck, just a quick "hop" onto the balls of your feet.

user92626
01-31-2009, 01:06 PM
you're all wrong.
you shouldn't be "hopping", per se; it's more of a gliding float. the idea is to momentarily take the weight off of your feet. the less you come off of the ground, the better.

there is no set timing because there is no set distance/height/knee bend for the move. the goal is to have no weight on your feet at the moment of impact, and be able to move to either side immediately thereafter.

once you can execute this move reliably (and understand that its NOT a "hop"), you will be amazed at the serves you are able to get back.

You know what, once again I think sukivan is correct. (Sukivan, are you really an advanced player which sounds like you are ;))

You shouldn't hop while waiting to receive. I do a little swaying, straighten up and sprint as soon as I recognize the shot. If I really want to be active, I jitter my feet before sprinting. Watch Ana Avonivic.

WildVolley
01-31-2009, 02:01 PM
Sukivan is correct. You ideally want your feet to be unweighted when the opponent impacts the ball. A lot of the pros will land with the foot opposite of the way they are moving off the split instead of landing with both feet at the same time.

The balanced float will allow you to do that.

Slicendicer
01-31-2009, 03:42 PM
Sukivan is correct. You ideally want your feet to be unweighted when the opponent impacts the ball. A lot of the pros will land with the foot opposite of the way they are moving off the split instead of landing with both feet at the same time.

The balanced float will allow you to do that.

To change direction, you need both feet on the ground. Split stepping all your weight onto one foot will eventually cause torn meniscus or worse. Besides it's just poor technique. A quick bounce and push off in direction of the ball is how to do it.

wihamilton
01-31-2009, 04:13 PM
I have watched many service returns in slo-mo... I still have a problem trying to determine the timing of the up and down motion of the hop.

It appears that you hop up slightly before the server makes contact and you land at the point of impact when the racket makes contact with the ball.

I have the same question when playing doubles and you are at the net while the other team is making contact... Sometimes I get caught flatfooted on their return of serve while I am at the net.. What is the best way to stay fluid.

Thank you
Ken

Hi ken. Here's a video on the split step (http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/videos/index.php/view/962/145/Tennis_Footwork_Split_Step). Hopefully it answers your questions.

Slicendicer
01-31-2009, 04:17 PM
Hi ken. Here's a video on the split step (http://www.fuzzyyellowballs.com/videos/index.php/view/962/145/Tennis_Footwork_Split_Step). Hopefully it answers your questions.

Spam... :|

wihamilton
01-31-2009, 04:20 PM
Spam... :|

Agreed. Ban imo.

stormholloway
01-31-2009, 04:26 PM
It's an interesting question. I'm of the opinion that the feet should be landing around the time the opponent hits the ball on serve. That way there is enough time to load the spring in your feet and legs. Depends on how fast you expect the serve to come though.

wihamilton
01-31-2009, 04:36 PM
It's an interesting question. I'm of the opinion that the feet should be landing around the time the opponent hits the ball on serve. That way there is enough time to load the spring in your feet and legs. Depends on how fast you expect the serve to come though.

The problem with landing as your opponent makes contact is that you don't know where the ball is going yet. You're at your most explosive but you don't know which direction to move. I think you need to time the split so that you are landing at the instant you realize where the ball is going, which will be after your opponent has hit the ball.

Slicendicer
01-31-2009, 04:39 PM
The problem with landing as your opponent makes contact is that you don't know where the ball is going yet. You're at your most explosive but you don't know which direction to move. I think you need to time the split so that you are landing at the instant you realize where the ball is going, which will be after your opponent has hit the ball.


+1

this is the right way. :)

wihamilton
01-31-2009, 04:43 PM
+1

this is the right way. :)

Heh. I think the video is relevant to the discussion. Even if the guy in it has mediocre to poor good looks.

stormholloway
01-31-2009, 04:51 PM
The problem with landing as your opponent makes contact is that you don't know where the ball is going yet. You're at your most explosive but you don't know which direction to move. I think you need to time the split so that you are landing at the instant you realize where the ball is going, which will be after your opponent has hit the ball.

But your feet and legs aren't ready to spring the moment they touch the ground. The spring in the calves and thighs still needs to load. I think it's better to be too early on the split than too late. If you're caught in mid air when someone hits a huge serve it's gone. It doesn't matter if you figure out where it's going at that point.

Also, often one can know where their opponent is hitting his serve before contact, e.g. from where the toss is, the way the racquet is moving, general player tendencies. Wherever the racquet is facing at contact communicates where the ball is going. Depends on the serve you're receiving to a large extent.

wihamilton
01-31-2009, 04:57 PM
But your feet and legs aren't ready to spring the moment they touch the ground. The spring in the calves and thighs still needs to load. I think it's better to be too early on the split than too late. If you're caught in mid air when someone hits a huge serve it's gone. It doesn't matter if you figure out where it's going at that point.

Also, often one can know where their opponent is hitting his serve before contact, e.g. from where the toss is, the way the racquet is moving, general player tendencies. Wherever the racquet is facing at contact communicates where the ball is going. Depends on the serve you're receiving to a large extent.

It's certainly true that good players will adapt their footwork if they pick off a "tell." They might not even split at all -- they'd just move to where they think the ball is going.

Perhaps I wasn't being clear enough with my language above. You need to land -- and have your legs fully loaded up -- at the instant you realize where the ball is going.

If you watch the video I linked in, there is a segment where we look at when Marat Safin splits when returning serve. He is in the air at contact and as the ball travels over the net toward him.

dave333
01-31-2009, 05:26 PM
As others have said, you should finish your split step as they hit the ball. So you should start your split step as they toss the ball. Just make sure to be light on your feet and on your toes. A good check would be that you can basically "hop" around a bit, so to speak.

GeorgeLucas
01-31-2009, 05:38 PM
I have watched many service returns in slo-mo... I still have a problem trying to determine the timing of the up and down motion of the hop.

It appears that you hop up slightly before the server makes contact and you land at the point of impact when the racket makes contact with the ball.

I have the same question when playing doubles and you are at the net while the other team is making contact... Sometimes I get caught flatfooted on their return of serve while I am at the net.. What is the best way to stay fluid.

Thank you
Ken

In summarizing just about everyone's post, the point is to be landing from your "hop" as your opponent makes contact with the ball. Another merit of the split step is that it forces you to choose a direction - you can't have so much coiled energy in your legs and nowhere for it to go. That's why you find yourself with a good start on the ball after a well executed split step.

ProfoundBasic
01-31-2009, 06:17 PM
It's certainly true that good players will adapt their footwork if they pick off a "tell." They might not even split at all -- they'd just move to where they think the ball is going.

Perhaps I wasn't being clear enough with my language above. You need to land -- and have your legs fully loaded up -- at the instant you realize where the ball is going.

If you watch the video I linked in, there is a segment where we look at when Marat Safin splits when returning serve. He is in the air at contact and as the ball travels over the net toward him.

Will,
Pls clear these if you can.

(1) Good players do not need split step?
(2) What are your points regarding Marat Safin?

sonicboi21
01-31-2009, 07:16 PM
start the process of the split step right before your opponent hits the ball so when you have the full weight on your feet, you know where the ball is going and you can go fofr it

wihamilton
02-01-2009, 02:05 PM
Will,
Pls clear these if you can.

(1) Good players do not need split step?
(2) What are your points regarding Marat Safin?

Hi PB. Good players absolutely need to split step. What I was talking about above was situations where players "cheat" to one side during a service return because they are anticipating where their opponent is going to hit the ball. For example, if Player A starts reading Player B's toss -- in other words, Player A can tell where Player B is going to hit the serve based on where Player B puts the toss over his head -- then Player A might skip the split step and simply move to where he think the serve is going. Federer did this a few times in the final last night vs. Nadal to hit a forehand -- he knew Nadal was going to serve to his backhand so he moved to his left as Nadal wound up so he could hit a forehand instead.

Regarding Safin, the point I make in the video is that Safin times his split step so that he is in the air -- in the middle of his split step -- as Monfils makes contact when serving. That way, he will land and be at his most explosive at the instant he realizes where the ball is going.