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View Full Version : BB, others, my footwork (vid)


aimr75
12-21-2009, 01:31 AM
Bungalo Bill and anyone else that can provide advice/feedback.. i have been trying to work on my movement, so if you can provide any feedback on my footwork that would be great

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ_ajiUBRg

by the way, the audio was not synced to the video for some reason, so just muted it

J011yroger
12-21-2009, 03:24 AM
Are you hitting off a ball machine?

Not trying to rain on you, but it is tough to say anything about your movement when the ball is coming to the same spot.

It looks like you are just trying to jump around a lot until the next ball arrives.

Would it be possible for you to get video of groundstroke point play?

J

SourStraws
12-21-2009, 04:33 AM
First of all...That one handed backhand is absolutely gorgeous man...

As for the Analysis:

If the ball is coming straight towards you every time, there's no need to jump around like that unless you have to in order to ensure you dont get lazy. I would suggest just simply making a couple of adjustment steps so that you can hit the ball properly

Now, I looked at another vid of yours titled "Some Forehands-Practice" and what you do at the seven second mark is what I suggest you do from now on. You also do this at the two second mark of "One handed backhands" (the one on March ninth). You turn your body and take a big out step with your back leg. The first explosive out step is critical and will save energy and time as opposed to just making a million little steps.

For example, at the sixteen second mark instead of making two-three steps with each leg to get to the ball. A giant out step with your left leg with the right leg following would have accomplished the same result.

Overall I would say your strokes are awesome and pretty solid. However I believe with a more explosive first step, you'd be able to cover the court more efficiently, save energy, and relax a little bit more. Post some concerns if you have them!

Hope it helped = )

S.S.

LeeD
12-21-2009, 08:04 AM
As said, you hit good, but...
It's almost impossible nowadays to hit both forehand and backhands with closed stances, as the modern game makes you cover alley to alley. Your incoming balls only makes you cover a little of the court.
None of the incoming balls make you move 3 step each direction, so you seem to know you don't have to move sideways much.
For me, better to use closed stances for backhands, and semi open stances for wide forehands, which you don't get many of, or any in the vid.

TennisCoachFLA
12-21-2009, 08:28 AM
The video is limited in that you are not going sideline to sideline, or up and back much.

But from what we do see, your footwork is fine. Why? Because footwork should fit the individual and not be a conscious thing. Footwork serves one purpose, to get you to the ball so you can hit it with as much time and balance as the situation allows. You are balanced on almost all your balls thus your footwork is just fine.

Once suggestion, on your backhands you sometimes take no ready hop/split steps....other times you try to take 2-3 looking a little like a scared bunny. Relax and be consistent. Take one nice small split step for balance right before opponent's contact or the machine firing.

Solid strokes, good job.

Kostas
12-21-2009, 08:57 AM
I agree with the posters who say it's difficult to really tell because you don't have to move alot.

But - your forehand looks really nice.

Your backhand seemed a bit inconsistent though. Some shots looks really nice with good shoulder turn and followthrough and others looked, well, a bit lazy.

Not saying I'm any better but overall nice strokes.


Edit: Actually I just watched your other two videos FH & BH and honestly...those strokes looked alot better than your newest video.

You look so much more relaxed and smooth in your other videos. In this one your bouncing around makes you look anxious and it could be making you overplay/think some of your shots - especially your backhand.

Bungalo Bill
12-21-2009, 09:06 AM
Bungalo Bill and anyone else that can provide advice/feedback.. i have been trying to work on my movement, so if you can provide any feedback on my footwork that would be great

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwQ_ajiUBRg

by the way, the audio was not synced to the video for some reason, so just muted it

Not bad aimr75, keep working on things. The following is my advice. Remember, always work on your footwork and always try to eliminate steps to improve your efficiency and effectivness to get to more balls. It is a myth that players just "get" footwork and that contributes to lazy coaching and lazy tennis playing. Working on your footwork is not always fun but it is necessary.

1. I liked the energy you were showing with your feet.

2. There was a bit too much heel contact with the ground than I would like and your footwork looked clumpy at times especially on the forehand.

3. Get used to making a split-step and with balls like the ones you are hitting, practice the step-out. On the backhand side, the step-out will be less natural and feel somewhat uncoordinated. This is normal. A drill for this is to hop on one leg, and then step-out with the leg that is up to setup and hit the ball.

4. On one of your backhands I noticed you switched your feet in one motion as the ball was coming at you, excellent job! You want that footwork pattern for balls like that. For the others, you took several short steps to get turned right to make your stroke when you could have used the same footwork pattern.

5. I also liked that you were attempting to keep your feet apart. That is very important. You probably were doing this to reduce the temptation to crossover.

Also, for the split-step, you want to time it as such so you DON'T balance over your feet. The split-step is desgined to UNWEIGHT YOU over your feet for quick movement in a certain direction. As soon as your toes, touch the ground, you should be moving in the direction you want to go. One of the biggest mistakes players make is balancing over their feet and then sinking to their heels. Keep going!

LeeD
12-21-2009, 09:19 AM
May I suggest that there is more than one way to skin a cat?
Some people need to learn the hows and the whys.
Other's, sometimes more talented, can figure it out on the fly and need to work on other things.
If you get to coach players like NickSaviano (a contemporay of mine back in '78, you get tons of talent, great work ethic, great athleticism, speed, and sheer natural skill. You only have to work on his consistency and maybe a real first serve ... :):)
But lots of people here on the forums DON'T have Nicks athleticism, are more interested or need to know FORM before any function can be applied, so I think there's a need for BOTH kinds of coaches in today's tennis world.
It's great to get to coach A or 5.5 players, but sometimes, us lowly hackers need to know the whys and how to's, and some need it in simple A, B, C language, while others just need a helping hand here and there......
Remember, some of us are cerebral, while other's are just animals making do on natural, correct instinct.

Blake0
12-21-2009, 09:39 AM
Posters.....Bungalo Bill just gave some horrible advice. He wants you to think better footwork means you should take LESS STEPS TO THE BALL.

Good lord, how dumb and wrong.

Studies have shown beginners take 3-4 steps between shots. Club players take 4-5 steps. Division 1 players 9-10 steps. Top 10 pros 10 or more steps.

The better the player the MORE STEPS THEY TAKE. Many, many more small adjustment steps. Why? They have honed their instincts to get as balanced as possible for each shot. They take advantage of any time they have to use these extra steps.

From David Smith on TennisX, just one of these studies: "On average, the typical pro takes approximately 10 to 12 steps between each shot. In comparison, the typical recreational 3.0 player takes about 4 steps between each shot."

Please Bill stop already, your bad advice is almost criminal.

I've never really understood this..why would you want to take 10+ steps, if you can get into perfect position in less then 8 steps? I understand taking small adjusting steps is very important. What steps do you count too, from when they hit the first ball, all the foot movement that goes into it till the next ball?

LeeD
12-21-2009, 09:45 AM
While I can easily understand the concept of taking as many as 10 steps to get into perfect hitting position, I'd like to think the player can compensate somewhat most of the time and hit the ball with maybe half as many steps.
And long matches, multiple days, more than one a day, can have even the top players getting a little lazier, and employing the "less is OK" technique rather than the idea of "perfect hitting position".
As an old fart, less is better, as I don't have "more" to give!:shock::shock:

Bungalo Bill
12-21-2009, 09:50 AM
I've never really understood this..why would you want to take 10+ steps, if you can get into perfect position in less then 8 steps? I understand taking small adjusting steps is very important. What steps do you count too, from when they hit the first ball, all the foot movement that goes into it till the next ball?

LOL!!! Exaclty!! What he is saying here is pros take small steps all the time to get to the ball which is so far from the truth. There is a combination of footwork patterns used in professional tennis which is so obvious it is sickening.

Pros do not take ten steps to get to everyball. However, on wide balls they will use footwork patterns including the crossover step to get on their high horse to cover ground. However, on balls that the OP was hitting, the split-step and the step out are plenty. The OP can also use a gravity step if he wants as well. However, the split-step is more able to work on coordinating the backhand side better which is why I recommend it first.

Aimr75 will do what is right.

Kostas
12-21-2009, 09:51 AM
I've never really understood this..why would you want to take 10+ steps, if you can get into perfect position in less then 8 steps? I understand taking small adjusting steps is very important. What steps do you count too, from when they hit the first ball, all the foot movement that goes into it till the next ball?

Statistics can often be misleading or interpreted to serve a specific purpose. The books Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics do a good job of illustrating how looking at statistcs in a vacuum can serve one purpose while taking a different approach or perspective can offer a completely different interpretation.

I have little doubt that the scale of steps taken increases as the skill level increases. The question I would ask is whether this is causation or correlation?

I would venture to guess that as the skill/quality of the player increases, the skill/quality of their opponents also increase - likely in a linear fashion. So what do higher skilled opponents bring to the equation? Probably better placed, more consistent, faster paced shots which require more lateral and vertical movement on the court.

I could theorize that the reason I only average 3-4 steps per shot is because the people I play with are not capable of running me all over the court with any meaningful consistency. While Roger, Rafa, Djoker, Murray can put the ball wherever they like and construct the point.

Anyone else think along these lines?

Bungalo Bill
12-21-2009, 10:00 AM
More people on footwork:

Click on the various links for Pat Dougherty: http://www.google.com/search?q=pat+dougherty+on+footwork&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1

Bollettieri's tennis handbook:
From the wide footwork base of your strong foundation position, we recommend ... Footwork Patterns Thinking of footwork patterns as the gears of a 10-speed ...


Amir75, do me a favor, and work on the things I provided. It is common sense that footwork is critical for all players. Start with basic footwork patterns and go from there.

Bungalo Bill
12-21-2009, 01:00 PM
Footwork is such a common area to work in many sports it isn't even worth arguing about.

Of course there are coaches that make it difficult but there are many that don't.

Footwork training is based on fundamentals and to help a player move better and more efficiently to conserve energy and to help them cover more court.

The building blocks of footwork start out with basic patterns such as the split-step, shuffle step, step-out, and such.

As a player incorporates their stroke technique, conditioning, and movement, they are worked on together to help a player move and hit balls on the court without thinking sequencially and make it more automatic.

Don't even know why I am even arguing about this.

Blake0
12-21-2009, 01:12 PM
Statistics can often be misleading or interpreted to serve a specific purpose. The books Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics do a good job of illustrating how looking at statistcs in a vacuum can serve one purpose while taking a different approach or perspective can offer a completely different interpretation.

I have little doubt that the scale of steps taken increases as the skill level increases. The question I would ask is whether this is causation or correlation?

I would venture to guess that as the skill/quality of the player increases, the skill/quality of their opponents also increase - likely in a linear fashion. So what do higher skilled opponents bring to the equation? Probably better placed, more consistent, faster paced shots which require more lateral and vertical movement on the court.

I could theorize that the reason I only average 3-4 steps per shot is because the people I play with are not capable of running me all over the court with any meaningful consistency. While Roger, Rafa, Djoker, Murray can put the ball wherever they like and construct the point.

Anyone else think along these lines?

I sort of agree with what you're saying. I just watched a federer/nadal AO open 09 highlights. On every shot they hit they moved around 5-7 steps (started counting every step after they hit the stroke before, so counted getting back into position too). The only time i saw anyone get above 10 steps was when they were pulled from side to side or something of that sort.

Footwork's purpose is
a. To get to the ball
b. To get in good position to hit the ball
c. To get back into position.
d. To get ready for the next ball. (split step)

Here's whree you guys are branching off (atleast thats what i think)
1. You want to get to the perfect position to hit the ball, no matter how many steps it takes. (sacrificing energy to get into perfect position)
2. You want to get to the ball in perfect position in the least amount of steps possible. (sacrifice perfect position to have more energy)

Since both of these 2 things want to achieve perfect positioning i don't really understand why you'd want to waste energy by taking extra steps? IF you have to take 10+ steps to get a ball, by all means go ahead. But if you can get into perfect position by taking 5-7 steps, what's the point in taking an extra 3-5 more steps for no reason, you might end up having less time to hit the ball, which is crucial in higher levels of tennis (time that is).

If you have a set up ball, taking many adjustment steps to get into a perfect positioning is benificial, but if you're rallying at high speeds, you'd want to get into position and not have to take the extra steps for no reason, because you'd be losing time and energy.

Bungalo Bill
12-21-2009, 01:31 PM
I sort of agree with what you're saying. I just watched a federer/nadal AO open 09 highlights. On every shot they hit they moved around 5-7 steps (started counting every step after they hit the stroke before, so counted getting back into position too). The only time i saw anyone get above 10 steps was when they were pulled from side to side or something of that sort.

Footwork's purpose is
a. To get to the ball
b. To get in good position to hit the ball
c. To get back into position.
d. To get ready for the next ball. (split step)

:) I am with you but I am going to challenge the thinking around here on the purpose of footwork. If footwork's purpose serves only to get to a ball, what happens when you have to get to 5, 6, 7, 10 balls? If your footwork got you to 2 balls but because your movement is inefficient and ineffective you couldn't finish the drill or point which totalled 10 balls before your footwork broke down, did a player's footwork accomplish its purpose?

Why even work on it if its sole purpose is to get you to hit a ball in balance without considering that most points have more shots?

Our footwork's purpose is to help us stay in the entire point, keep the court closed, and finish the point in the most efficient and effective manner to help us win the point. If the point lasts 10 strokes each, we want to make sure that our footwork is contributing to our effort to win the point and not working against us or hindering us.

Therefore, it is short-sighted and poor tennis instruction to say footwork's only purpose is to get us to a ball. In a point, when we are moving, a player will use a number of patterns to accomplish footwork's real purpose - to help us win the point. The patterns learned are important and must be learned if a player wants to be able to have their footwork to help themselves win the point.

Too many players have poor footwork and they are limited in how long they last in a point. They are limited in how much court they are able to cover and keep closed before they lose their balance, send too much momentum in a certain direcion, get wrong-footed, are slow to recover, spend too much energy, execute poor timing, and/or have their stroke breakdown.

This is why footwork is much more than just getting us to the ball and much more than TennisCoachFla and MakesSense who are not giving anyone here good advuce, information, or instruction.

Footwork is not about one ball. If we had to hit only one ball, placing emphasis on your footwork wouldn't be nearly as important. Footwork is the foundation to everything you do on a court. It is fundamental and it needs to be practiced like you practice your groundstrokes.

Here's whree you guys are branching off (atleast thats what i think)
1. You want to get to the perfect position to hit the ball, no matter how many steps it takes. (sacrificing energy to get into perfect position)
2. You want to get to the ball in perfect position in the least amount of steps possible. (sacrifice perfect position to have more energy)

Since both of these 2 things want to achieve perfect positioning i don't really understand why you'd want to waste energy by taking extra steps? IF you have to take 10+ steps to get a ball, by all means go ahead. But if you can get into perfect position by taking 5-7 steps, what's the point in taking an extra 3-5 more steps for no reason, you might end up having less time to hit the ball, which is crucial in higher levels of tennis (time that is).

If you have a set up ball, taking many adjustment steps to get into a perfect positioning is benificial, but if you're rallying at high speeds, you'd want to get into position and not have to take the extra steps for no reason, because you'd be losing time and energy.

Here is the bottom-line to this thread which I am sure many are rolling their eyes on why we are even arguing this:

1. Footwork lasts for the entire point. You want to make sure your footwork doesn't shorten the point because you couldn't get there. Or if you are moved side to side that your footwork (not you in general) didn't slow you down to say in the point. Footwork is not just about getting to a ball, it is about winning the point.

2. Therefore, because players are normally involved in hitting more than one ball and when players improve in their footwork it allows them to hit more balls, moving your feet as efficiently and effectively as you current level allows is part of footwork.

Footwork is about two areas: Footspeed and foot patterns. That is what makes up footwork - please practice them. :)

Djokovicfan4life
12-21-2009, 02:13 PM
Hahahahaha! All right TennisCoachFLA, tell me, how many steps is Andy Murray taking per stroke here? Also, your TennisX article was talking about how many steps they take "between shots". That includes recovery footwork.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd7-aahoJX8&feature=related

aimr75
12-21-2009, 03:26 PM
Not bad aimr75, keep working on things. The following is my advice. Remember, always work on your footwork and always try to eliminate steps to improve your efficiency and effectivness to get to more balls. It is a myth that players just "get" footwork and that contributes to lazy coaching and lazy tennis playing. Working on your footwork is not always fun but it is necessary.

1. I liked the energy you were showing with your feet.

2. There was a bit too much heel contact with the ground than I would like and your footwork looked clumpy at times especially on the forehand.

3. Get used to making a split-step and with balls like the ones you are hitting, practice the step-out. On the backhand side, the step-out will be less natural and feel somewhat uncoordinated. This is normal. A drill for this is to hop on one leg, and then step-out with the leg that is up to setup and hit the ball.

4. On one of your backhands I noticed you switched your feet in one motion as the ball was coming at you, excellent job! You want that footwork pattern for balls like that. For the others, you took several short steps to get turned right to make your stroke when you could have used the same footwork pattern.

5. I also liked that you were attempting to keep your feet apart. That is very important. You probably were doing this to reduce the temptation to crossover.

Also, for the split-step, you want to time it as such so you DON'T balance over your feet. The split-step is desgined to UNWEIGHT YOU over your feet for quick movement in a certain direction. As soon as your toes, touch the ground, you should be moving in the direction you want to go. One of the biggest mistakes players make is balancing over their feet and then sinking to their heels. Keep going!

thanks for this.. One of the things i am frustrated about is that i always tend to be too upright, not bend knees, not be active enough etc.. so in effect being lazy.. maybe this resulted in me doing more with my feet then i should (taking more steps then needed) in this vid.. it felt, at the very least in this vid, that i was keeping my centre of gravity a bit lower then i usually do

I think normally i do a split step, i was just getting balls fed to me in this which may have resulted in me not doing it maybe, but i do have issues crossing over rather then stepping out.. so keeping the feet more apart might help alleviate this?

I will practice the drill with the hop, havent heard that one.. sounds good

Are there any other drills i can try off court that might help?

Its good to read peoples responses in this thread.. Im not fussed if people rip it apart, i simply want to improve.. even with my ground strokes i see obvious issues, but thats another topic in itself :)

Its a tough one with footwork since im trying to work out what i need to be doing..

Fedace
12-21-2009, 03:29 PM
Is this guy Marc Rosset ???

Bungalo Bill
12-21-2009, 05:28 PM
thanks for this.. One of the things i am frustrated about is that i always tend to be too upright, not bend knees, not be active enough etc.. so in effect being lazy.. maybe this resulted in me doing more with my feet then i should (taking more steps then needed) in this vid.. it felt, at the very least in this vid, that i was keeping my centre of gravity a bit lower then i usually do

I think normally i do a split step, i was just getting balls fed to me in this which may have resulted in me not doing it maybe, but i do have issues crossing over rather then stepping out.. so keeping the feet more apart might help alleviate this?

I will practice the drill with the hop, havent heard that one.. sounds good

Are there any other drills i can try off court that might help?

Its good to read peoples responses in this thread.. Im not fussed if people rip it apart, i simply want to improve.. even with my ground strokes i see obvious issues, but thats another topic in itself :)

Its a tough one with footwork since im trying to work out what i need to be doing..

I think the words keep it simple are important but you don't want to keep it stupid.

Fotowork is important to work on and at your level you should be working on it because it is the foundation of your strokes that you are working hard to improve. However, you don't want to make it difficult. Develop building blocks and start with good basic footwork patterns and build from there.

You can do shadow drills to work on your coordination. Practice the split-step and the suffles or move towards a certain direction. Practice that switch step also. Then when you are comfortable with your movement, add the ball. Now you are working on your timing of using these patterns.

Keep going! You are doing good and I really like your determination. Good stuff.

aimr75
12-21-2009, 06:21 PM
I think the words keep it simple are important but you don't want to keep it stupid.

Fotowork is important to work on and at your level you should be working on it because it is the foundation of your strokes that you are working hard to improve. However, you don't want to make it difficult. Develop building blocks and start with good basic footwork patterns and build from there.

You can do shadow drills to work on your coordination. Practice the split-step and the suffles or move towards a certain direction. Practice that switch step also. Then when you are comfortable with your movement, add the ball. Now you are working on your timing of using these patterns.

Keep going! You are doing good and I really like your determination. Good stuff.

thanks, your words are encouraging.. i do want to lift beyond my current ability.. aside from my stroke mechanics which i still need to work on, i really need to focus on my footwork.. so will keep at it.. :)

nadalfan!
12-21-2009, 06:33 PM
Here's my 2 cents: Make it look more of a relaxed motion. Something that you don't have to remember to do and it comes naturally when you play. If you look at federer or nadal in some of the vids on youtube by FYB (which are rather great and are worth looking at each one) all of the pro's don't hop around nearly as much as you do. I'm not saying it's bad but it looks a bit forced and looks like something you have to do rather than just gliding. Sure you won't look exactly like the top players but it will look better. Your strokes are not too bad but you can't really judge because of the ball machine. Anyways, do what you want with this info, I'm not here to troll or bash.

aimr75
12-22-2009, 12:43 AM
Are you hitting off a ball machine?

Not trying to rain on you, but it is tough to say anything about your movement when the ball is coming to the same spot.

It looks like you are just trying to jump around a lot until the next ball arrives.

Would it be possible for you to get video of groundstroke point play?

J

Jolly, it was a feed.. i will have to get some that is point play.. dont have anything yet..

MakeSenseNotBabies
12-22-2009, 10:09 AM
I have little doubt that the scale of steps taken increases as the skill level increases. The question I would ask is whether this is causation or correlation?


Anyone else think along these lines?

i think we're TT soulmates.
I can't tell you how many times i've used that very phrase, "causation vs correlation" in debunking or critiquing tennis advice. it's why i despise coaches because their advice doesn't substantiate a causal link between an action, or a stance, or a certain behavior. if federer sticks his arm out at 40 degrees due west before he hits a forehand, the coaches are going to get on the '40 degree rule' bandwagon. if his right ankle is points towards the mountainous region of the canadian wilderness as he hits a forheand, there will be a canadian forehand for coaches to teach. no one actually determines whether these players happen to look a certain way, or do a certain thing before producing a result, OR whether them looking a certain way or doing a certain thing causes a result. this is especially true for footwork.