Footwork drill for advanced juniors

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 10ismom, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Please suggest some videos or websites showing great footwork drills appropriate for an advanced (national ranked) 12 year old junior. Current coach and academy drills are not good at this.
    Needs to improve to get to the next level before it is too late.
    Appreciate it!
     
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  2. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Check out my posts in the back hand thread.
     
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  3. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Kite,
    Do you have videos or web@ for footwork videos to suggest? My junior is a visual learner and needs to see it.
    I saw your description of steps to hit 1hbh in that thread but no videos.
     
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  4. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Tell her to read my post about defending the contact point. Check out tennisplayer.net.
     
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  5. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    ^^^ thank you.
     
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  6. 4sound

    4sound Semi-Pro

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  7. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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  8. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I don't have any links for footwork drills per se but do have a number that show some excellent footwork technique. By repeated watching & studying the footwork in these videos, your daughter should be able to pick up quite a bit. Here are a few more videos of the Bailey Method:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pFMiSZ1rDY

    http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=1431342223073670772

    http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=-7964590376641424831

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRV4GhpD4m8


    Here are some instruction sites with videos:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/08/31/sports/tennis/20090831-roger-graphic.html

    http://www.jezgreen.com/the-steps-in-tennis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCRq8bDersc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVwPRKh1Mdk
     
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  9. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Footwork drill and instruction videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrLqc_Dm06k

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agkP1i2Ljto

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5CWAwtijVI&t=6m32s

    (Take a look at the Top Comments under this last video. Links have been provides for the various footwork techniques presented in this long video).


    It should also be worthwhile watching the feet of some of the best movers in tennis: Roger Federer, Steffi Graff and others:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxJLR-IzxEY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tZhQi8aDcg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpNFxnShJ9o&t=14s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keh6tw2XCYI&t=28s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Z7pg5oSj4&t=50s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RH9ZlnjsUHM&t=26s
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
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  10. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I recommend the Sanchez-Casal drills as I've been to Barcelona to do their coaching course and it was excellent.
    Here's a good explanation of one of their drills:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpA-BTs0YQQ
     
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  11. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Try jezgreen.com too. He has good video clips and explanations for the key movement patterns/steps.

    Cheers
     
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  12. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Thank you all very much for taking time to advice on the footwork drill.

    Do appreciate it and will start working on that :)
     
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  13. Cavaleer

    Cavaleer Semi-Pro

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    STUDY Federer if you have a 1HBH, and Djoker, Nadal and Murray if you have a two. Then emulate what they do with shadow tennis then with live balls. When I say study I mean STUDY, like you would for an exam. Watch the feet, the head and shoulders all the way through the point of contact to the next split then imitate it without a racquet or ball. Then do it with the racquet but without the ball. Then add the ball......
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
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  14. OldFedIsOld

    OldFedIsOld Professional

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    I agree with this but you forgot to the most important part of studying, understanding. You can copy their technique down to the finest points but if you don't understand why they hit like that and when to do so, then you can't really improve. To improve you need to know: how its done, when its done, and why its done.

    OP, your juniors should listen to their coaches, they teach them the rudimentary skills. If they aren't getting to most if not every ball with ample time(set up and preparation for their shot), then you probably need to look for a better coach. If they are getting to each ball with enough time to set up, then the coaches are doing their job.
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  16. 4sound

    4sound Semi-Pro

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    I get a lot of students come to me to improve footwork. Structured footwork is important but it needs to be coupled with ball tracking for the footwork to payoff.

    The biggest issue with ball tracking is when your tracking starts. How early off the opponents strike you recognize ball trajectory, so you can get into optimal positioning is key. Better players track really early and make it look easy to strike.
     
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  17. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    What will be your suggestions to improve ball tracking?
    Playing more matches or other drills such as hitting volley to volley or other activities ie. juggling balls...or ???

    I read and heard about a coming tennis ball is like a grapefruit to Agazzi's eyes. Is it trainable?
     
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  18. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Note that juggling requires you to use your peripheral vision to track the balls. In tennis, we would use our peripheral vision more for keeping track of our opponent(s), the court and our partner rather than tracking the ball. While juggling can be very beneficial for tennis, it is not directly applicable for ball tracking. You can practice keeping your head still and your eyes fixed on a single point while juggling. This is what we would do when we swing the racket at an incoming ball -- the head stays still and the eye fixate on the contact point (or some other point).

    Agassi tracked the ball to a certain spot and then kept his head still and his eyes fixed on a point somewhat in front of his contact point. I believe that he stopped watching the ball just before it became "invisible" to his smooth pursuit tracking system. His last image of the ball made it seem larger than life. He may have picked up a bit more visual info with his peripheral vision. Federer, OTOH, would fixate "thru his strings" at the contact point. He would keep his head still, like Agassi, during his forward swing. Federer and Nadal probably keep their head still longer than most other players.

    You might try some sports vision training with a behavioral optometrist for reaction time and vision tracking exercises. They would also work on visualization and various other visual skills.

    Volleys make for a good eye tracking exercise. Try to determine the contact point ASAP and keep your eyes fix there for a bit. The ball will become "invisible" a bit before it hits your strings but it is still a good idea to fix your gaze there. Try some Z-ball (reaction ball) exercises to develop reaction time and vision tracking skills. Check out these links:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpKXcVFI8f0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHBw_hl62i4

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/29304-eye-tracking-exercise

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/267040-eye-exercises-for-tracking-problems-perception
     
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  19. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    Tennis specific exercises are important, but also outside the courts everyday life habits contribute to this kind of behavior as well. Does your kid have any tendency or habit to put things off and scramble to do at the last minute? This kind of behavior is subconcious but trainable if worked hard with patience.
     
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  20. 4sound

    4sound Semi-Pro

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    The issue is tracking the ball from distance to closeness. The ball looks like its speeding up as it gets closer to you. So juggling doesn't help you.

    A drill that helps unlock tracking is 2 bounce drills. Have someone feed you balls where you hit after the second bounce instead of the first bounce. Then switch back and forth between hitting after 1 bounce then after 2 bounce.

    Know which you're eye dominance is also good to know.
     
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  21. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Apparently you missed the benefits of juggling that I discussed above. There are others benefits as well, such as improved hand-eye. Here's a drill to develop ball tracking skills:

    Have someone serve to you. Moderate pace at first. Focus on the upward swing of the server's racket and listen to the sound of the impact. Both of these will provide valuable info for determining the direction and type of the serve. Try to track the ball coming off the racket and try to determine the bounce point before the ball crosses the net or asap. Once you've got a good idea where the ball will bounce, STOP tracking it and have your gaze jump to the expected bounce point.

    Your eyes are lying in wait for the bounce. One you see the ball bounce, start tracking it again to determine exactly where your expected contact point will be. Just before the ball is contacted, have your gaze shifted again -- this time to the expected contact point. Keep the eyes fixed on that CP and keep the head still for all of your forward swing.

    The sequence that I just described is the way the elite cricket batsman will track an incoming pitch. This is a great exercise for tracking a tennis serve.
     
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  22. 4sound

    4sound Semi-Pro

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    Juggling does help hand/eye but TBH don't see any more benefit to doing this than bouncing the ball on the racket.

    I find a couple of issues with this method.
    1. Cricket batting is more like covering a small strike zone in baseball that the ball is trying to hit. Tennis you have to move to the ball. Granted the service box narrows the coverage but the movement/footwork for positioning, with the tracking is what is required not trying to defend a designated strike zone.

    2. Tracking is continuous. You said to stop tracking and start again after bounce. Once you stop tracking, you stop moving. Bad idea in tennis to stop moving if the ball is moving.

    3. Don't look at where you want to hit the ball. You should already know what it looks like. Watch with the ball through your contact and follow it to its intended destination. You should already know where you want to hit the ball before you hit it.
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Did you miss or dismiss my assertion that peripheral vision is important in tennis? I mentioned that one of the primary benefits from learning to juggle is developing and trusting your peripheral vision while keeping your head still and your gaze fixed (on one point).

    This can have significant implications for gaze control in tennis. Too many players have not learned to trust their peripheral vision to keep track of things that are not the ball. Instead, they sneak a peek at the opponent(s), the court or their intended target area when they should be fixating on the ball or on their own contact point. Juggling can develop this trust in the role of peripheral vision to detect & keep track of the motion of the opponent(s) and partner as the ball gets closer to us.

    While I disagree with much of your last post, I was going to say that I agree with point #3. You should know where you are going to hit the ball before you hit it and you should not look at your target area -- you should be able to visualize it. However, your comment that I put in bold puzzles me. You do not watch the ball thru your contact because, in most cases, it is impossible to see -- our smooth pursuit tracking system is incapable of seeing most balls at this close proximity.

    Instead, it is better to fixate on the contact point, as Federer does, not the "invisible" ball. In fact, high speed video shows that his gaze jumps to the contact point shortly before the ball does. Furthermore, you should not try to follow the ball off the strings. Most of the time, the ball cannot be seen for several meters after it has left our strings. It is best to keep the head still during the forward swing of the racket. Looking up and moving the head during the forward swing tends to adversely affect the swing path of the racquet. Take a close look at Federer and Nadal when hitting (in the back court). They do not look up to follow the ball until their swing is complete (or nearly complete). It is not necessary to see the ball before it crosses the net. If we look up to track the ball at the end of the forward swing, we should have ample time to see the ball cross the net and bounce on the opponent's side.

    You two arguments against my proposed tracking exercise don't make an sense either. While I do not play cricket, I know that it does not have a small strike zone -- a cricket batsman must deal with a large range of balls. Unlike baseball, they have more freedom to move. However, the fact that a tennis player must usually move to hit a ball is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    You assertion that once you stop tracking a ball, you stop moving is nonsense. You should be able to track a ball whether you are moving or not. Your assertion that tracking is continuous is not completely true either. Elite tennis player will often use a combination of smooth pursuit tracking and catch-up saccades in order to follow the ball. Once the ball gets in close proximity, the smooth pursuit system is incapable of tracking eh ball into the strings.

    As I said before Federer's eyes actually get to the CP shortly before the ball does -- his eyes are lying in wait and his head is still. Agassi and others stop tracking the ball shortly before it gets to them and actually fix their gaze a little bit ahead of the CP (keeping the head still). They do not track the ball all the way into the strings and do not track the ball coming off the strings either -- visual tracking is not continuous.

    Note that the tracking exercise that I proposed is just that -- an exercise. You should not dismiss this exercise out of hand. I strongly suggest that you try the exercise yourself for several days before passing judgment. If, after trying it for 3 days, you see no value in it then you can come back and criticize it. I've done this exercise myself and have found that it merit for me and others. I have only taught it to a few of my students so far. Results have been positive. It helps to develop visual tracking skills and, possibly even more important, it makes us more aware of our ball tracking. It can also be useful to keep our gaze control fresh. Sometimes, when my poor aging eyes are fatigued are a couple of sets, my tracking becomes a bit slopp. I'll try this exercise on serve returns for a while. It helps to get me back on track.

    Try to keep an open open mind to new/novel ideas such as this. I've been playing this game for nearly 40 years and have been teaching tennis since the early 1980s. I have revamped my game more than once in that 40 years as the technology and the style of hitting has evolved over the years. I keep myself completely open to new ideas to stay fresh and relevant in my teaching.
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
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  24. MomentumGT

    MomentumGT Semi-Pro

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    Nice list of instructional vids :)

    -Jon
     
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  25. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ I put a considerable amount of time & effort into this thread. I'm gratified to see that someone out there has found some of it useful. It seems that the only feedback that I've been getting so far has been an attempt to discredit my input.
     
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  26. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    ^^^SystemicAnomaly

    As you can see my previous post above.....

    I definitely appreciate your posts and you taking time to give advice.
    You gave us great resources and will help my junior as well as many others!

    Thanks again.
     
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  27. 4sound

    4sound Semi-Pro

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    Calm down dude. No need to get so defensive. I think I hurt your feelings and I'm sorry for that.

    The reason I'm here is to find new ideas. With that said, I've found a few things that really do help. I've also found things that don't work.

    I regularly trade ideas with other tour level coaches and high performance teaching pros. Ball tracking is a topic that we're always trying to improve. The tough thing about tracking is the perception that the ball speed changes as it gets closer. Its hard to find methods that help train for speed change in context to the distance into close tracking. One thing that we've agree on is that finding the rhythm change of the ball and continually moving with that rhythm is key.

    I'm not trying to discredit you, I just don't agree. IMO, you're methods have too many moving parts that break up flow and rhythm.

    If your methods work for you, great!

    Sorry to the OP for having to read this banter bs.
     
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