how to be lighter on your feet?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by 2ndServe, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    My footwork is crap, I'm very heavy on my feet. I can hear these stomps when I'm running and I'm pretty skinny and light. Yet I run like someone 30 lbs heavier and it takes it's toll on my feet, ankles, knees, hips, back etc. I can literally feel the shock go from my feet up my back.
     
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  2. psv255

    psv255 Professional

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    The first thing I could think of is, when moving to the ball, force yourself to step only on the balls of your feet. You'll need to be a bit more stable during the shot itself, but definitely stay on the balls of your feet to get a "lighter" feeling.
     
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  3. _craze

    _craze New User

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    Run on your toes. Constantly remind yourself to do that, and you'll notice because you're feeling lighter as you move into your shots. That's the quickest way to get into your zone.

    Maybe bounce around this way, while waiting to return or even serve. Not for too long, though.
     
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  4. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Maybe you need better shoes or better inner soles or orthotics .
     
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  5. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    Float like a butterfly! Sting like a bee!

    Sorry, that's all I got.
     
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  6. Cheetah

    Cheetah Hall of Fame

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    jump rope.
     
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  7. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    skip instead of stompping. i find that the side step/skip type movement allows me to cover most the baseline without having to sprint. i can also move in diagonally quite a bit using the same footwork. Federer has very light movement, Andy Roddick is a stomper. Check out a video of Federer and just focus on his legs for a few minutes. You will see that he is very bouncy and does a lot of skipping around the court rather than just sprinting.

    also, doing a small split step as your opponent hits the ball* makes it easier for you to change directions and move your body without having to be explosive or to stomp. try to move smoothly as opposed to quickly and you will find out that you have a lot of time; the tennis court is small unless you are playing someone at a very high level. Also, make sure you have proper sized tennis shoes and that they fit properly.

    maybe take some ballet or dancing lessons.


    * this is to be done on every shot.
     
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  8. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Heavy movement and the stretch shortening cycle

    Search the stretch shortening cycle (SSC). Running and also walking uses the stretch shortening cycle a lot.

    Some illustrations to get the idea, some not too related-
    https://www.google.com/search?q=str...fFoen0AGsi4HICQ&ved=0CGQQsAQ&biw=1334&bih=722

    The advice to 'stay on your toes' from psv255 and _craze is for calves and quads. To stay on your toes causes the calves to use more stretch shortening than they otherwise might. Quads and hamstrings also use stretched shortening in tennis. To 'split-step' as your opponent hits the ball uses your weight with stretch shortening to stretch your calves, quads and probably hamstrings also.

    If you 'have no spring' in your step it sounds as if your calves might be weak and too long. If stretch shortening is not used enough the bones and ligaments then have to stop the motion nearer the end of the range of motion, rough on ankles and knees.

    Exercise. Do calf exercises.

    Strengthen your leg muscles, quads and hamstrings with squats and other exercises. Generally, if you strengthen muscles they tend to be a little tighter and shorter which may be good for you.

    Stretch. As you strengthen the calves stretch the calves so that they do not get too short or tight and get stressed or injured. Stretch both calf muscles, the soleus and gastrocnemius. Soleus requires a stretch with a bent knee. Stretch quads and hamstrings, etc. Information on stretches in earlier threads.

    Of course, all muscles use SSC. Another area for exercise involves weak hip muscles such as the gluteus medius. This muscle holds the pelvis level when one foot is off the ground. It is important for movement and balance but neglected even with lots of tennis. My gluteus medius was weak despite continuously playing tennis. For details search: Chas Tennis gluteus medius and the internet.

    In general, posture issues can cause much heavier loads on joints especially, the knees and ankles. Posture results from the length and strength of all your muscles. Think in terms of complete body, head-to-toe, and not separately the leg or hip down, etc.

    Look at your posture in the mirror. Also from the side. Search: posture evaluation but this is a tricky business so take care with your conclusions.

    Take a video of your tennis movement and see what you can pick up. I almost always find clear obvious flaws in my tennis videos.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  9. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Train with ankle weights. You will feel very fast and light footed after. But train over a long period of time.
     
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  10. Mick3391

    Mick3391 Professional

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    Train with ankle weights. You will feel very fast and light footed after. But train over a long period of time with AW's.
     
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  11. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Careful with the ankle weights-- could lead to injury. If you're already feeling joint pain (as your post suggests) I'm not sure they're a good idea.
     
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  12. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    as cheetah suggests jumping ropes or even just jumping up and down in various patterns will strengthen foot and calf muscles that are critical in moving well on tennis court. do enough to make them sore and repeat everyday until you can clearly feel stronger on your feet.
     
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  13. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    i like to just relax my body and breathing.
    that helps me feel "lighter"
     
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  14. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Play in minimal shoes, or without.
     
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  15. Ryoma

    Ryoma Rookie

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    When you can squat 2 x body weight, you will feel light. It's mostly about strength to body weight ratio. SCS helps too.

    And if you are talking about how FedEx seems so light on the court, it's because his game vastly limit his opponent's return option, meaning that he dictates where the ball is coming back most of the time. And he seldom chases ball outside of the double side lines any more.
     
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  16. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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  17. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    Well, he's also very light on his feet when he moves. There's some technique to it.
     
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  18. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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  19. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Pat Etcheberry Test for Agility & First Step

    Pat Etcheberry has emphasized footwork training for some time.

    Here is a test for agility and first step speed.
    http://www.videojug.com/film/tennis-agility-training

    Going all out on this test might be risky for injury with some players......I have the strokes higher on my priority tennis list so I'll be putting off this test.....
     
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  20. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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  21. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    losing weight actually would help many rec Players. nole is even skinnier than he was a few years ago and now he moves even better.

    I'm not saying you should become anorexic but most guys above Age 30 are too fat. lose ten Pounds and you will feel much lighter on the feet.
     
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  22. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    ^^ Good points, but he OP said he was skinny.
     
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