How to improve footwork?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by davidusc, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. davidusc

    davidusc New User

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Anyone here can share his/her own experience to improve the footwork? like what method you are using? and how you adjust in the game?

    I have bigger backswing, however, I am trying to have open stance and shorten my back swing for my forehand, and have the weight shift from right foot to left foot during the racket swing and ball contacting to build more power. Lots of time I ended using close stance or sometime even worse I just be lazy and use the racket to block back the ball.

    Thanks
     
    #1
  2. Take up Salsa Dancing. It turned me from a 4.0 into a 5.0 within 6 months. My college tennis coach recommends it to everyone on the team, says it will take anyone to the next level!
     
    #2
  3. Silent

    Silent Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Messages:
    799
    Also, very important, post a video of your training.
     
    #3
  4. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,020
    #4
  5. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    This is not a simple topic, but rather a fundamental element of playing tennis.

    Having no idea of your level, or having seen nothing (no video), I will assume nothing as well.
    1. Split step every time your opponent hits the ball.
    2. Don't get caught "watching" your shot.
    3. Recover to the right location after you play your shot. The general positions being: FH Recovery, BH Recovery, Approach (cover the line, net, cross), deep defensive recovery / guess.
    4. People will have differing philosophies about footwork, and which foot to load in certain situations.
    5. Play around with different set ups and find which ones work for you in various circumstances:
      1. Do you like to hit the FH DTL OTR shot with your right or left leg? Maybe either? Maybe you should learn both?
      2. Do you like to step into the shot, or do you prefer a stable position?
      3. Practice open and closed stances for both DTL and CC.
    You can't play the ball if you can't get to it. Condition your legs and your anaerobic endurance levels. Practicing good footwork means making it to your shots with enough time to setup and play the ball in a physical position that is conducive to hitting your desired shot; but you also need to be able to hit emergency shots.



    Again--this is a comprehensive topic. Pick one or two things at first, and work on that. In my opinion, items 1, and 3.
     
    #5
  6. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    #6
  7. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,291
    Location:
    Gotham City
    What Balla meant was:
    [​IMG]

    Or maybe this:
    [​IMG]
     
    #7
  8. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Plan to ARRIVE at hitting position with the footwork most likely to help your shots.
     
    #8
  9. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    What I'm really saying is, if someone truly wants to improve their tennis game they better be prepared to put in the time and effort and yes, skipping rope is amazing for improving footwork but sometimes not practical. Trying to get a middle aged person who's never skipped in their life to take it up, pretty comical haha.
     
    #9
  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,182
    I don't know how to skip rope. What else is there ?
     
    #10
  11. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    3,667
    Location:
    Here and There
    Wait till LeeD comes back, I'm sure those tales from the 70's will instantly add 5mph to your footwork.
     
    #11
  12. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,361
    just jump up and down vigorously until your feet get tired. don't tell me you can't do that.
     
    #12
  13. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    your advice reminds me of this J.R.R Tolkien line...

    “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.”
     
    #13
  14. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    that's jumping rope. skipping rope requires quite a bit more skill and coordination. :)
     
    #14
  15. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,361
    footwork is a pretty grand topic. most of the time people who are not very athletic has weak and tight (inflexible) feet muscles. good starting point is simple jumping up and down vigorously. then you can add jumping side to side, front and back, single leg, etc.
     
    #15
  16. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    agreed. additionally, i think people who are not very athletic tend to be lacking in coordination as well. i've seen plenty of uncoordinated kids and adults at the local courts getting lessons from a tennis pro. part of the lesson includes doing lines or zig zagging around cones. they can do the drills just fine, but still look uncoordinated regardless of how much they practice the drill. some people are just uncoordinated and nothing they do will change that.
     
    #16
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Some of you miss the point.
    Most of you think footwork is GETTING to the ball.
    What I'm proposing is, footwork is ARRIVING at the ball with feet planted that helps you hit your shot.
    Don't just run to the ball.
    Run to the ball with the thought of correct feet position as you arrive.
     
    #17
  18. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    yes, leed, i know that you are the only individual who understands the game of tennis, but i have a hunch that tennis_balla knows a thing or two about footwork. he might even know a little bit more about it than you. i know that might be really hard for you to believe. ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
    #18
  19. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    556
    Location:
    Irvine, Southern California
    How about using an agility ladder?

    OP what kind of footwork are you talking about? Are you taking about getting to the ball? After you hit the ball? Are you always hand cuffing yourself?
     
    #19
  20. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    POV....point of view.
    What you fail to realize is, you keep talking about exercise and jumping, which DOES NOT HELP TENNIS FOOTWORK.
    Footwork, in a TENNIS application, is to arrive to the ball with the right distance, the feet in the right place, and of course, some upper body prep.
    HOW you get there is individual. Some players saunter, some stalk, some cruise, some hop, some run, some glide. IT DON'T matter until you arrive near the ball, the correct distance, the feet set to HIT THE BALL.
    Nobody cares how you got there.
     
    #20
  21. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,361
    yes leeD, but to be able to do what you say efficiently, elegantly, and consistently you need basic strength that is beyond everyday walking and simple running. most people don't have enough of this. so it's a good starting point. then you think about coordinating the feet so you can get to the ball with the feet set in the correct rhythm. as simple as footwork sounds it's difficult to do what you're told. there are many steps to get to that level. you wouldn't tell a beginner to just stand on the board to surf would you?
     
    #21
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    True dat, but....
    Jumping up and down, hippity hop, is NOT the best way to move towards a spot the ball is also headed towards.
    The BigCat glided.
    JohanKriek bull rushed.
    JimmyConnors crouched and moved his feet really fast.
    McEnroe sauntered over to the ball.
    Dr.Ivo somehow get's close, but uses his reach more than anything.
    Hewitt is both trained and a natural.
    They all move DIFFERENTLY.
     
    #22
  23. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,182
    Hey guys

    Will Hamilton shows that you could train crossing steps with a treadmill.
    Then, there's another video of him and another dude demo'ing various steps to hit when you move forward, back, sideway, etc.

    Those instructions were awesome, enough to give me great results at the courts. :)
     
    #23
  24. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    wow! that was really helpful! i'm sure OP now knows what to do to improve his footwork.

    let me guess. your next bit of advice on how to improve footwork. Just Do It! ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
    #24
  25. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    4,829
    i think this is the video you are referring to.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5CWAwtijVI
     
    #25
  26. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,027
    Actually, people who are very athletic are the hardest to train.
    Reason, they are to fast for there own good.
     
    #26
  27. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    BINGO!
    Guys I know who are truly quick on their feet don't take training for movement seriously, so often have inferior movement to guys who WORKED at it, even with not naturally gifted.
     
    #27
  28. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    675
    A friend gave me a couple of pointers:

    1. Don't let your heels touch the ground (another huge similarity between tennis & kungfu)

    2. Aim to pause between being ready to hit the ball and actually starting the stroke. I found this brings me more focus to the movement so I'm a bit faster to the ball.
     
    #28
  29. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    No2 is excellent advice. Get shoulders turned, then wait for the ball.
    No1 is reserved for the young, ambitious, trained, and uninjured.
     
    #29
  30. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    675
    Still something for the rest to work towards ;)
     
    #30
  31. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    NOPE, because you will never be an A/Open level player..5.5, and certainly not better than that.
    Think of REALITY. Most of you will only get to 4.5, a good recreational playground level, but that's all. And at that level, you will be competing against old farts who can barely run, who seldom "get's on their toes", who's heels are in contact most of the time.
    BeBopping around like you're in a college tennis audition will just tire you out, injure you body, and waste all the precious energy you can conjure up.
    Look at pro tennis. Their heels hit the ground between every point, and almost always when they are driving the ball.
     
    #31
  32. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    675
    You're being slightly pendantic :)

    I aspire to not having my heels touching the ground until I get to the ball and am paused to hit it. Then I want to be as anchored as possible (IE flat feet) to hit the ball, after which point I want to be back on the move.
     
    #32
  33. 3fees

    3fees Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,033
    Location:
    NorCal
    focus on moving around the tennis court using small steps and adjust to the flight of the ball with even smaller steps with back straight.

    Horses-trotters are trained with restraint belts so that there leg and hoof placements while running are consistent, that is they don't over step there stride and get "off balance" resulting in power loss, center of gravity imbalance ect.

    Want some oats ?

    :mrgreen:
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
    #33
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    BINGO! Small quick steps, heel touching don't matter in the least.
    LOOK at pro ATP tennis. Are they ALWAYS on the balls of their feet? NOPE.
    Often they are up on the balls of their feet, but also, quite often, they put the whole foot down on the ground.
     
    #34
  35. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,361
    changing direction is done best with a push from a heel. quick direction change on your balls=fast track to ankle roll over. just don't do it. quick small steps have their place but big confident stride involving heel to toe weight transfer can give you better rhythm and better coordination with upperbody as well resulting in much more solid swing. for general balance it's much better to master good heel use before starting to incorporate balls of the feet than not being surefooted on the heels.
     
    #35
  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,323
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Small steps for initial movement, if the ball is farther away, big steps to cover the ground, then small steps for minute adjustment as you arrive to your strikezone.
     
    #36

Share This Page