Improving footwork

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by gplracer, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    My son is 9 years old. He turns 10 next summer. He is 5ft tall and moves reasonably well. He plays a lot of tennis and loves playing in tournaments. His footwork is the area that needs the most improvement. He works hard on the court and has his feet moving most of the time. Also, he could get a little stronger. How much at this age is appropriate when working on these areas. I am sure it is easy to do too much which could lead to injuries. Also, what would you recommend? I am sure there are some things that he could do that I am unaware of. Right now he does clinic two days a week, 30 min lesson on another day, and usually plays tennis on one or two more days.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
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  2. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I recommend enrolling him in soccer.
     
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  3. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    #3
  4. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    Hey glp... are you after footwork to set up for strokes or general agility and getting the feet moving? I like andfor's links for technical footwork. I do a lot of agility with my kids as they are tall like yours and need to get their feet moving. I do the ladder a lot, which they like, and also a lot of movement "games" without the racket.

    One of their favorites is what I call "space invaders". Have him stand on the service T with you at the net (on the same side) with a basket of balls. Hold the first 6 balls in your hands and roll them in random directions so that he has to shuffle and make them go through his legs. You'll notice on the harder ones he will cross over then shuffle, just like recovering from a shot out wide. Then take the next 6 balls and toss them so that he has to touch them on one bounce. Here, you can not only go side to side, but front and back to get him used to moving in all directions. You can start it easy and make it harder and harder. My kids love it and are getting great movement and cardio work at the same time.
     
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  5. Number1Coach

    Number1Coach Banned

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    Great idea , I would have him run stairs also low impact gets the feet light.
     
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  6. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Stairs are good. I also like plyrometrics. It's for the advanced and very committed involving depth and vertical jump exercises. I also like shadow stroking moving with the racquet and simulating hitting the ball, serves, groundstrokes and volleys. Shadow stroking is a good way to watch and correct footwork without the ball. Overall combining these with rope ladders, windsprints, rope jumping, cones and technical footwork drills certainly helps.

    Then you have to simply get your player to move for every ball at matchpoint speed in practice. Good luck.
     
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  7. superfittennis

    superfittennis New User

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    footwork

    Unless you do something systematic and for a purpose, it is going to be a crapshoot as to whether your child will improve, get injured, or stay the same. You need to implement correct form, correct order of exercises, correct choices of exercises, and correct reps and sets. A fitness for tennis program can't involve simply doing a bit of this or that.

    It is perhaps the fault of fitness trainers and tennis coaches for not getting together and then doing an appropriate job of sharing information with each other and then educating parents. Oftentimes tennis parents start understanding tennis, but fitness for tennis is a whole different ball game and it can get very confusing. :confused:
     
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  8. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    That said... any suggestions or resources? My kids are still young (under 10) so I simply try and incorporate general agility/movement and tennis specific movement into fun games. I also am consistent, which I think a lot of tennis parents aren't, in hopes it helps with their overall physical development. I realize in a few years, if and when they become more competitive, this will need to evolve into a progressive program of some form in order to be effective.
     
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  9. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    In my opinion, jump rope is the start. It is the simplest plyometric footwork tool. There are hundreds of variations, it is fun for kids and you will notice improvement in 6 weeks.
     
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  10. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    #10
  11. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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    You mean lil' Johnny is not moving his feet and lessons and you think that if you throw money at a technical issue he will miraculously find some fire in his belly?
     
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  12. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    fan drill, yoyo test, suicides. have fun
     
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  13. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Are all your posts going to be sarcastic?

    Or will you be actually offering some advice.
     
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  14. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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  15. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    You answered his question with a question which begs the question: Is that really your assessment of the situation?
     
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  16. Bendex

    Bendex Professional

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    It can be very difficult to convince people to use many little steps between shots. Look at a great boxer's footwork, you need to move like that so your mind can put your body in exactly the right place at the right time.

    You could try some unorthodox things, like have him shadow box, skip rope, generally stay bouncing on his toes for long periods of time while he does menial things around the house. A habit must be formed. :)
     
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  17. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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    It is. The kid is NINE years old and they are worrying about footwork. Kid just needs to spend more time on court... Which is normal. Any footwork that he needs can be adequately addressed through drills.
     
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  18. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Well drills are different than just playing more tennis. If you're playing using the wrong footwork, playing more tennis doesn't help the situation.
     
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  19. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    My son has never skipped rope. Tried 2 times, and gave up.

    How often should a junior skip rope a week? For how long a session?

    Thanks.
     
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  20. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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    In that case it sounds like it's a coaching issue. There's NO reason why a 9yo cannot accomplish good footwork skills through tennis. The parents are obviously interested in long-term development to even consider spending additional cash on developing footwork skills. A good developmental coach should be able to address all issues - from tactical, technical, footwork, mental, emotional...you don't need a specialist at this age..just a coach who knows what he's doing.
     
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  21. gplracer

    gplracer Professional

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    My son just started some jump rope routines. He has 5 different routines. For example left foot, then right foot, both feet, alternating feet..... He does each routine for one minute. He just started this week and does it three days a week.
     
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  22. Bendex

    Bendex Professional

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    Because leg muscles are quite tough, they can be worked more than upper body muscles. He has to listen to his body, if he skipped yesterday and his muscles are sore, he shouldn't skip again until he has healed. People heal at different rates, depending on age. Three times per week is good, if it's a routine you're after.

    Some people naturally have a bounce in their step around the court, I'm not saying skipping is essential for everyone.

    Have your child watch this video over and over, focus only on his feet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2fi2o4k7XU
     
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  23. donnymac10s

    donnymac10s Rookie

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    Best exercise there is for tennis players. Start easy and build up slowly. Make sure he is light on his feet. Land with soft knees.
     
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