Optimal Footwork, Step Patterns??

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by user92626, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I don't know why I feel I'm very slow to get to shots hit to my FH side!

    Let's say I am at the center mark, I hop/split step as my opponent hits to my fh corner requiring me to move laterally, which foot should push as the first step? Is there an optimal pattern?
     
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  2. I dont follow any specific tennis footwork, I just move naturally. I have been watching tennis pros for years so I have subconciously learned footwork patterns. ie moving in for short balls, cross steps for inside out forehand or whatever.

    Is there a problem with never actually learning footwork/step patterns?

    I just learned how to move better as I grew older. My body tells me the fastest way to get to the ball naturally, cross steps or sprint or whatever.
     
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  3. I do know this though so take note.

    After you split step the fastest way to get to the ball is as follows.
    If ball is on right side of you and you split step the first foot to move off the ground at moment of impact after split is the LEFT foot.

    If the ball is on your left side at moment of impact after split you should move your right leg.

    Also remember this is the fastest way to get to balls when returning!

    If ball is on right side move left leg if ball is on left side of body move your right leg.
     
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  4. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    Crossover step with the left foot. Last step before contact should be with the right foot, so you can pivot into the shot and recover more easily.
     
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  5. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    If you need to be on a dead run to even get to the ball, try this. Pivot and at the same time bring your right foot in. And then push off on your right foot. That is the fastest way IMO.

    http://www.essentialtennisinstruction.com/moving-to-the-ball-turn-and-go/

    I seem to recall the serve doctor (Pat Dougherty) saying the same thing. I am sure he has a youtube video on it.

    Harry
     
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  6. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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  7. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    So, coming out of a split step the first foot to move is the crossover foot, correct?

    I tend to swing with my weight planted on the left foot (I'm lefty). So somehow I need to arrive with that foot as the last step!
     
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  8. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

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    In a nutshell, yes. Since you're a lefty, cross over with the right foot and arrive with the left. Tight Lines is talking about something called the drop or gravity step, which can work as well or better than the crossover step but is more complicated. I would recommend sticking to the crossover step for now, but you can give the drop step a go if you like.
     
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  9. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    If you have to move far, a drop step is the optimal first movement. For example, I'm right handed and I want to move to the right (my forehand). As I'm dropping down toward the ground out of the split step (assuming I've read the ball in the air), I'll land on my left foot which will start pushing me to the right as my right foot drops under the center of gravity and allows me to start running to the right. My left leg will then cross over.

    If you have more time and the ball is close you can sometimes just shuffle to the right or do a small cross over step.
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Pretty good. This one has more action.

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

    Whether my footwork was optimal or not, I used to follow only one pattern very consistently which was always planting the back foot and hitting off of it. Hitting felt very easy.

    The above video shows some very advanced and optimal movements. At first the walking step makes me feel like hitting off foot, but after a while it feels very efficient.
     
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  11. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I'm a righty and if moving fast to my right...I lift my right foot and push with my left for a quick 1st step before crossing over. That right foot move is short and more of a slide and pivot sometimes. Since it seemed others are telling you the opposite, I watched several games of Fed against Murray. Each time I saw him pushed to cover ground quick, he did it as I explained. I'll look into this more. Is this what some call a gravity step?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
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  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    You made me go and look up youtube :)

    Does this guy have a particular pattern on his FH and BH side or it's all random?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lK09iYdhJs

    It seems like he just hits off whichever foot the timing of his shot dictates :)
     
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  13. Tight Lines

    Tight Lines Semi-Pro

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    Look at the one forehand hit at 0:28 when he is being pulled wide. He is doing the drop step/gravity turn.

    Harry
     
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  14. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Imo the key is there are many variations and situations. Often you can anticipate your move as you settle in on your split step and already have the weight shifted and ready for your move. Also most of those in the vid don't require fast or far movement.

    0:10 secs was an excellent example of what I'm stating. I think it is a serve rtn, where His split is deep, balanced and strong, looking like the situation you asked about initially. Left leg starts to push as the right foot lifts slightly and the hips and body pivot as the right foot step out. Imo, this is for the strongest, fastest move to the right and how we did it as a running back in football.
     
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  15. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree. There he is using a variation of moving the rt foot first. Seems he sort of steps out with the right to get his wt in that direction, but then the rt foot doesn't quite hit the ground till it's lost ground and actually seems to touch closer to the left foot it had moved or started. Maybe that is what is called as a drop step.
     
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  16. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    i move naturally too i react quickly and get to every ball while taking efficient steps. i never really learned "patterns" but while playing a ton a tennis while moving naturally, my footwork got really good/effecient
     
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  17. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    pay attention to your footwork and balance AFTER you hit your shot. This will aid your recovery greatly.
     
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  18. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral Professional

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    Let's start with this. Maybe you're just painting the picture for us, but the center mark is not typically the proper recovery position.

    Take a look at the two diagrams below (sorry, it's for Righty's, just invert it). If your opponent is going to have to hit an outside FH, then you FH recovery looks about like this, depending on the angle you give him:

    [​IMG]

    In the above, you have to cover the same distance for the FH angle, and the COD DTL shot. If you recover to the center mark--given the same scenario--now you've given yourself a situation ripe with potential disaster. Check it out:

    [​IMG]

    In this instance, you're covering the COD DTL shot which is a lower percentage shot. The more likely shot is CC, and you could be a full step or more short if it's a good angle.

    The recovery positions all depend on where your opponent is likely to have to hit the ball, and based on his playing patterns, the shot he is most likely to hit. Sometimes people will purposefully recover to the "wrong" positions because they are "cheating" (as it is sometimes called). They've read their opponent to the point where they are willing to gamble with their court positioning in order to get an inside ball.

    Oh, shoot ... but to answer your question about the lead foot: If I have to run down a ball, then I split > full turn > run. The turn / run dynamic is something you've been doing since you were a tiny child. Don't over think it. You really just need to cover the max amount of ground in the shortest period of time possible. In other words: just run!
     
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  19. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Nice diagrams, TimeS

    That's what I initially thought also. Just run. But since asking my question I have figured out my problem and the solution I need!!!

    It's not that i'm not fast enough or don't know the best coverage spot. My problem was that I was too rigid and one dimensional with my hitting stance*, meaning, I used only one stance to hit and if I didn't arrive at the same step I'd need adjustment (ie slowing down) or to hit off foot (ie feel weaken). I'm going to start hitting with more stands and different movement directions.

    (*It makes sense because I had had a lot of success being consistent though it only worked against average hitter. So never had the need for more. I start to play with better guys now...)

    Thanks, everyone
     
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  20. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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  21. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    As a general rule after the split step, the foot nearest the ball moves first (stepping out and turning the foot), followed by the cross-over step. This opens up the hip to the direction of travel and allows a faster transition. Some elite players will factor this move into their split step and land with the foot turned and the hip open.
     
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  22. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Thanks, ASh

    That makes a lot of sense. The nearest foot has to turn to open up the hip.

    For me I can always tell when I play well when I feel I arrive at my hitting stand with the correct (left) foot.

    That's incredible, and a little dangerous for rec players like me, I would think. I prefer to land evenly for safety reason. But I understand the edge...
     
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  23. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    The first thing is you want to split step when they make contact. So you are already late right off the bat. You wont know where the ball is going until you land if you do it right.

    Next,the first step in modern tennis would be to step out with the Right foot if you are a righty and hitting a forehand.
     
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  24. Open stance hitting on forehand?
    It is not dangerous
     
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  25. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ No, that's not what user92 was saying - re-read my post and then his reply.
     
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  26. He is arriving at hitting stance with correct left foot?
    Left foot is correct in may many different positions. Open stance closed, semi open.

    Btw, it has been proven that the fastest way to move is for the first step to be the crossover.

    I watched a video about returning and someone form bolleteiri academy timed the the fastest way for the player to move out to return a serve.

    Split, then crossover step.
     
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  27. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ No, that's not what we were discussing - user92 was asserting that landing the split with the hips open to the intended direction of travel would be difficult (and dangerous for a rec player) - nothing to do with hitting stances.

    Also, it is not proven that a crossover step is proven to be the fastest way to reach a wide ball - the drop step/gravity step is 52% more efficient in tests in reaching and controlling a wide ball than the jab/pivot step (as described by me), which in turn is more efficient that a straight crossover.

    For a rec player the jab step is the easiest to learn and therefore a quick win in terms of increasing ability to cover the wide ball, which I why i suggested it to the OP in advance of the grav step.
     
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  28. Example wide forehand
    So you are saying the fastest is split>land>move right foot first> crossover step with left foot and continue running

    is faster than split>land with right foot pointing to the right>push off right leg and begin as left leg comes over for crossover step and continue running?

    I just dont see it.

    This is perfect movement footwork by Murray exactly how I describe as the fastest way to move. Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaRBVUdEpnY
     
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  29. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    no, I am saying a drop/grav step after the split is faster. In your second example you are including the pivot step into the split - which is what I described earlier and user92 was describing as difficult/dangerous for him to try. Most players don't/can't land their split step with the pivot incorporated, so for them a jab step may be the most efficient. If you can include the pivot into your split step, then a drop/gravity step followed by a crossover is without doubt the most efficient.

    In your Murray video the first few his is worning wide, byt there is no split and then he is working on footwork for return of serve, which is different - Jez likes the powerstep for the return of serve as a way of quickly re-establishing balance and iding recovery.
     
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  30. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    This video shows this lefty dude times his landing simultaneously with the left foot turning and hip opening to his running (FH) direction. First action in the vid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IG2lxmNZLU

    IMO, split stepping is already tiring and applied less at recreational level. Now we're talking about split stepping and anticipating and bolting at the same time. When your knees like jello, you're asking for trouble. :)
     
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  31. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    thanks, didn't have ref, but thought this was best and what I do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
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  32. RetroSpin

    RetroSpin Hall of Fame

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    Could you explain what you mean by a "drop/grav step?" Is it different from what Nadal is doing in the video, ie turning his foot as he lands? And by "jab step", do you mean the initial step by the ball side foot? Thanks.
     
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  33. Ash_Smith

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    ^^^a "drop/gravity step" is where the foot nearest to the intended direction of travel moves underneath the body (as opposed to stepping away from the body), thus creating a dynamic imbalance toward the direction of travel.

    A "jab step" is where the foot nearest the intended direction of travel steps out, away from the body.

    If Nadal is turning his foot as he lands his split (I haven't watched the video), then he is performing a "pivot step"

    Hope that makes sense?
     
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  34. RetroSpin

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    It does make perfect sense. Thanks. I never really thought about it at that level of detail.
     
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