Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by wfudeac, Jun 1, 2005.
Right before your opponent hits, or after they hit the ball and you know which side it's going to?
Well, for some reason I can split step easier with one foot, and so I do so right before they hit it when I look at their shoulder.
Shoulders parallel to net = crosscourt
Shoulders perpendicular to net = Down the line
I usually split step after my opponent hits the ball on contact.
The purpose of the split step is to get the body ready to react to the incoming shot (here comes the key phrase) *as soon* as you comprehend where the ball is coming.
Thus, your goal should be to get as close to the ideal on-court position as possible before split stepping, while still being sure to split step before that moment when you know where the ball is going.
Ideally, you want to be able to read your opponent even before he strikes the ball. If you're someone who can, or are playing an opponent who's easy to read, you should move toward your ideal position and split step BEFORE he strikes the ball. (But again, BEFORE you know where it's headed. If you're still moving at that moment of recognition, this is where you fall into the trap of being wrong-footed all the time. As a slow player, you're going to get wrong-footed plenty anyway, but time your split so as to have it happen as little as possible.)
If you have typical reflexes, you can probably read the direction just after the opponent strikes the ball. In that case, move toward your ideal position and time your split step AS he strikes the ball. (So you're ready to move the instant you recognize where he's hitting.)
If you have slow reflexes, and never seem to know where the ball's going till it's well on the way -- well, first of all, you need to work on your recognition and quickness -- but then it still pays to spend the time you just don't know where it's going moving to your ideal spot, then split step just AFTER he contacts the ball.
The goal, no matter how good your reflexes, should be to use the time between shots to get yourself in good position to handle most possible replies, and to get yourself ready via split-step at exactly the moment you NEED to in order to lose no time reacting. The worse your reads/reflexes are, the later this moment of reaction will come, and the more it'll benefit you to worry about moving into position and playing the percentages.
Good stuff although I'f be a little concerned about waiting too long. I'm not at all sure that you have to know where the ball is going before you split step - thats the reason we split step so we CAN go in different directions. Sure you have a pretty good idea where the shot might be headed but to "wait" untill you know is probably going to make you late.
I think the most important aspect of the post is making sure you get in position first - in other words don't wait, out of position, and then split step because its not going to be effective.
Same thing applies to returning serve.
Exactly what I tried to say.
Split step at the last moment possible that allows you to be finished split stepping *just before* you are able to read the direction of the ball. You don't want to wait till you see where it's going -- that's too late. But you do want to wait as long as possible BEFORE that moment, because...
1) That gives you the best chance to get yourself to the ideal spot on the court before you split, and
2) Part of why we split-step is to get ourselves ready to strike. By waiting till that last moment before we see which direction to go, we are up on the balls of our feet, crouched slightly, and ready to explode the correct direction immediately.
Sorry if that was unclear. What you took as "waiting to long," I think, was me making allowances for those people with slower reaction times. For most people, you SURELY don't want to wait till the opponent has just hit the ball before split stepping. That'll put you at a disadvantage. But if you're so slow in reaction that you never know where it's going till it's coming over the net (and those people ARE out there), THEN you should delay your split slightly. Your time is better used getting yourself into position to play the odds than it would be standing around flat-footed, in that case. Still, the rule remains the same, even for the chronically slow: split at the last possible moment that will let you already be up on the balls of your feet and ready at the moment you know where it's going.
I try to split step exactly at the moment of contact.
JUST before your opponent hits. If you know which way you're going you defeat the purpose of the split step.
OK, sounds better.
Like what MegacedU said in his post.
all the pros tell me that a good split step should have your toes land right when your opponent makes contact with the ball. not after, not before. so you hop before before your opponent hit, land at the same time as your opponent makes contact.
Her, haha, I'm a girl but yeah just before your opponent hits is perfect.
I agree with DonnyZ, and try to teach my kids the same way...
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