Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by TennisProdigy, Apr 7, 2008.
Learn to anticipate the balls path as soon as it leaves the opponent's racquet.
Ball recognition goes a long way, however, your ball recgonition needs to be incorporated with your first few and most important steps. The split-step is perhaps the most important footwork element in helping you read the ball off the strings and begin your movement to the bounce before the ball crosses over the net.
Most players do not have a "get-it-going" move to the ball until it is well over the net and then they react.
The split-step, good footwork patterns, along with a cadence for timing your stroke like HIT-BOUNCE-HIT can make a dramatic improvement in how you get to balls on time the majority of the time.
Run....as fast as you can...
Cutting off angles is also important. Too many people make retrieving a ball nearly impossible by running back with the ball, and not aggressively moving toward the ball.
Look at fed's court position as he steps in, takes the ball on the rise to cut off the angle.
Other things to note is running fast to the ball, preparation of the shot with your feet. You will often see good players move fast to the ball but then the last 2-3 steps are so critical in firing off a good shot. Watch Fed's back foot in this video. You will see him step out a tiny bit, push in to the court with his rear foot to change some of his momentum, and plant his lead foot solidly to have a stable platform to swing.
One thing I learnt is that you are not trying to cover all possible shots, but all likely shots that your opponent is capable of making. For example, if you know your opponent cannot hit a backhand down the line shot off a slice, then you can eliminate that part of the court and lean to the other side. It really depends on the ability and tendency of your opponent. Or you can dare him to hit a certain low percentage shot.
that's a good point, hewitt's positioning against players like Tim Henamn is a good example of that.
Yes, split steps, court position, and simply predicting what shot your opponent could hit are all good ways to increase court coverage.
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