How would you coach someone who has bad feet/legs?


So me was coaching mainly young girls/teenagers/children back in Queensland.
But since moving my new place of workplace.
It's near like a "rehab" place.. or for the injured recoveries.. and they have like a partnership with the tennis club?

anyway.. i am teaching a lot of people with disabilities.. some even with one hand. which apparently fun fact.. a ball toss must be done with the same hand holding the ball instead of what i was doing which was holding the ball on the racket and tossing it in the air and serving.. that motion apparently since is already touching the racket counts as a double hit. i dunno i'm still learning.

So.. this person has bunions.. which he did surgery? but the bunions came back. and he also has a muscular issue on his legs( i dunno but theres a giant scar on his legs) which tl:dr he is in pain whenever moving which makes him slow.

I told him to mainly do doubles for starters.. i've got him flat hitting.. trying to end points early.. but say 30 minutes into the lesson.. he is showing obviously issues with his legs/feet.. slow.... - flat shots stopped being powerful.. not working.. i still don't think my idea of flat hitting to end points early was wrong.. just he appears to lose concentration due to his pains which is effecting his overall performance.. flat hitting puts some toll on his legs/feet i think.

so 1. flat hitting. (not really working after 30 minutes)
2. open/semi open stance

trying to limit his movements as much as possible.. i suggested playing in a more open/semi stance.. yes footwork is super important.. but if every match is a time limit.. i want to extend the time.

3. i've got him serving very flat.. or slicing.. i felt like topspin required a fair bit of oomph from his legs/feet to be effective.

4. volleys he has trouble moving in time for the balls that aren't exactly to him. guess due he can't be on his toes. or push off with his legs.. i suggested at least for doubles.. start of points.. start at service line and then move in.. creating a form of split step preparation without the actual split step.

So from what i've wrote.. keeping in mind the most important issue of his legs/feet. as he says.. he is in pain whenever he moves.. (he loves tennis) he ain't quitting it and i don't expect him to.

before you feel bad for him having me as his coach.. he is not paying.. it's free for him.

If you had him as your customer.. what playstyle or work on what i've said/fix up what i said.. would you do? what do i change for him or do better suggestions? any experienced players or even experienced coaches.

Mountain Ghost

Have him focus on his balance (shoulders up and away from the ball) ... and a full backswing (racquet head 180 degrees away from the contact point ... across the pivotal point of the shoulder) ... and dead center racquet at ready position.

Even if his feet can't get into the perfect position ... focusing on upper body "posture" will help.

As for power coming from the bottom half ... who cares ... even old style players using strictly linear momentum had plenty of racquet head speed.

~ MG
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Hall of Fame
That’s a really interesting situation you have there. You’ll have to come back and tell us more later.

Thinking about your client it seems you should be focusing on skills that would benefit the doubles game. So I’d say have him work on serves and overheads and then returns.

As far as the net game perhaps he should just focus on hitting balls that he can get to so have him focus on stretch volleys, positioning/tactics and stab volleys. If he is able to effectively hit serves returns and easy volleys then any mobility he acquires will just make him better.


Well you do the best you can. Shorter lessons, lower impact, work in with the Physio, they can tell you what’s possible or not. Game improvement racquets, softer surfaces, appropriate footwear sharing a lesson with lesson breaks and lower intensity situations.


Talk Tennis Guru
If you only have one hand you can toss the ball with the racquet and hit it, if you have two hands then you must toss with the off hand.



OP: Not sure how flat hitting helps. Speeding up the tempo of the point doesn't seem beneficial for a bad mover.

Flat serves don't seem like a good idea either, if only because of the propensity to miss and have to hit them again. Serves are usually demanding on the feet / legs, right?

I used to play through sciatica and weak legs, which may or may not be similar, but I found feet straight ahead (semi-closed stance?), low carved-out groundstrokes with plenty of spin, and diagonal spin serves (between 1:30 and 2:00) to be the best formula for me at the time.

Also, slicing or lobbing on lateral moves and generally focusing on hitting with the shoulder were a big deal for me.

This is all coming from a place where the recovery after the shot was just as much if not more of a problem than the shot itself. Another reason why I was not comfortable with all the flat stuff.