question on split step technique

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by bostontennis, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. bostontennis

    bostontennis New User

    Feb 28, 2011
    I am recreational level player, about 3.5-4.0. what split step time should i have?

    many coaching materials say i should do split step at opponents contact of ball. when my opponent hit the ball, i should be in the air. the problem is that after he hits the ball, i land. since i jump and i don't have stable reference to judge the ball's incoming direction/projectory, i lost more time to run to the ball. if i do ss before opponent's contact, i would be bend my knees and weight on toes at my opponent's contact, it's good to judge the incoming ball. however i may get my leg stiff and hard to explode to run.

    any tips/insights on this?
  2. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

    Sep 21, 2009
    Toronto Canada
    My own thinking is that you should split step such that by the time you land and load the appropriate muscle response you have a very good idea of where to direct that muscle response.

    To those with excellent anticipation, they can split much earlier.

    So experiment.
  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Dec 28, 2008
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    The the SS is to allow you to react to EITHER left or right, in balance, upon landing. Landing automatically bends your knees, which raises your heels, which put you into a reactive position, with a modicum of timing for anticipation.
    You can mimick the SS with a static wide feet ready stance, which is a hair slower to react, but gives you better overall balance.
    Shortstops do not SS, neither do 3rd basemen, boxers, or most karate guys. The constant hopping is to keep them mentally UP and ready.
  4. Bedrock

    Bedrock Semi-Pro

    Aug 16, 2010
    Ideally your feet have just land at your opponent's contact. Otherwise either you landing too late you lose time or landing to soon lose a momentum.
    The SS timing usually comes naturally after awhile during long rally.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  5. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

    Mar 24, 2010
    My understanding of the split step for infielders and tennis was that you would have a slight hop just before contact and then as you are landing you should know which direction you need to move and can open your stance in the appropriate direction mid-air. Thereby making your first step quicker.

    From fuzzy yellow balls

    The split step is one of the most important techniques in tenins. It allows you to move explosively around the court in any direction. This is critical when you only have a second or two to get to the tennis ball.

    Technically, the split step is just a small hop you take. It's not very difficult to master. However, the timing of the split step is a little bit more tricky. You want to be landing -- and at your most explosive -- at the instant you realize where the tennis ball is going. This means you start your split step as your opponent swings up to the tennis ball.
  6. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Apr 4, 2008
    being in the air at contact means you know where the ball is going when you are in the air!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    there are videos of players moving their feet as they come down ready to launch in the direction they need to go

    DTSCDS New User

    Dec 27, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    As a 3.0 player I barely know what a split step is, much less being in a position to instruct anyone in it's art. My way of thinking--coming at this from other sports--is you would rather be on the late side than early.

    Most of the instruction I have seen says to time your split step AS they opponent makes contact. Most videos I have seen of better players it seems they are still in the air, or even just beginning their split step, as the opponent makes contact. It would seem that you are losing valuable fractions of a second by being airborne WHILE the ball is coming your way. However, you have to figure in your reaction time.

    You cannot INSTANTLY begin to move AS the ball is struck--it takes a fraction of a second for you to process which way to move.
    I believe that by being in the air as the ball is struck you would hit the court--when you are most explosive--at about the same time your brain has made the decision which way to go. If you are a fraction of a second late on your split step you could begin to shift your weight and begin your movement while you are still in the air. If you split step too early you have lost your explosive-ness before you can begin your move to the ball.
  8. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    This is the right answer, but the followup question is how to apply it to your game (so that you are balanced to explode toward the ball as soon as you can read the ball). For me, I am taking a short hop when the ball bounces so I land about when the opponent makes contact and I get a little time to adjust.

    Another note is that I need to jump step sooner for S&V/ at the net so that I have enough time to react to the opponent.
  9. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

    Feb 21, 2007
    What they all said...

    ...a split step is kind of like a pole plant in skiing. A pole plant signals the edge change, so a well timed pole plant helps to create a crisp, early turn initiation. A late pole plant usually means a late turn skip the pole plant until you get the timing wired and it can help, not hurt, you.

    Split step is kind of similar. If you time it right, it can help you to react to a ball hit to either side. If you time it wrong, you can be doing a great Energizer Bunny routine as your opponent's shot sails by you. One of the things I think helps with the split step is to keep it simple, quick, and light. A good drill is to go play some hop scotch, where you've got one of those hopscotch squares where you do the one foot, other foot, both feet pattern. The idea of hopscotch is to beat everybody else's time through the square, and to do so, you have to be quick, light, and balanced...
  10. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Aug 30, 2010
    It's always been my understanding that you never actually leaving the ground off a split step, (A cross over from when I competed nationally in TaeKwonDo.) I was always taught that when you split step, it's only a slight bounce on the balls of your feet to get your muscles prepped and ready to react as fast as humanly possible for the situation. (Being flat footed usually meant an injury was on its way.) This crossed over to tennis for me, and it seems to work. Honestly I'm split stepping probably 90% of the time, between when I hit my shot and when I hit my next shot.

    It's mostly just to be ready and to be loose! I also noticed, that since I play in cooler outdoor climate for a few months of the year, this helps keep you warm and prevent cramping. :)

  11. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

    Jun 15, 2007
    You split step, or get into the set position, just before your opponent hits the ball.
  12. fleabitten

    fleabitten Semi-Pro

    Mar 26, 2005
    surfing through
    This. And just keep practicing until you "get" it. Once you get the feeling, you don't have to think about it so much anymore.
  13. chatt_town

    chatt_town Hall of Fame

    Mar 17, 2010
    I think more goes into it then just split stepping. We are working with this guy here trying to teach him doubles. The guy is left handed and has a damn good serve but comes in at bad angles a lot right now. I think for starters you know your serve better than deep you can get it on a reg basis and so on. I'm not sure if you are or not but when you split step to me you should never land on your feet. You should land and bounce off your toes. As a matter of fact you should be running in on your toes and not your feet. The more you are on your feet the more time you take away from getting to the point you need to be. I also split step as they are swinging and at contact I try to be on my toes to bounce left or right. ......but that's just me. :)

  14. tennis_pr0

    tennis_pr0 Semi-Pro

    Aug 4, 2009
    First, the split step does not allow you to react, it makes you balances to your reaction will be better to the ball. The split step gives you balance, thus making you ready to react and go in any direction for the ball. The OP is correct that if you split as your opponent hits the ball, by the time you land and you will lose about a half of second with your running time. You should split the moment BEFORE your opponent hits the ball, that way once the ball leaves your opponents racquet, you have no finished the split step and are balanced, thus ready to go in any direction for the ball. Hope this helps.

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