Split-steps too late

ChimpChimp

Semi-Pro
I know I should be in the air when the opponent hits the ball. My problem is I'm so afraid of jumping too early so that the jump becomes useless, that in the end I jump too late. I saw from videos that I left the ground slightly after the contact. What I was thinking was that "don't jump yet don't jump yet, hey he is about to hit, Iet me jump", but the "let me jump" took time from pushing the ground to leaving it, and in this period the opponent has hit the ball. Any tips to jump earlier while not being worried of too early?
 

Fintft

Legend
Bounce all the time. Practice for it: i.e can you jump on matress for the length of two tunes, or 1000 times in raw?

Or if you insist on ss, jump just a small hop.Btw you are supposed to inhale at the same time:)
 
D

Deleted member 776614

Guest
My approach was to not think about when to jump, but when to land. Somehow it helped with my timing. I was having the same issue.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@ChimpChimp (from another thread):

One variation of the regular SS hop is something I call a no-hop SS. It is not quite as good as a regular SS but it is better than performing the SS too late or not performing it at all. For the no-hop SS you are quickly lowering your body, sinking (or bending your knees) as soon as you hear or see the contact. When do you perform this sinking, your legs should already be solder with the park or wider. Quickly bend your knees and get your weight off your heals so that it is on the balls of your feet. This no-hop SS is often used by older (geriatric) players or players who are significantly overweight. (It is sometimes used in badminton when players don't have quite enough time to employ a regular SS).
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
For a regular SS (with a hop):
I know I should be in the air when the opponent hits the ball. My problem is I'm so afraid of jumping too early so that the jump becomes useless, that in the end I jump too late. I saw from videos that I left the ground slightly after the contact. What I was thinking was that "don't jump yet don't jump yet, hey he is about to hit, Iet me jump", but the "let me jump" took time from pushing the ground to leaving it, and in this period the opponent has hit the ball. Any tips to jump earlier while not being worried of too early?
Focus intently on the forward swing. Or the upward swing for serves. Do not start your SS hop until after that part of the motion has started. If you are properly watching your opponent strike the ball, this part of their motion should be readily observable.

Try practicing the timing with a partner. Have them perform numerous shadow swings for groundstrokes and for serves. Able to pick up the timing if you were looking at the proper part of their motion. Next have your partner perform easy drop-hit strokes. Stand next to them or somewhere else where you are not tempted to return their shots.

Without the distraction of having to return shots, it should be easier to figure out the proper timing. You can also practice the timing by yourself. While practicing your serves or sell-fed groundstrokes, closely watch your shot bounce and then rise. Initiate a SS hop either when the ball is at the peak of its bounce or shortly before the second bounce. Alternately, perform your SS as the ball is about to cross the opposite baseline.

You can also practice your SS timing while watching high level players rallying or playing. Stand behind the court or off to the side. Focus on the strokes of one of the players. Practice your SS timing by is syncing up to their swings. Try to notice if hop timing is the same as the (non-hitting) opponent. Are you landing at the same time? Or do you hear a difference in the time they land and when you land?
 

ChimpChimp

Semi-Pro
@ChimpChimp (from another thread):

One variation of the regular SS hop is something I call a no-hop SS. It is not quite as good as a regular SS but it is better than performing the SS too late or not performing it at all. For the no-hop SS you are quickly lowering your body, sinking (or bending your knees) as soon as you hear or see the contact. When do you perform this sinking, your legs should already be solder with the park or wider. Quickly bend your knees and get your weight off your heals so that it is on the balls of your feet. This no-hop SS is often used by older (geriatric) players or players who are significantly overweight. (It is sometimes used in badminton when players don't have quite enough time to employ a regular SS).
I do this when I'm lazy or tired or believing having insufficient time to hop. Later when watching videos I don't see me moving at all. I may be cheating to myself on court.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I do this when I'm lazy or tired or believing having insufficient time to hop. Later when watching videos I don't see me moving at all. I may be cheating to myself on court.
The no-hop SS can still be quite effective even though it won't use the stretch shortening cycle (of the muscles) quite as dynamically or effectively. The no-hop SS, altho slightly later, still has an associated timing aspect to it. It is not a haphazard movement

Ironically, a normal SS, if performed regularly should become invigorating rather than tiring. If you are tiring that easily there might be something wrong with your endurance. Note that the stamina needs for tennis includes both the aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic conditioning. Interval training can help with the latter.

When feeling tired or sluggish it actually helps to move more rather than less. This is counterintuitive to some players. By performing ready steps and split steps and other actions, a tired player can elevate their heart rate and get their adrenaline flowing to push past the sluggishness

Ready steps:
 

nyta2

Professional
side note, just to add even complexity to the "hop",... to the me a perfectly timed "split step" does not land on both feet... it lands on single leg because you're already decided the direction you will be going... so the gravity "drop" from the "hop" accelerates you even faster in the direction you choose. main reason (to me) why a hop is superior to the no hop ss (but a no hop ss is superior to no ss at all)


that said i'm probably only like 30% successfuly getting a "perfect" split step... or if "split step" means landing on 2 feet, then a split step is actually a "late" gravity step (which is what i'm actually always striving for)
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Joe Garfield
side note, just to add even complexity to the "hop",... to the me a perfectly timed "split step" does not land on both feet... it lands on single leg because you're already decided the direction you will be going... so the gravity "drop" from the "hop" accelerates you even faster in the direction you choose. main reason (to me) why a hop is superior to the no hop ss (but a no hop ss is superior to no ss at all)...

that said i'm probably only like 30% successfuly getting a "perfect" split step... or if "split step" means landing on 2 feet, then a split step is actually a "late" gravity step (which is what i'm actually always striving for)
The difference between a good 2-footed landing and a "perfectly-timed" 1-footed landing is a very brief fraction of a second. Note that a 1-footed landing can also be a sign of a late SS rather than a perfectly-timed one.

This is one reason that novice and intermediate players are initially taught a neutral 2-footed landing rather than a 1-footed landing. Even the pros sometimes sometimes land 2-footed rather than on 1. The 1-footed landing can be taught at a later time as a refinement for a quicker movement to the ball. But often players will develop this timing adjustment on their own.

If students are frequently landing two-footed, too early, or 1-footed, but too late, then we will work on the timing for a while until they are landing either one-footed or two-footed at a more appropriate time.

 

Fintft

Legend
@ChimpChimp (from another thread):

One variation of the regular SS hop is something I call a no-hop SS. It is not quite as good as a regular SS but it is better than performing the SS too late or not performing it at all. For the no-hop SS you are quickly lowering your body, sinking (or bending your knees) as soon as you hear or see the contact. When do you perform this sinking, your legs should already be solder with the park or wider. Quickly bend your knees and get your weight off your heals so that it is on the balls of your feet. This no-hop SS is often used by older (geriatric) players or players who are significantly overweight. (It is sometimes used in badminton when players don't have quite enough time to employ a regular SS).
Or a small hop
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
I always tried to land when the opponent makes contact because in real-time, that's what it appeared to me that pros are doing. Slow-motion analysis shows that pros are actually landing slightly later, but it's like, 4-6 frames (~0.2 sec) and I never video analyzed myself to see if I'm actually landing a little later than I think I am, and I'm not about to try to nitpick the difference between "at contact" and 0.2 seconds later.
 

Slicerman

Semi-Pro
The split step is a pretty important technique in tennis. It could mean the difference between being position to hit a clean winner, or just barely getting to a ball to block it back.

I feel like the split step can't be forced or else it could become useless, it needs to be natural and also flows together with your overall court movement. My way of thinking of SS is that it needs to be somewhat reactive and combined with your normal walking/running steps, it changes with each situation, it needs to be dynamic. I don't believe in using the same method of SS for every situation. For example, if you're running along the baseline in the middle of a step then the SS in this situation is basically turning the feet in mid-air before your feet land. Another example is the anticipation SS, in which you anticipate the direction of the ball early so you only need to land on a single foot which allows you to push off in the opposite direction. The best form of SS has some direction in mind. Just jumping up and down on the same spot doesn't really help. However another situation in which you can't time yourself or anticipate is when you give your opponent a sitter with the opportunity to crush the ball, just have to plant yourself at the middle and do short little rapid hops hoping to be in time for the incoming ball. Sometimes you just have to follow your natural instinct, as if someone is just about to throw something in your face and you react by covering your face. SS is basically the same concept but using the feet. Not sure if anyone else thinks the same way, but this is my approach to SS.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I always tried to land when the opponent makes contact because in real-time, that's what it appeared to me that pros are doing. Slow-motion analysis shows that pros are actually landing slightly later, but it's like, 4-6 frames (~0.2 sec) and I never video analyzed myself to see if I'm actually landing a little later than I think I am, and I'm not about to try to nitpick the difference between "at contact" and 0.2 seconds later.
From my own observations, elite players are at the top of their hop or near the top of their hop, not at the bottom of their hop, when their opponent makes contact with a ball. Just about everything I've read or seen on this says the same thing.

Top players will land either 2-footed or, perhaps more often, 1-footed shortly after contact. If they were landing the hop as the opponent made contact, then it is highly doubtful that they never land one-footed.

Whenever I have landed early, just as the opponent is making contact, I feel like I have to wait too long in that landing position before I can pick up the direction I need to move. While it is better to land too early than too late, I believe we lose some of the explosiveness, due to the stretch shortening cycle of the leg muscles when we don't move right after landing
 

golden chicken

Hall of Fame
From my own observations, elite players are at the top of their hop or near the top of their hop, not at the bottom of their hop, when their opponent makes contact with a ball. Just about everything I've read or seen on this says the same thing.

Top players will land either 2-footed or, perhaps more often, 1-footed shortly after contact. If they were landing the hop as the opponent made contact, then it is highly doubtful that they never land one-footed.

Whenever I have landed early, just as the opponent is making contact, I feel like I have to wait too long in that landing position before I can pick up the direction I need to move. While it is better to land too early than too late, I believe we lose some of the explosiveness, due to the stretch shortening cycle of the leg muscles when we don't move right after landing
Yes, the idea, of course, is to make yourself the most explosive possible at the same instant as you recognize the direction you need to move.

As I have not done video analysis of myself, I cannot say for sure if I am actually at the apex of my hop, or landing while the ball is being struck. I just know that "landing at contact" is the cue that works best for me.

There must also be a difference between the instant the balls of the feet touch the ground and the instant your legs are loaded up and ready to spring.

Everyone should experiment for themselves to see which cue works best for them. I'm just relaying what works for me and why.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes, the idea, of course, is to make yourself the most explosive possible at the same instant as you recognize the direction you need to move.

As I have not done video analysis of myself, I cannot say for sure if I am actually at the apex of my hop, or landing while the ball is being struck. I just know that "landing at contact" is the cue that works best for me.

There must also be a difference between the instant the balls of the feet touch the ground and the instant your legs are loaded up and ready to spring.

Everyone should experiment for themselves to see which cue works best for them. I'm just relaying what works for me and why.
I had meant to include the following video in my previous thread post. Think I got distracted and forgot to include it.

 
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