Article  FT002                                                                                                                                                                                                        
             

How good is your footwork?

Players need to be trained and able to effectively to use strokes and the technical side of the game of tennis – However, statistics
have indicated that 70% of missed or poorly executed shots are due to poor footwork, equally it’s not necessarily how fast you are,
but how fast you are relative to the ball.

This month I am going to deal with ‘Improving Foot Speed’

In order for a player to improve foot speed, a player needs to train the following elements: starting ability, acceleration, stride rate
and stride length. These factors are common to all types of sport. It has been said that tennis is primarily a decelaration sport due
to the need to reach top speed quickly but to be able to decelerate to the ball or to recover.  As the court is only 39 feet from
baseline to the net, it indicates the need to consistently accelerate, until the decelaration required to get into position to hit the ball.
Therefore, a player must practice to improve foot speed so they can efficiently produce quick starts, acceleration and efficient
deceleration.

Every point in the game of tennis starts from a static position, therefore a player’s starting ability is crucial.

1/.  Acceleration is the ability to change the tempo of the run – to increase speed with every step.

2/.  Stride rate refers to how fast a player cycles their legs.

3/.  Stride length refers to the actual length of each stride.

The Movement Training Programme.

This is broken into four types and levels of exercises:

Improving Foot Speed

Agility

Changing Footwork Patterns

Speed Endurance.

The following exercises deal with the first type – Improving Foot Speed:

Tag Sprints

Player A sits on the baseline facing the net. Player B is standing against the back fence (note: if the distance between the two is
not sufficient then player A should be moved closer to the net). Player A’s goal is to get up and sprint to the net without being
tagged by B. Drill can be started by the Pro. Or by player A themselves.

Push-up and Catch.

Player A is in a push-up position on the baseline facing the net. Player B or the Pro. Rolls a ball between player A legs. A sprints
and catches the ball before it passes the service line. To make it more difficult, the ball rolled faster and must be caught before
it reaches the net.

Get Ups

Player is sitting on their butt and hands back on the baseline. On command GO player gets up and sprints to the net.

Jumping Rope

Several patterns can be used – this will strengthen the feet, ankles and lower legs.


 

   
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