Article  FT003                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Different footwork steps ?

One of my subscribers asked some questions concerning different footwork steps and I am copying my reply:

'Hi .......,

Thanks for your email and your questions.

There are many different aspects to footwork and the best steps to use in varying situations. I note that you have subscribed to my
newsletter and will address  different aspects of footwork in future issues.

However, dealing with your initial questions, as you state that your an intermedite player, and you do not say whether you have a
coach or not, I would advise that a good coach would take you through various footwork steps as you progressed.

At this stage I am just going to deal with the points that you have raised, however, one of the most important points is that at all stages
of your tennis, whether hitting a ball, changing direction, during the split step it is of the utmost importance to be completely balanced
and in an athletic stance with the knees slightly bent.

The Mogul step This is quite an advanced movement  and can be used for the recovery from any situation, when you find the weight is
on the outside foot and leg with the gravity pushing your body away from the direction you wish to change to. The movement is to change
the centre of gravity by moving the foot on the inside by way of a slight jump so that it is directly under the body, this changes the gravity
to the opposite direction, i.e. the direction you now wish to move to.

This step is generally only required when the player finds themselves in the position mentioned. In general at club level of play the
player, after striking the ball having moved to the left or right should immediately push back into the court from the outside foot, starting
with a cross over step.

What has to be realised is (as mentioned above) how the body is balanced after hitting the ball, this will vary depending on how fast you
had to go to get to the ball, how much you need to de-accelerate, if you have come to a complete halt etc, etc.,

It is advisable to practise footwork during your training periods.

Do you kick back from the outside foot?

There is conflicting opinions within the coaching community as to how you should move in order to get the best and possibly the quickest
recovery to the recovery position, and/or how to move off the spot to get to a ball in the fastest possible time.

The differing opinions are whether to do a cross-over step as the first move, a drop step or a kick back much depends on how fast you
need to move to arrive at the ball in good time. As you may well appreciate, the drop shot, when you are at the back of the court, requires
the most explosive reaction and it is imperative to get away as quickly as possible from the split-step.

I have tested all of the variations, and found that the kick-off from the outside foot or the foot furthest away from the direction in which
you wish to go, is the slowest but this does of course depend how far you need to travel to the ball. There is very little difference between
a drop-step and a kick-back, the latter to my mind has the advantage and I personally favour this method and teach it to all my students,
the reason I favour it is because I am also a basketball coach and this is the more favoured method to get past your opponent.

Try them both out with a friend timing you over a short distance and see which you favour.

The Power Step.

This really is hardly a step as such it is referred to when a player has to run hard for a ball, particularly to the side of the court and does
not stop but runs through the shot the hit then has to be a winning POWER shot as there is no return from this.

I hope this answers your queries for the time being and I will elaborate on different types of footwork in the newsletters.