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How to Improve Tennis Footwork

Let tennis pros Joe Perez and Kirk Moritz teach you how to improve your tennis footwork in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Kirk: Alright, footwork is a very important part of being a tennis player. You see how big this tennis court is. You have to be able to get to the four corners of this court effectively to be a good tennis player.

How do you move on the court? Do you take the biggest steps you can take, or should you take more economical steps? We think the steps should be economical in size - quick, moderate sized steps. This way if you're on the run, you're running into the ball, you're less likely to actually jam yourself. The small steps are way more precise than big steps. You see a lot of inexperienced players taking big steps and bumping into themselves.

Prior to even taking a step, though, remember your fundamentals. Ready position to start. See which side that ball's coming. It's turn, quick little steps, take your swing, and then you come back with a sidestepping motion. Because you don't know whether the player's going to hit the ball to your left or to your right.

A: Good. I think that footwork in tennis, of course, is vital. Because without footwork you can't be balanced. You can't get set to hit the shot. Also, Kirk mentioned that you want to take small to moderate steps, because if you're taking big steps you're off balance and you're in the air. You want to have a low center of gravity. So, footwork, small steps, gives you that low center of gravity and that balance that you need.

Also, Kirk mentioned right near the end that it's not just running, but it's also what we call straddling. That is, when you recover from running for a shot you want to straddle. You don't want to turn and run, because the player can what we call wrong foot you or hit the ball behind you and it takes too long to turn around and get it. So, you want to learn to straddle.

You want to learn to take small to moderate steps. How do you do that? Well, you can play a lot of tennis and have your coach teach you. You can also go out and buy a jumprope. A jumprope keeps you on your toes and teaches you how to make small steps. They also have a variety of items that you can purchase like what we call a flat ladder which is a ladder made out of plastic, and you do a lot of footwork drills. You may have seen football players do these drills with ropes or tires. All those kinds of exercises that you do in a gym will help you on the tennis court.

Kirk: If you can't move you better be a big hitter, because you've got to hit a lot of winners.

A: That's right.

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