Sometimes people ask, how can I improve my game. Many players reach a plateau where they have good swings and form and also understand the game. However, a player with good fundamental form can still struggle getting to balls or getting in the correct position to hit the ball. Without proper positioning your fundamentally sound swing can not truly reach its full potential This is where footwork comes into play. Footwork is an extremely under rated skill needed for tennis. We decided to provide 3 of our favorite footwork drills that will help enhance your game.
Grab a Ladder because we are about to climb up in tennis ranks
The first footwork drill we have for you uses an agility ladder, doing this drills will definitely help you improve foot speed. For these footwork drills you do need equipment, the agility ladder, but if you do not have one you can make boxes using a piece of chalk. Not only with the agility ladder help with foot speed, but it will improve body control. Making little steps through the ladder and then stopping and going a different direction will help you learn to control your body momentum and balance. Have fun with these ladder drills and challenge yourself to perform them well. For example, if your foot touches part of the ladder you can do push-ups as a punishment. If it is your first time using a agility ladder start of by just putting one foot in each box. Once you do one foot in each box without hitting the ladder put two feet in each box, make sure you switch which foot you step with first. Once you begin to improve using the agility ladder you can skip a box and then back track to the box you skip, basically two forward, one back.
Here are some other ladder exercises you can follow:
TennisConditioningTV. “6 Fundamental Speed Ladder Drills For Quick Foot Speed.” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 09 Aug. 2017.
The smallest things can make a difference
Split stepping improved my game immensely. Although, adding a split step into your tennis may make you feel more fatigued, but once you begin to regularly incorporate your split step into playing it will allow you to use less energy moving from ball to ball. Essentially, you want to split step when your open is about to make contact with their ball. Split stepping helps to re-balance your weight allowing you to move in any direction. So, how can we improve our footwork using the split step, well practice it. You need to consciously remind yourself to split step at first, but soon enough it will become natural. If you are a coach, the best way to teach students is to say “Split step!” as you feed the ball. If the student does not split step, do not feed it, this can be tricky because the coach needs a good reaction time.
TennisMindGame. “Tennis Split Step Timing, Execution And Drills.” YouTube. YouTube, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Aug. 2017.
Even if you hate bugs, you will not hate this spider
The spider drill is a fund footwork drill in groups because you can time players and make it into a little competition. You will need five tennis balls, you may also want to use 5 speed disk cones as well. Place a ball on each corner of the service lines and where the single lines meet the baseline. To prevent the balls from moving you can place the ball on top of one of the 5 speed disk cones. When everything is set up, have the player retrieve each ball one by one, returning the ball to the T at the center of the baseline. Once all the balls are collected they need to return the balls to the original spot. You can also make this activity into a relay race and have times collect and distribute the balls.
DailyTennisLesson. “Spider Drill | FOOTWORK DRILLS.” YouTube. YouTube, 09 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Aug. 2017.
That’s some fancy footwork…
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PlayYourCourt. “Tennis Tip: Why Your Footwork Is Killing Your Game.” PlayYourCourt. N.p., 19 June 2016. Web. 10 Aug. 2017.