The importance of footwork is seriously undermined in amateur and intermediate Tennis. Of course, the pros know that tennis is a game of footwork, and without quick feet, you aren’t going to get very far.
Luckily, tennis footwork can be drastically improved through repetitive, specially-designed exercises and drills. And if you’re looking to up your game, it’s imperative that you focus on your footwork. Here are a few drills to help you out.
1) Skipping Drills
Jump rope, better known as skipping, is an effective way to improve your reaction time, heighten your reflexes, and enhance your footwork.
It may be difficult at first, but with regular practice, jumping rope starts to get a lot easier. Just be sure to skip on a hard surface so that the exercise helps to tone your entire body. When you first try this exercise, try it on grass, as it is both stable and soft.
You can start by skipping for 30 seconds, taking a 10-second break, and skipping for 30 seconds again. Once you get the hang of it, gradually increase your practice time; push yourself but don’t strain too much.
2) Split Step Drills
This is perhaps one of the most common footwork techniques used by tennis players the world over. This drill will help to improve your anticipation capability, allowing you to more easily predict where an opponent will hit the ball.
To start, stand at the center of the court with your legs a little more than shoulder width apart. Imagine there is an opponent on the other side of the court, and jump as soon as your imaginary opponent makes contact with the ball.
As soon as you land, run to the right corner of the doubles alley and return to the center of the court using shuffle steps. Repeat this exercise with the left corner of the court.
When you jump, try not to spread your legs too much; be comfortable in the air. And when you’re landing, bend your knees a little so that you can use the explosive power to get to the corner of the court as quickly as possible.
3) Lateral Drills
Most athletes, including tennis players, focus solely on their linear motion. But in reality, tennis is a game that involves all directions, and players must be able to respond to the ball no matter where it lands in court. This drill will teach you how to move sideways over the court if you have to during a game.
Place an elastic band around your shin area, just below your knees, and stand at the center of the court. Now take 4 lateral steps to the side of the court, perform a forehand swing and shuffle back to the center. Repeat this exercise a couple of times to get the hang of it.
These are 3 of the most basic footwork drills to help improve your agility and control. You must practice them every day if you hope to improve your game of tennis.
Also, be sure to physically push yourself just a little bit every day. You can either increase the reps during each set or simply add another set to your workout. Increase your load every training session, and you’re sure to see immense improvements in your footwork.
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