Get Your Footwork Right

Wanting to improve or advance your tennis game? Making sure you’re practicing the proper footwork is necessary to get you around the court with efficiency, and keep you on point and ready for the next ball coming your way. “Staying on your toes” is not just a saying when on the court; it’s how you will maintain the best control over yourself and your game. Much like boxing, you want to be quick and light on your feet. The importance of strong legs and a regular exercise routine cannot be stressed enough if you’re serious about your game.

Positions and Techniques

Ready Position

  • Used at the center of the court to allow for maximum reaction to wherever the ball is sent on your side
  • Legs shoulder width apart, weight equally distributed on your toes, racket gripped in front of you with both hands
  • Slightly bend your hips and knees

Split Step

  • Similar to the ready position, but incorporates short ‘hops’ in the direction of the ball
  • Used right when the opponent makes contact with the ball to get you where the ball is aiming
  • A power move to get you to the ball faster

Side Shuffle

  • Once you’ve returned the ball, you need to get back to the Ready Position, but you don’t want to take your eyes off your opponent or the ball; this move allows you to get where you need to be while staying prepared
  • Your feet should never touch when side-shuffling

Cross(over) Step

  • If you’ve traveled to the far edges of the court, this move will get you back quickly without changing directions
  • Easy to slip into the Side Shuffle when better agility is needed

Tennis Stances

There are four stances, used with both forehand and backhand swings, which you can take before hitting a ball. Each one is used on the court in different places; however, which stance you choose will be dependent on how much timing you have.

Closed (or Classic) Stance: Both feet are turned sideways and are parallel with the net/baseline, allowing for full and proper shoulder/body turning. Mostly used with backhand shots, from center court. Best for return shots.

Neutral (or Square) Stance: Back foot is parallel to the baseline while front foot is stepping in a right angle. Allows the player to step into the ball, resulting in more powerful shots.

Semi-Open Stance: When you have to act fast and don’t have time for a neutral stance, this gets used. Both feet are positioned diagonally to the net. Very flexible, allowing full shoulder rotation and follow through on shots.

Open Stance: Both feet in a straight line, facing the net. Allows for extremely powerful shots. Rotation is done in the upper body, putting more torque on the swing. Fast recovery to center court.

Want to work on your stances and footwork techniques? Call the knowledgeable staff at Elysium Tennis today, so we can get you on the court with a trained tennis professional tomorrow!