Friday, April 3, 2015

Tennis, the importance of proper footwork

 The topic of footwork often comes up in the sport of Boxing, because proper footwork in Boxing—and like Fencing—can help the athlete defeat an opponent, or avoid being defeated by an opponent.

In Boxing footwork is important to help the Boxer maintain his balance and stance, while slipping a punch, i.e. making an opponent miss his target—or by helping a Boxer deliver a punch by springing off the rear foot, which generates the movement forward towards the target.

While footwork in Tennis is necessary for balance and control of the body movement as well, the real need for footwork helps determine the reach and the speed adjustment of the player’s movement, along with their being able to escape the danger of balls hit directly at them.

Without proper footwork at the net, balls which are not reached with the short side step with the wrong foot, could well be an easy point, when angled into the “Diagonal Gap,” when the players steps across one foot to volley balls on the forehand or backhand.

Not only does the cross-over step give the players backhand or forehand greater reach and extension, the player appears to be quicker in recovering for any return volley.

Further, proper footwork permits better handling of low balls, when the feet are well spread apart, and balls are played below the waist, especially for tall players.

The Axiom is this.  “The taller the player the further apart the feet must be when volleying low balls.”

Finally, the most important footwork maneuver is the “Ball-Change” or “Shuffle-Stopping Step.”  This movement is used to slow the players’ body momentum when running wide for a ball almost out of reach, and which permits the player to adjust the speed, and to change direction of the centrifugal force of his body to permit the racquet swing towards the net, and in direction of the balls intended flight.

Concluding, not only does proper footwork prove essential for safety, speed and agility, it is proven to be responsible for helping the player to avoid injuries to knees, back, feet, hips and shoulders.


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