There are several important tennis footwork techniques that are essential to getting to the spot that you want to be in on the court in order to be the most confident you can be hitting the ball.
First is your Ready Position. Before you begin approaching a ball, you will most likely start off in the most common position in tennis – the ready position. In this stance at or behind the baseline, you want to have your legs shoulder-width apart with your weight equally proportioned on both feet and the racquet in front of you gripped with both hands. This allows you to propel yourself in any direction needed.
The second important technique is the Split Step. Similar to the ready position, the split step is composed of quick hops just before dashing. The steps should be done right when your opponent makes contact with the ball so that when it lands on the ground you will be on your toes ready to bolt in whichever direction that may be.
The next position you need to keep in mind is the Side Shuffle. Once you have successfully returned the ball to your opponent. You need to get yourself in the ideal placement to return their next shot, wherever that may be, this is where moving side to side comes in handy. The quickest way to get to the middle may be to turn and run, however, this will prove a disadvantage in the case your opponent returns the ball in the opposite direction of the way you are running. While not the fastest way to recover, the Side Shuffle is a great movement method because it allows you to move east or west depending on the ball placement and is a safe and useful strategy during a match.
Finally, after hitting a shot from far away, you will need a technique to get back to the center as quickly as possible. This is where the Cross Step will come into play. To perform this movement, you will bring your leg, one over the other in the direction you choose to move in. This allows you to cover more ground but will not let you alter direction once done. The great thing about this is that you can easily switch to the Side Shuffle method directly afterward.
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