FOOTWORK FOR BEGINNERS (205)

The first strategy is IN.  Consistency.  Next it is deep at the backhand.  Nine of ten players are right-handed.  Thus the primary target is on his/her left hand side.  Given that you know that, accept they probably know that too.  So–lots of backhands are coming at you.

Much so that the center of your defense has shifted to your left.  Given that good hit spots and position give you good shots, movement to that position is crucial.

  • Tennis starts in your eyes and brain and goes to  your feet and legs immediately.  Here is a beginning footwork drill for newcomers:  It is done without a racket or ball.  ONLY FOOTWORK.  And  mimicking several shots you will have to master.
  • The basic two handed backhand  (make the stroke like the ball is hit several feet to your left.  ALWAYS RETURN TO THE MIDDLE OF THEIR BEST SHOT, USING PROPER FOOTWORK-BEGIN WITH A QUICK WALK-LIKE FOOTWORK TO THE BALL. USUALLY SHUFFLE STEPS BACK TO CENTER.
  • Defense against the moon ball or very deep looping.   Footwork now is turn and run and loop the descending ball back.   Run to return.
  • On the rise.  Quick walk-like footwork to proper hit-spot before it gets too high or behind you.  Shuffle back.  Most of these shots will be cross court.  On really well hit deep balls, lob it or simply block it back to the middle.
  • Run around your backhand and hit your forehand  to his backhand.   This is the emerging tactic for those whose forehand is better.  Turn 2/3 or more of the backhand side into a forehand with footwork.   This is a different footwork.  Have your coach hit you a ball to the middle, then move his second shot to the middle of your backhand.   Tricky and intense footwork is needed to make your response a forehand.
  • Volley the passing shot.   If the shot to you is floating or weak, you maybe able to run quickly and volley the shot down the line to the opening.  While a skilled procedure, foot work can make it a winner.  Better be ready to run or scramble back to home base.   REALLY GOOD PLAYERS MAY FOLLOW THIS VOLLEY TO THE NET.
  • These, then, are the shots to mimic.  Next you run the cycle moving with the proper footwork and mimicking the proper shot and footwork back to home base, then on to the next shot.  Perfect the above order one through five.  Then vary the cycle with any number of possible combinations.

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