Although tennis is all about hitting the ball, footwork is much more important than you may realize at first. Without correct footwork skills, it is hard to play an effective game of tennis. This is because tennis is all about bodily coordination, from head to toe.
Starting out on the wrong foot in tennis, pun intended, is the worst way to set up your tennis game. Therefore, focusing on footwork early on will make all the difference to how you play and how you enjoy the game later on.
Here we will explore footwork exercises that can aid your tennis game. These drills help to improve balance, coordination, and develop a quick and effective movement across the court.
These need to be done with practicing strokes, grips, and general speed and agility in tennis. It is a holistic sport excellent for all facets of physical development and exercise.
First, here are some basic footwork movements and what they help you achieve:
- The split step helps you to get a proper balance and pivot one way or the other in preparation to hit the ball.
- Shuffle steps are skidding movements that make sure you can recover quickly and return to the center of the court after hitting the ball.
- Sprinting steps are fast-paced movements that allow you to run either up to the net or away from it to hit long distance shots.
Now, some drills and exercises you can do to work on these different footwork patterns:
- The direction drill: start at the baseline of the tennis court, then sidestep all the way to the net. Touch the net, turn around, and sidestep back. This helps to improve lateral movement.
- The diagonal drill: similar to the direction drill, start at the baseline. Move towards the center of the net crisscrossing your feet diagonally. You can change this by shuffling backward from the net to the baseline to add extra resistance.
- Shuffle and side step drill: for this drill, stand at the baseline and have your coach or someone else calls out a shot, forehand or backhand. After hitting the shot, shuffle or sidestep back to the baseline to prepare for another shot.
- Cone drills: setting up cones or markers across the court, practicing sidestepping or shuffling throughout them, in an obstacle course fashion.
- Ball drill: practice your footwork and coordination by bouncing the ball on the racket and walking or jogging from the baseline to the net.
For more information on tennis drills you may check our tennis academy in Singapore website for more information!