Tennis Footwork Keys – The Footwork For Tennis

With a small improvement in tennis footwork, players can gain a big advantage over their opponents.

Footwork for Tennis

The Footwork for tennis involves not only speed and agility but the specific movement patterns of the pros. Pro players have great footwork in tennis and this is one of the main reasons why they hit great tennis shots and seem to be always in perfect balance. Tennis footwork involves getting to the ball in a quick and proper manner so that a player can hit the tennis shot of their choice while being in ideal balance for the contact of the ball.

The Footwork in tennis starts the moment the opponent hits the tennis ball. No matter how fast or slow a player is, they must learn to react to the incoming ball in a timely manner and using the correct footwork technique.

The Split Step Initiates the Tennis Footwork

Initially, when the opponent makes contact with the tennis ball it is key to make a split step. Most people are familiar with the split step and the footwork in tennis, but the split step is an essential part of having the right tennis footwork patterns.

The Split Step is the lowering of the player’s center of gravity where the lower body (the base) lowers into an Athletic Foundation. The athletic foundation is a key area in every sport that requires quick movement skills. A good athletic foundation involves a wide base, where the feet are speed at least shoulder width and a half apart and a slight bend in both knees. This athletic foundation will put the body in a lower position which will allow a person to move quickly to the tennis ball. It is noted that the person should be atleast a few inches below their standing height in the athletic foundation in tennis and this foundation is then maintained throughout movement to the incoming ball.

The idea behind tennis footwork is understanding the core principals of movement toward the tennis ball. The goal is to get to the tennis ball as quickly and efficiently as possible so that you can be in position to hit the ball in the optimal strike zone.

Characteristics of Tennis Footwork

Footwork for tennis is a technique, a science and an art. When all three elements come together, the result is a synchronized and beautiful rhythm of movement that is shown by all the top tennis professionals on tour.

It’s important to have a Low Center of Gravity during the movement toward the tennis ball. This low center of gravity is usually maintained as top professional players head out to stride to the ball. This is crucial because a tennis player standing too upright will have difficulty moving fast enough to the ball.

The split step in tennis is a low and wide foundation. This is a key quality of all great athletes in all sports. Having a good athletic foundation allows a player to move quicker and be more explosive with their movement.

basketball dribbling to improve tennis game

A Good Posture with a wide base is two essential ingredients for tennis footwork. Footwork in tennis starts with the lower body. Top professional players normally take a wide split step on the opponent’s contact no matter where they are on the tennis court. Having loose and flexible movement are skills of a player with great tennis footwork.

Tennis Footwork Drills

Tennis footwork as a player is moving to the tennis ball should be very relaxed, rhythmical and fluid. Notice the footwork for tennis and how effortless and beautiful it looks with a player with the proper tennis footwork. The appearance of pro players like Roger Federer and Nadal are great examples. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s footwork looks smooth and even effortless. This is especially true when top players move around the court – it is a certain flow that exemplifies into the tennis technique itself and allows for quick and easy access to every tennis ball.

Pro players can be great models because they are often masters of tennis footwork. They have spent many hours refining it with tennis footwork drills and fitness exercises that make their footwork in tennis look effortless and powerful. Tennis footwork drills are an important part for every tennis player wanting to improve tennis and their footwork. Although footwork drills are never fun or always easy, they are key in allowing a player to reach difficult balls and bail themselves out of defensive situations during a tennis match.

Tennis Footwork drills are often performed by the tennis player and involve a series of sprints and agility excersises. These are performed because tennis is a game of fast sprints that require quick movement. One of the ways a player can become faster on the tennis court is by doing wind sprints or other high intensive short burst cardio runs. These tennis footwork drills simulate real live point play when only the quickest and crisp movement will suffice, demanding an overall solid foundation in the tennis footwork.

Keys for Footwork in Tennis


Observing and anticipation is important as this is the first step in all good tennis footwork. Top professional players learn to incorporate a “split step” into their tennis footwork. This prepares the tennis player for movement as soon as the opponent makes contact with the tennis ball. This ready stance will make the difference between reacting quickly to the tennis ball or becoming a sitting duck on the defense. The split step widens the base, drops the center of gravity lower and prepares the player to move in the intended direction of the incoming tennis ball. This is necessary to facilitate quick and smooth footwork in tennis.


A tennis player must keep an active mindset to prepare to move fast to the tennis ball. Good anticipation such as watching the opponents contact and mentally preparing for the incoming shot will provide the proper intensity needed to hit the tennis ball. It’s key to constantly remain on the toes throughout the point. Too low of an intensity will result in slow and slow and poor balanced movement. Too high of intensity will result in rushing and misjudging your timing. You have to find a balance between your intensity level to remain alert and prepared.

First step tennis movement

The first step to the tennis ball is critical. The footwork for tennis after the split step will coincide with the direction of the incoming ball. Depending on where the incoming ball is headed, the tennis player must react accordingly. Two common movement patterns amongst the pros that even club players can add to their game is the step out or gravity step technique in tennis. These two methods of reaction to the tennis ball are used by top pros in their tennis footwork and are key in the footwork for tennis.

Unit Turn

The Unit Turn in tennis is one of the most important aspects that begins the tennis stroke. This is where the entire body turns as “one unit” and the tennis racket comes back as as a result of the natural turn. At this stage, the racket hasn’t really came back yet at this point the body has been responsible for most of the takeback. There is no backswing yet.

Want to Learn How to Move Like The Pros?

This tennis playing tip is likely the most important tennis tip of all time. Making sure the tennis equipment is in tip top shape and in order is one of the most important tennis tips for winning a match.

Footwork for tennis can definitely give a tennis player an edge at any level of the game. Spending time working on footwork in tennis can make a huge difference in the long run, but it will require both a full understanding of the proper tennis footwork on court as well as a set routine to perform tennis footwork drills. These important areas must be combined to achieve success in this critical department of the game. Devoting time to focus on tennis footwork will be a recipe that cannot be accomplished without hard work and due diligence to improve tennis.

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