Tennis Footwork Techniques

So you want to improve your tennis footwork?

The idea behind world class 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.

World class footwork is a technique, a science and a 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.

Let’s get started.

The characteristics of all good tennis footwork movement players are as follows:

  • 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.
  • Good Posture. Wide base. Good footwork starts with the lower body. Top professional players normally take a nice wide split step prior to contact
  • Loose and flexible movement. Great tennis footwork is very relaxed, rhythmical and fluid. Notice how effortless and beautiful it looks when top players move around the court – it is a certain flow.

Here are a few keys to begin with:

1. Recognition – Observing and anticipation is important as this is the first step in all good tennis footwork. Top professional players learn to adapt a “split step” into their movement as soon as the opponent makes contact with the tennis ball. This 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.

Recognition is first


2. Intensity – A tennis player must keep an active minset and constantly remain on the toes throughout the point. Too low of an intensity will result in slow and unbalanced movement. Too high of intensity will result in rushing and misjudging your timing. You have to find a balance between your intensity levels to remain active, yet not too high strung.

3. First step tennis movement technique – The first step to the tennis ball is critical. Professional tennis players learn to use a “step out” or a “gravity step.”

The gravity step


4. 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…


The unit turn in tennis

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