Roger Federer's success as a tennis player begins and ends with his feet. Or more specifically, how he moves them.
His uncanny ability to anticipate and get to seemingly impossible shots is directly connected to his footwork. He's not alone. The footwork of Novak Djokovic largely contributed to his meteoric success and Justine Henin dominated her opponents with her court coverage. Even Jim Courier and John McEnroe admit to working mostly on their footwork (to prepare for the senior tour), which proves how important it is especially as you get older.
Now think about your own game for a minute. Ever miss an easy shot because you were in the wrong position or fail to hit a ball within reach? Your footwork might be to blame.
Good footwork allows a player to reach the right position in time to execute a shot that has a high probability of success. More time, means more options and increases your chances of winning the point. Bad footwork, on other the hand, leads to poor timing, power and consistency, which can knock a player's unforced error count through the roof.
Unfortunately, recreational players often ignore tennis footwork to focus their attention on practicing their groundstrokes or backhand slice. The first step to improving your forehand or net game is footwork.
Working on your footwork first will have a positive ripple effect on the rest of your game. You'll save time and get your game closer to where you want it go in a fraction of the time that it took under your conventional training method.
Before describing the five steps to move like Federer, let's first tackle the ABCs of tennis footwork. Better footwork will improve your agility, balance and coordination.
- Agility: Improved agility will allow you to move around the court at speed while maintaining control, an important skill that will prevent injuries.
- Balance: Balance on the court means better controlled, more powerful shots.
- Coordination: Coordination and timing allows you to make all kinds of shots from all kinds of positions
Go to the next page for a breakdown of this simple, effective 5-step strategy for footwork and tennis success.