Moving either up or back for a groundstroke requires a little bit different footwork than moving laterally out to the tennis ball. Just like with those other shots, the key is to get your body sideways first and then move to the ball.
Let’s start with handling the deep ball. If I’m getting a deep ball, there’s a couple things I can do. Coming out of the split step I can take a drop step back. It’s just like a pivot, but I’m dropping my outside foot back behind my inside foot. I can then side-shuffle back to the tennis ball a little bit to get set and hit.
The other thing I can do is hit my split step and then step forward with my inside foot, and then use that foot to push off backwards onto my outside foot.
If I’m moving to a short ball I hit my split step and then step forward with my inside foot and then pivot my back foot around to get sideways so I can shuffle up and set up to hit.
At 1:15 in the video above, we’ll take a look at how I handle a deep ball. In this particular case I come down out of my split step and first step forward with my inside foot. I transfer my weight onto that foot and use it to push off back onto my outside foot. Once my weight is on my outside foot, I push off that foot into my forehand groundstroke.
Let’s next look at how I handle a short ball. Coming out of the split step I again step forward into the court with my inside foot and at the same time pivot around with my outside foot to get myself sideways to the oncoming tennis ball.
Again the key is that when moving to any of these balls, the first thing I do is get myself sideways using these more advanced tennis footwork steps. I then can move up or back much more easily using a simple side shuffle if I need to.