Adjusting to Short and Deep Balls

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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.

  • Jahun

    this site is very fantastic. all of tennis technic exists in site

  • Affected

    Curiously, after watching your footwork I have a deep mental itch to buy a scion.

  • Skamalee

    good job young man i love what you doing for tennis

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  • Tenisvieira

    que pena não entender ingles 

  • Tenisvieira

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  • Tenisvieira

    se tivesse alguem traduzir seria otimo… eu teria como aproveitar bem mais as explicações 

  • Lalalalala

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  • john

    hey will, what footwork should i use for a deeper ball then the deep shot in the video?

  • john

    hey will, what footwork should i use for a deeper ball then the deep shot in the video?

  • Yassine Rafa

    Hi Will, It’s nice what are you developping here, especially on the footwork section, I just want to highlight a point, when I have to deal with a very short ball and I’m far behind, shuffling will not be suffisant to reach the ball in the best timing, and then hit it comfortably, I think I should run to it and then shuffle to get a comfortable strike position, same thing happens for a deap ball, I suppose that shuffling back is not suffisant to cover more ground, especially when the deap ball is not giving you time to get backand hit properly. Is what I am saying correct ? Should I apply it as a footwork strategy ?

  • Alex

    Yassine,

    It depends on what you want to do. You can always take a deep ball on the rise, which may work better for you in some situations. Especially since returning from further behind the baseline, would require you to give up more ground.

    To get to the ball faster, I would recomend doing a cross step before you shuffle. Drop step, cross step, shuffle is a much better way to get into position for a deep ball.

    Also try to get your momentum going forward as you hit your return.

    When it comes to the short ball, you’re not going to have enough time to shuffle into it. Just focus on getting there as quickly as you can.