Cross Step Recovery
Previously, we talked about recovering back to the middle of the tennis court by using the side shuffle, and that’s the way you want to recover most of the time. However, in situations where you are pulled wide, you are going to need to cover more ground to get back to the tee. A great way to do this is by using the cross step.
Again, the cross step recovery begins after you have made contact with the tennis ball and you have gotten yourself facing the net. With your outside foot, push off and step across your inside foot, keeping your body facing the net. You only take one cross step, and after you take it you want to get back in the side shuffle. That one cross step, though, is going to allow you to cover a lot more ground.
The second recovery variation I want to talk about which covers even more ground than the cross step is the run step. To do a run step, push off with your outside foot and turn sideways to the tennis court so you are facing towards the tee. Take one running step towards the center of the court. As your outside foot comes down, begin to rotate your body back facing the net, so that when your inside foot comes down, you are completely back facing the net and you can get back in the side shuffle.
The key here is that you want to make sure that you only take one cross step or run step. You want to be back in the side shuffle and ready to split step *before* your opponent makes contact with the tennis ball you’ve just hit. If you are still sideways to the tennis court when your opponent makes contact, it will be very easy for him to wrong-foot you.