First Step Movement
Once you hit your split step, you then need to start moving toward the tennis ball. The very first step you take coming out of your split is called the first step movement. To perform the first step movement, step out with your outside foot and turn it so that it is more or less parallel with the baseline. Transfer your weight to your outside foot, and push off in the direction of the tennis ball with your inside foot, getting the heel up as you do.
From this position, you are now ready to run to the tennis ball or immediately start taking adjusting steps. You may have noticed that the first step movement is almost the same thing as the pivot and shoulder turn we talked about in the forehand and backhand groundstrokes section. This is correct, *if* you are moving along the baseline, but again, here we want to focus just on the footwork and not the mechanics of your groundstrokes. Also, as we get into more advanced footwork later on, there are variations on the first step movement that are considerably different from a simple pivot and shouler turn.
Let’s look at Gael Monfils performing his first step movement. In the first picture, Monfils is hitting his split step. In the next picture, you can see that he steps out with his outside foot, his right foot, and he is pushing off with his inside foot in the direction of the tennis ball. Again, also notice here that this motion is the same as the pivot and shoulder turn (we use these same pictures in the pivot and shoulder turn video in the forehand section), but again what we are focusing on is the footwork.