It is common wisdom among tennis players that they do not want to “run through” their first volley; so they need to split step as their opponent is striking the ball in order to be balanced for their next shot. This variation comes in a reader’s question:
“So I get that split steps are mandatory for coming to the net and at the net. Do you step and split on return of serve?”
Actually, I am one of the relatively few players I know who do this. I picked the concept up from a Tennis Magazine article years ago by the great Australian doubles team called the Woodies (Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge).
They recommended starting back a couple of steps as you are waiting to return serve; and then coming forward as the server serves and doing the split step to start your return. Rather than being a passive returner, this action will make you a more aggressive one, with your body weight going forward on the critical return of serve.
If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com