The ball is sitting there asking to be hit; but you just don’t quite get there, so your stroke is not as solid as it should be. The reason: poor footwork. A reader asks what you can do about it.
What To Do?
“ George, I just started your book and am really enjoying it. I am just shy of 65, learned tennis at an early age, played at a collegiate level-then walked away from it for 32 years.
“Now I’m back and having a blast. Actually hitting the ball better now than college. Playing at the 4.0 level. There is one exception: both pros and good amateurs tell me the same thing: my strokes technique is outstanding but footwork is nonexistent. So most shots are all arms because I can’t get my feet in position. I know the feeling of an effortless stroke when weight transfer is correct; and it is pure bliss.
“My question to you is what footwork exercises do you recommend to help. I can jump rope, and need to be more regular with that. What other routines would you recommend for this old buzzard.” Regards, Hugh Papy
For me good footwork is more mental than physical… it is not that I can’t move my feet well enough to get into good hitting position; it is just that sometimes I don’t move my feet well enough. When at Newk’s camp each year, my mentor Roy Emerson will walk behind us during crunch time in a match and tell us to “overdo the footwork!” He is telling us to concentrate on moving our feet before anything else happens.
But I am sure there are some good exercises to help you on the physical side. One I (used to) do is simply bouncing on the balls of my feet to some up-tempo music for five to ten minutes at a time (it also gets the heart pumping pretty good).
Another option is to use a stretch band around both ankles and do a shuffle step sideways to increase the strength of the needed muscles.
What other footwork suggestions do YOU have to help senior tennis players?
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