Hi everybody! Nadim here for Online Tennis Instruction. Today I would like to give you a very important tip related to proper footwork and proper positioning so that you can execute your strokes on much better balance and staying in much better balance throughout before, during and after the stroke. What exactly am i referring to? I see a lot of players struggle with not knowing exactly what their feet are doing or what the role of the feet are in order to execute an effortless shot. Being in the right position, transitioning the weight properly. So here’s what I want you to pay attention to for today. When the incoming ball is about to bounce… let’s take it even a step further.
You see the other person hitting the ball. That’s when you should go into your split-step and immediately get into your unit turn. Number 1: Here’s the important part…at this point your upper body should not do very much and you should adjust your feet based on where the ball is and this concept that I’m talking about today applies to all 3 stances. Whether it’s an open, semi-open or neutral stance. I will demonstrate the neutral stance just for simplicity purposes but I want you to pay attention to 2 main concepts here. Number 1: When you align yourself to the incoming ball, you obviously have to have good distance but what’s important for me today to point out is that however many steps you have to take to actually get to the ball…
I want you to get that outside leg loaded. so it is the last step I’m taking before i move to contact. So i want the outside leg loaded with the toes pointing to the side fence and that weight is fully on this leg at this point in time, before I then transition and take the last step if I have to take a neutral stance.
So, I’m loading the outside leg and not only that but I want to make sure that this outside leg is aligned with the incoming ball. That tells me now I’m ready to transition my weight downward and forward and then I come back up. The key here is not to stay in that low position for too long otherwise you get stuck! So you want to make sure you can do your split-step, unit turn, you adjust your feet however you have to… load that outside leg significantly and line it up with the incoming ball. Then you transition your weight downward and forward and then you push back upward and that’s how you can stay on balance throughout the entire shot. All right so let’s take a look at it from this angle here and before I go into it, you know at the OTI here we work with progressions so it’s important that you try and implement this first with shadow swings and then of course by self feeding the ball before you have a ball machine or somebody else feed you balls because here it really comes down to letting your body tell you what it’s used to and if you haven’t been able to do this properly before it will take some time and if you add the ball to it too quickly you’ll probably again focus on the ball before you actually feel what your body is doing.
So that’s very important to understand. Now, like i said this doesn’t really matter whether you have an open stance, semi-open or neutral stance. I will demonstrate the neutral stance because this is one of the more basic positions to be in when you hit the ball and this is what I suggest you do. If you’re obviously more advanced and you get pulled out really wide then the stance still takes place like I just mentioned but you will be loading and unloading from that outside leg whereas when you do a semi-open stance, it’s similar okay, you still load the outside and then transition up to the front leg. But the neutral stance is slightly different. There is much more weight transition going forward. So 1 more time…. I want you to pay very close attention. When i get to that ball regardless of how far it is and again for the purpose of this video i’m going to show you neutral stance. You want to make sure that the outside leg is number 1, Aligned with the incoming ball okay and Number 2: Good enough distance so that I can transition my weight downward and forward and then come back up and out.
That is the key! So i have to feed the ball in a manner where I can do this. So lets try a few here and just watch my loading and then my weight transition and I can fully finish on balance. So split, turn, I make this mark movement here, I load the outside leg… step forward downward and come back out. And see if I can finish on balance the whole time. So split step, turn, move, load that outside leg…really feel the weight on that outside leg and you will see I’m not particularly low yet. I will go lower from here, down and come back out. The idea is that i don’t stay down for very long. I want to be explosive! So I need to be very careful in how late or how early I set up this outside leg. So again, split-step, unti turn, smaller steps to adjust, set up this outside leg to really feel the weight, feed, down and up. Okay you will see I’m totally on balance. My weight is going forward and upward and that can only happen if I properly load and properly transition.
So what exactly is happening when players don’t get this concept of loading the outside leg and aligning the outside leg with the incoming ball properly. The main things that I see occurring over and over again is one of the two main points I would say is players hit the ball too late, or you hear your coach say “hey! you hit the ball to late or you’re too close to the ball”. What they mean by that is you pretty much set up your feet in a manner where there’s no more transitioning, no more loading and unloading is possible. So in other words instead of truly loading the outside leg and then transitioning the weight up forward and upward. You have taken that outside leg just like another step and you’ve placed the front foot way too early! And once the front foot has been placed, there is no further transitioning and all I have left is my upper body to generate any kind of power.
So my swing path will change and everything else will likely go astray if I don’t set up my feet properly. So that outside leg needs to be fully weighted so to speak and then I got a transition down and up as I go forward. So basically you’re setting up the front foot too early. It’s number 1 for the weight can no longer transition and second of all is people just generally stop moving or don’t move at all and do everything with the upper body.
You’ve got to make sure that when you get ready, if you watch other videos that I’ve posted it’s all about preparation. So the second you see the ball coming, you want to be in your split-step and your unit turn and then you really want to do everything with your feet right up until you go to contact. So if you find yourself doing all kinds of movements with your arms rather than your legs before you hit the ball, that’s a good indicator that you’re really not understanding the concept of getting your feet in place first before you can strike a balanced shot.
And that is very important! So what I suggest you do is you film yourself from either angle, either this angle right here or the side view and see how you set up your feet before you hit the ball. Then you can go and look at this video again and see whether you’re actually properly loading the outside leg on your forehand here. For me that’s the right leg. On the backhand it’s the left leg. The leg and toes are pointing to the outside fence in either respect… and then you truly transition your weight upward and forward! So give this a shot and I hope that this gives you more effortless power and a lot more balance on your strokes!.
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