Updated: Jul 27, 2021
The sixth and and final installment in a six part micro series to provoke a little thought about the way you see your game!
Finally, the end of our footwork mini-blog world comes with the notion of “how do we rehearse”. The answer for me, in ensuring that players’ footwork mirrors best practice is simple… it’s a process. Firstly we start with ghosting, slowly then quickly, always with a realistic swing and a little bit of imagery or imagination thrown in. Ghosting without the racket is like a hotdog without ketchup, is like a dog without a tennis ball, is like a metaphor that’s been stretched too far… you get the idea by now… make sure you swing!
Secondly, after the ghosting looks like you would like it to look, we move to coach led feeding. Now the stages are not “stand alone”, and we may bounce back and forth between one and the next, however the principle remains… “without ball”, then “with ball” and coach fed.
From there, routines, for example we might do the classic, some would say archaic and boring, but classic routine of drive, boast and crosscourt. Routines, due to their predictability, give us a chance to be aware of our feet in a way that a full scale match may not.
Onwards, one possibility is to move to a modified game – above or behind for example. A little less predictable, a little more game like, and yet still constrained enough so we have some concentration available to be precise with our movement.
Finally we get to matchplay and by this point one would like to think our movement patterns are autonomous. If you have to stop and think about any aspect of your technique in a matchplay situation, you are too slow, hence this being the final and most important part of the process when we “rehabilitate” footwork!
Long story short, don’t neglect the feet, don’t rely upon athleticism and own a pattern of movement that fits criteria, not just that looks aesthetically pleasing. Winning isn’t everything, but it is more fun than losing and it is largely facilitated by those feet of yours!
See you all on the court!