Good tennis coaches will proffer that great movement about the court is imperative to play well. You might have some great technique and tactically be astute, but if your movement is not good then there is little point to this.
Even Roger Federer has declared that there is a strong correlation between the quality of his movement on any given day and the quality of his overall game that day.
Professional players use very specific footwork patterns depending on the ball they have to deal with. The key to improve your footwork is learning and repeating the correct movement patterns.
Movement Across the Court
Although not everybody can have fitness levels of the pro’s, what is not in dispute is that good movement on court can be learned by anybody. Players should practice with their coaches going over movement techniques, and performing tennis-specific exercise programs in order to maximize their potential on the court.
Practicing this technique takes hard work and effort, but once achieved give an almost graceful movement on the court. Remember in social tennis a player has roughly two seconds from the time the opponent hits the ball until they have to return it.
Anticipate Your Opponent
In the professional gave, players have less than half this time, so in order to be in the correct position the pro’s have to anticipate what shot their opponent is going to play.
Most of the time players never deviate more than a 4 meter radius around the baseline. Only rarely do they rush the net or chase a good drop shot. So this means players need to be great movers over short distances. Tennis is a game of short sprints, so this type of movement must be included in practice.
Try sprinting for 1-4 meters, then set yourself up to hit a ball, once you have made contact then sprint back the 1-4 meters to get ready for the next shot. Whilst practicing this drill always try and maintain balance and move efficiently.
A great deal of movement on the court is sideways, although you have to be flexible enough to move in any direction, drills that enhance side to side movements are useful. To be good at this sort of movement the player has to have strong legs.
Addressing The Ball
Usually good players use very few strong and powerful steps to cover the ground and then use smaller steps to set up for the ball. The reason for this the smaller steps allow for perfect positioning to enable the player to make the correct shot.
In between shots most players are usually on their toes in an athletic stance so they can react quickly and with purpose.
In conclusion, to develop your movement and have great tennis skills, there are two main areas to work on. Your general athleticism and tennis-specific movement patterns.