Footwork Tips for Covering the Court from the Baseline

  1. Use a “split step” to unweight your body in preparation for each shot. Get on your toes to get a bounce in your step.
  2. Take a number of adjustment steps to get in the best possible position for each and every shot including balls hit within your immediate range of coverage.
  3. Turn and go using a “gravity step” to get the best start to the ball. The gravity step (or “sprinters start”) is a process in which you step back and “unweight” your lead foot to allow gravity to propel your first motion toward your intended target. To properly execute the “gravity step” begin with a wide stance of support, make a quarter turn with your hips toward the ball and simultaneously bend the knee of your leg nearest the ball so that your foot moves beneath you serving to unbalance your body in the direction of the ball.
  4. Use a diagonal path to the ball to reduce the amount of court you need to cover.
  5. Use a more closed stance to move in to attack a short ball. Particularly with the forehand, use an open stance to retrieve a more difficult ball. An open stance promotes recovery back into the court.
  6. Shorten your steps and come to a stop prior to hitting balls hit to your left and right. Shorten your steps but move through the ball with your feet when executing an approach shot.
  7. Remain centered and balanced with a still head position in moving to hit the ball and in recovery after hitting the ball.
  8. Do not set your racquet back too early. Use your elbows as necessary to run to the ball. Bring your racquet to the “set” position as you approach the ball and shorten your steps.
  9. When playing on clay, slide with an extended and wide stance to dig out the most difficult balls.
  10. Rear back and use a jump or corkscrew step to hit high, deep balls from behind the baseline (and have fun doing it).

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