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The hardest thing about getting back into the game...

I'm sure all of us have had to let the racquets collect some dust with our busy lives and schedules at some point or another. This summer I've probably played more tennis than I have in the past four years.

What I've found to be the hardest thing about getting back into playing is definitely movement and footwork. I don't know if it's because I've picked up racquetball here and there, but I feel like I move so awkwardly now.

What do you guys feel you struggle with? Any tips or suggestions for me?

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I think that if you can keep yourself in shape during the break from tennis, you might have less troubles to get the footwork back??!! =) maybe it is just me tho.
and i think that the key is to watch matches on TV, they really helped me.
My coach used to tell me, to just watch their feet for 5 minutes without watching anything else. that is actually really really hard to do. hahaha...

for me it is the one hand backhand!!! I rested for quite a long while because of an elbow injury, came back to play for a few months now, and just finally got my backhand back looking better again. the other thing is the serve, but that is entirely because of my elbow injury still giving me problems physically and mentally.
footwork is one of the most important factors to your game. you are aware, so you're well on your way to improving it. playing soccer is a great way to work on footwork, and coordination. just try to be natural, and don't over think it. if you watch the ball the entire time, and go to it, your footwork will follow you.
This may sound lame but I would recommend step aerobics. I've done it now 3 times a week for about 5 months. I can play tennis easily for 3 hours straight and my footwork has marked improvement. In step class if you mess up your footwork you can fall off your step, or fall on the ground. I have seen a few people have this happen. It also gets you in a rhythm which has also translated into my game.

I may be the only guy in that step class but I am slowly becoming the best (besides the instructor :-)
I am also back in the game after a long layoff. I agree, footwork is one of the prerequisites, along with racquet preparation. But it will come back to you. Keep things simple... step to the ball and hit.
Ahhh, "step to the ball and hit". So true. Sounds so easy, right?
You certainly can't tell your body what to do in great detail. It is pointless.
Has anyone here ever read The Inner Game of Tennis? It's all about intuitive knowledge and how you need to get into a zone...
Just started back after several months--most difficult for me is timing. Seems I'm a little late on both sides-especially backhand. Been focusing on swinging very early-way out in front, made a pretty good difference. But, very frustrating at first. John
i play tennis all the time and pretty good at it, till got hurt recently. i can hit around well, but not when playing a competitive match. but if i had to play a match, i would feel heavy, half a step slower, get tired quicker. once i get slower, my footwork is not there. so i get to hit ball late, as a result, i mishit or not hitting enough pace on the ball. i think tennis is all about football. my suggestion is to play at least twice a week. sooner or later you'll feel light and fast.
There's nothing to it, just do it, get back on the court. I work out @ the gym, and will spend 2 hrs @ a time there. 45 min to an 1hr of cardio in the gym is not the same as going out on the court, So I just include tennis as part of my cardio workout now. If you start practicing again, whenever possible- you'll regain your footwork and it wont feel so awkward. Make tennis part of your weekly regimen. Just like making time to go workout, or the grocery store or my favorite happy hour.
I am yet another who has taken a long time off and needs to get the feet back in action. I'll start with what worked for me the first time....the old jump rope....just like Rocky - tiny jumps, quick speed....both feet then alternating left and right foot....just can't be lazy about it. Maybe 500 to a thousand to up to 3-4 k. It only sucks at first!
The footwork in tennis is like a dance step..from your split-step when an opponent makes contact, through your shot and to the shuffle back after you've made your contact. Jumping rope can strengthen the muscles in your feet, ankles and calves that do so much of this you more control over your feet, which in turn lends itself to the important super-fast starts and stops needed on a Tennis court. It just might make you quicker than you ever were! Say good-bye to being wrong-footed!
It's *exactly* like dancing -- only my footwork on the court doesn't get better after a few drinks ;-) But there are specific basic steps, like the gravity step, carioca step, etc. that are nothing short of dance steps. Agree, the rope is a great tool. Add a couple of medicine balls in heavy and moderate weights for core and plyometrics and you'll have a very effective "old-school" set up.
Footwork is an issue for me even if I go more than a few days without playing. I found that doing agility exercises and yoga helped keep me limber enough to snap back into game shape when I need to. But yeah, I'll definitely agree with you that a player is only as good as his/her footwork at pretty much any level of play.
Did you mention yoga before? I feel like I'm having deja vu because I was talking with someone about how yoga helped my game. unofrtunately, time has gotten tight and yoga was the first thing to go.

I want to start getting more interest-based groups here in Tennisopolis. Eric, you (or somebody) should start a Yoga group in here where tennis players can exchange ideas.


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