Like many other teaching pros, when I look for a youngster’s potential talent in tennis, I look for three things – the desire to win, a good attitude, and most important, good footwork.
Footwork is important because your feet line you up for contact with the ball. It’s just that simple. The pros make the game look so easy because their footwork is so very good. They line up correctly for each shot over and over again without having to make uncoordinated body moves and stabs at the ball while trying to reach it like many lower level players do. They understand the importance of good footwork and let their feet do the work in bringing out successful play in themselves. They are able to “groove their strokes”, hitting similar shots over and over again, by lining up the ideal position to play each shot.
Players wishing to advance their game should make a commitment to reach all balls on court. Your capacity to reach just one extra ball and send it back across the net could raise your game another notch. This may require you to get in shape because when you commit to reach all balls on court, you must be prepared to keep this up for an entire match.
The first thing you can usually look for when stroking problems develop is slow moving feet. This is why so many professionals of the game train so hard to keep their tennis play at the highest level. They too have made a commitment to reach all balls on court and fully intend to uphold this commitment, no matter how many miles they have to run during the match they play.
This lesson is an excerpt from Bring Your Racquet: Tennis Basics for Kids