Footwork is a huge part of your tennis game. The better your footwork, the better tennis player you can be. Tennis players do not need not be quick to have good footwork. Although speed can help, you can still be very effective and cover a lot of the court without being extremely fast as long as you have good footwork. The split step is probably one of the most important concepts of footwork.
Tennis Split Step
The split step is the first reaction to every tennis shot you must return. The split step is a maneuver performed when you jump up an inch or two onto your toes as your opponent is about to hit his/her shot. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart, and your knees should be slightly bent when you land. Your footwork in this body position keeps you off of your heels and ready to move quickly to any position of the tennis court. The split step should be used when you are returning serves, ground strokes, volleys and when you are approaching the net for a volley.
The split step is ignored most often when people make their way to net. Many times tennis players run right through the split step to try and get closer to the net to hit the first volley. Being close to the net is important, but you may never get there if you do not split step.
The split step allows you to slow down and concentrate on hitting the ball. Picture sprinting to the net and trying to hit a ball while you are moving that fast and never slowing down to hit the ball, it is almost impossible to hit a good shot!
This rush to the tennis net is a very important time to split step! If you do not split step and the ball is hit out of your immediate reach, you will not be in a good position to start moving in another direction and the tennis ball can be past you before you know it. It is better to take the time and split step so you can hit a good first volley and continue your way to net.
Getting in the habit of the split step will always help you to start moving towards the ball quicker each and every time and improve your overall tennis game.