“PAT’S PICKLOSOPHY” TIP OF THE WEEK FOOTWORK: “DA AGONY OF DA FEET!”

Perhaps the MOST NEGLECTED part of improving your game is the most important part-- FOOTWORK!  No matter how great your dinks, volleys, and groundstrokes, lazy/sluggish/slow/sloppy footwork will frequently result in loss of the point, and ultimately keep you “stuck” at your current skill level.

Making less errors and hitting with power is predicated on your body being in a balanced stance and positioned to hit the ball in your power/comfort zone, which is one foot in front and no farther than one foot to either side.

Use the following for getting your feet moving efficiently.

  • KEEP THE FEET ACTIVE! (3 steps per second during a point) Planting the feet is a common error, especially while at the 7 ft. line. Dance!
  • PRACTICE AND “MASTER” LATERAL MOVEMENT.  “Be “square”, and be “a winner.”  This is not a difficult adjustment and can be practiced at home.  Keeping the feet square to the shot at contact improves consistency, and eliminates potential foot-faults at the 7 ft. line. 

TIP: Taking a step ‘while’ hitting a shot or ‘stepping across your body’ to play a ball complicates the shot by adding unnecessary motion (of the feet and shoulders).  This extra motion requires recovery time and takes you out of position for the next shot.

The following drill is very effective for improving footwork at the 7-foot line:

  • POSITION YOUR FEET to contact the ball in front of your body within your comfort zone for every shot.  Lazy feet causes “reaching” for balls, which results in loss of control and injuries.
DRILL:  without a paddle, catch balls off the bounce with both hands. Be aware of your body position at the catch, your balance, and that you are SQUARE to the ball. (turning the body or a long step creates difficulty in recovering for the next shot; more over, but can result in injuries. 
    • MOVE WITH THE BALL!  Stay even with the ball when it is on the opponent’s side of the court, or within the shaded area from the ball to the corners of your side of the court.
    • Several small steps are more efficient for getting your body to the proper position than two or three long steps.  Small steps allow for fine-tuning your feet to your comfort zone, and reduces chances of injury. 

    DRILL:  To train your feet for smaller steps; with knees bent, do 30 steps in place in 10 seconds. Then try the same drill with lateral steps, back and forth at the 7 ft. line on the court, or this can also be practiced at home.

    TIP: Next time you are on the court, listen to your feet; make sure they are moving at the rate of 3 steps per second during a point.  You’ll be amazed at how much quicker you are moving, and how much easier each shot becomes.

    THE BEST NEWS OF ALL,active footwork improves physical conditioning and weight loss- you’ll get to shop for a smaller wardrobe!

    THE MOST IMPORTANT FOOTWORK RULE TO REMEMBER:
    “DON’T GIVE UP TOO SOON!”
    MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE MOVING FOR THE BALL UNTIL IT HAS BOUNCED TWICE

    You have much more time than you think to get to that shot.  Moving your feet and refusing to give up on the shot until the ball has bounced a second time will reveal to you that you can get to far more shots than you thought.

    Comments


    no comments found