Foot speed alone will not make you a good defensive player
in the game of tennis. However, if you use your speed in conjunction
with the other aspects of good defensive play your speed can
be a very powerful weapon. The faster you are the more you
force your opponent(s) to try and execute their offensive
shots with better precision and more pace. Your speed will
also directly effect how many balls you can force your opponent
to hit in any given rally. Moving quickly also has the capability
to make certain offensive shots hit by your opponent seem
like average shots. The faster you are able to move the more
effective your game will be if you use your speed to your
advantage and know what it can really do for you. By moving
quickly around the court you immediately put extra pressure
on your opponent. You get to shots quicker, allowing your
opponent less time to get into a stronger position. You will
also get yourself in a better position to hit the ball with
more time to adjust for each shot. This pressure can force
your opponent to try and hit harder, aim closer to the lines,
or rush hitting the ball all of which often draw errors. This
pressure can be very frustrating to opponents who are not
used to playing quicker players and can even force certain
opponents to crumble all together.
Another advantage of speed is the fact that you get to several
balls forcing your opponent to hit more balls than they would
typically have to against a slower player. Your quickness
can really test a player's patience and consistency. If your
opponent is inconsistent and can only hit a few shots in the
court before they miss, your speed will help you to retrieve
the ball to get it back in the court and wait for the error.
The more balls that you force your opponent to hit, the more
likely the chance that they will hit an error or a weaker
shot that you can take advantage of.
My favorite aspect of speed is being able to turn a routine
defensive play into an offensive play. If you can get to the
ball early enough you will have more time to set up and offensively
execute the ball and turn the tables to be on the offensive
end of the point with just one or two shots.
Some players are naturally faster than others. Certain players
move to one side or the other faster, or perhaps they run
side to side quicker than forward and back or vise-versa.
Whichever category you fall into there is always room for
improvement. One of the major aspects of speed is not only
how fast you can run, but how fast you can start running and
also how fast you can stop and turn around and start running.
Conditioning, training and drills can help you improve your
speed. Find the drills that will help you to develop the areas
that you lack in and work on these drills. Work on your speed
and see the awesome effects it can have on your game!
Good Luck on the