The Split Step
Scott Baker | Tennis4you
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The split step is the first reaction to every 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. This body position
keeps you off of your heels and ready to move quickly to any position
of the 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.
I feel that the split step is ignored most often when people
make their way to net. Many times 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 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 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.
Good Luck on the Court!