The great players have always been very good at getting back into position
very quickly after hitting a shot. As we watch tennis we tend to follow the ball
and fail to watch how these proâ€™s use the most efficient way to recover.
Great athletes make good tennis players because they have the innate ability to
change direction and keep good balance.
Letâ€™s go over the recovery footwork after hitting a wide forehand. First
the body must come to a stop in order to change direction. The modern way is
to hit the forehand with an open stance. This accomplishes two things, it stops
the bodyâ€™s momentum and ones body weight is already transferring back to
center before the stroke is finished.
Even with a closed or neutral stance on the forehand the next thing to do is â
€œsquare upâ€�. This means to quickly get the body in a ready position with
the shoulders, hips and feet facing the net squarely. To do this from a neutral or
close stance one must come off the ground and let the legs and toes point to
the net. Another method is for the back leg (right leg) come around and catch
the bodyâ€™s balance and stop its momentum.
After â€œsquaring upâ€� one must pick up the inside leg (left leg for right-
handers), step out towards the center and jump off that leg. The back or right
leg should come across the left and be the primary landing foot.
Try this at home by standing with toes, hips and shoulders facing one
direction. Step out and jump off one leg and try to get the other leg to land as
far as possible from the starting point. The farther you travel the faster your
recovery will be on court.
After using this recovery step footwork, the next step is to slide the additional
distance to your ideal recovery position on court.
Try watching the pros and see what method they use to recover.
Occasionally youâ€™ll see them just plain turn and run. This is because they
are to far out of position and have no other choice.
Doug Hofer, USPTA September 30, 2004