Tennis Footwork 101 by Spin & Slice

Tennis footwork determines success in tennis.  How you move on the court makes a difference.  Efficient and explosive footwork enables players to cover more court and allows for better preparation for the next return.  Many players do well on the court despite a weak backhand or poor net skills.  What stops them from advancing to higher levels of tennis is poor footwork.  You might lack speed but you can still be quick and effective given the correct footwork.  Tennis footwork goes beyond reaching tough balls but allows you to get into an optimal position to hit the best possible shot.

Ready Position

Begin in the ready position with knees and hips bent when you’re approaching the ball.  The legs are shoulder-width apart.  The weight is equally distributed on both toes.  This position allows you to move easily in any direction and should be used when anticipating the opponent’s next shot.

tennis footworkSplit Step

Once your opponent contacts the ball, perform a “split step.”  This is a small hop from the ready position towards the direction of the ball.  It prepares you for your shot and allows for quicker and more explosive movement towards the ball.

Effective Movement

Quick, light, short steps are key to reaching the ball early.  Precise moments allows you to get in an ideal position for a good shot.  Stay on your toes and avoid taking long, heavy strides to reach the ball.


After you hit a good return, always remember to recover and prepare for the next shot.  This is “side shuffling” and using “cross-steps” to return to the best position to hit the next ball.   While the side shuffle is not the fastest recovery method, it allows you to move left or right without getting wrong-footed.  The cross-step is used to return to the recovery point as quickly as possible after hitting a wide shot.  The side-shuffle follows.  It allows you to cover more ground during recovery but won’t let you change directions.

Tennis Footwork 101 by Spin & SliceStance and Balance

In tennis, players shouldn’t be standing tall and straight, but with bent knees and a lowered centre of gravity.  This stance offers better balance.  It’s metaphorical to a loaded spring and prepares you to move explosively in any direction during the play.  Bending and pushing off your legs during shots leads to coordinated strokes – giving you more powerful, accurate, and quality shots.

Practising Good Tennis Footwork

Focusing on improving tennis footwork tips guarantees advancements in your game.  The best way to practice is to isolate each footwork aspect above and work on them individually with a partner using appropriate skills.  Once you mastered each individual techniques, incorporate them into your overall game and you’ll be King or Queen of the Court!

About the Author

Tennis Footwork 101 by Spin & SliceJenny is a Tennis Canada certified coach from Vancouver. She graduated from the University of British Columbia, one of the top 30 universities worldwide, with a Degree in Kinesiology and specialises in sports & fitness, health & nutrition, and sports injuries. Jenny is currently an Open-level tennis player with a highest ranking of top 50 in Canada and was a valued player on her university team at UBC. She is also a fully certified Lifeguard as well as a Swimming Instructor and is an ex-competitive swimmer. Jenny’s diverse athletic background and her past experiences as an assistant pro-coach will be an asset to her coaching position at Spin & Slice. She hopes to positively influence her students both physically and mentally through her continually growing passion for tennis and fitness.

About Spin & Slice

Spin and Slice is Thailand’s #1 tennis academy and school. We currently have two fully equipped campuses – Bangkok and Phuket with more locations on the horizon. We offer professional group and private coaching to all ages & levels as well as drop in options for people who simply want to play with their friends.

Start typing and press Enter to search