Coaching Tip - May 2011

posted 19 May 2011, 06:58 by Kristian Merritt
This month's coaching tip is...
Dear members,
Split step is one of the most understated, under taught movement in tennis at club level.  (video for those who read to the bottom)

First of all, what is the splitstep?
A split step is a little hop on both feet spread about shoulder width apart.

When should it be done?
It should be done just before the opponent hits the ball. You must not do it too long before the opponents contact point otherwise you will lose momentum and slow you down; you must never do it after the opponent hits the ball. If you do it after the opponent hits the ball, it is more destructive than helpful to your rhythm.

And how it affects your game?
It helps your game in many ways. One, it enables you to change direction much quicker because your weight will be evenly distributed on both legs which means you can go right, left, forward and back much quicker. Secondly, it helps you improve your concentration because in order for you to do it properly, you will be focussing on the ball and your opponent’s contact point. Thirdly, it helps you make the transition from the baseline game to the volley game, basically after you hit a groundstroke and you move into the net, you do split step before you go into your volley, it identifies the junction between the two.

Right now at club level, I would be surprised if 2% of people actually do it, so that means 98% of you don’t do it or feel it is not important. If you don’t think it is important, you will be playing tennis as badly as I speak English. Because growing up in Nigeria, when I was learning to speak and write English, I did not think punctuation was important because they were not in the alphabet, so it would be a bit like you writing a sentence without a fullstop or comma. Yes you can play reasonable tennis without it, but you will not be playing to your full potential.

Now watch Matt and Josh demonstrate in a 2min highlight video of the match against Chesham Bois yesterday - volume up!

Your coach,
Godwin Johnson