January Tennis Tip: Happy Feet Year

By Molly Carr - January 3, 2016

January Tennis Tip: Happy Feet Year
Wanna be awesome at tennis this year?
Well let’s get to steppin’!
Those two machines at the end of your bod can run or hinder you. The legs in between can also make or break your game. Don’t cry about it, do something. Let’s get strong so can play how your mind imagines you playing!
George Zink, Nike Tennis Camp Director, is a 9-time National Champion, former All American at Southern Illinois University, former top 600 ATP singles and doubles player, has recently coached 7 national champions, and was inducted into the Lancaster County Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He mentions this quote in an article:
“INTENSE with your lower body and RELAXED with your upper body.” He says, “Footwork in the game of tennis is everything. Intense feet means you recover quicker, get to the next ball faster and have more time to prepare for the shot.” Amazing wisdom even though it may seem like common sense, we don’t spend enough time strengthening the tennis specific muscles we need to play like a champion. Imagine if you got to 10% more of the balls that hit your court-great results! Now let’s go for it!
These 5 footwork drills are highlighted below in a pump you up video by Kelley Cahill, plays tennis for the Arizona State Sun Devils, perfect for the New Year!
  1. Ladder Drills – using an agility ladder (bought online) working vertically two steps in each space between rungs (tiny run) to the top running up to net for a shot, working horizontally two steps in each (tiny run), then straddling the ladder working your way vertically step outside then instep on both sides (in out in out), then straddling but jumping inside then outside (in out in out). Working in a diagonal motion, jump shuffle in and out (like in and out of tires) or a chasee in ballet!
  2. Alley Drills – using cones if you like to mark width of alleys to put some accurate muscle memory into the inner thighs, and shuffle side to side (horizontally), then go harder and run along grapevine from side to side, then same movement but add a full swing! Moving vertically run stop short and step into a split step and back into a split step.
  3. Base Movement – staying low and square to the “net,” run left take a shot, run back to middle, run right and take a shot, back to middle, run to net, shot, back to middle with hustle!
  4. Tennis Ball Reactions – all you need a ball thrown into play (ball machine could work with correct low speed and trajectory), using your hands (not your racquet) pulling you outside in and throwing surprises to work on your anticipation reaction and agility. Take small steps in between so you don’t pull a muscle and your are efficient. Take some high and low, some wide and tight. Each time tossing it back to the feeder.
  5. Band Walks – using an exercise band below the knees, keeping your legs shoulder width apart, pulling tight enough to work the outer thighs but keeping you low with bent knees for good tennis form. 
Here’s the video to watch these in motion with MC Hammer music 2 Legit 2 Quit.
Don’t just be fancy, be fit.
Get on the Court!
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