There is a distinct difference between speed and footwork. The quickest players in the NFL are measured by a 40-yard dash and Novak Djokovic would certainly run a speedy 40-yard dash. However, speed in tennis is measured in a shorter distance than 40 yards that is why technical footwork is one of the most important things to work on in practice and during tennis lessons.
There are several factors that determine proper footwork. Using small steps and different timings to allow a player to load on the right or left foot. Spacing of the feet is a key ingredient in to ensuring balance. And whether on clay, hard or grass, sliding comes into play.
Aside from movement, footwork is also one of the most important factors in ensuring efficient groundstrokes, serves, and volleys.
From a top-notch pro, to elite junior all the way to beginner, great footwork is the foundation to great play. To improve your footwork, seek out a USPTA pro for private lessons or clinics at tennis facility in your area.
About the author: Eric Hechtman is Tennis Director at Royal Palm Tennis Club, located in Pinecrest, Florida, Miami-Dade County. As well as running the teaching programs at Royal Palm, Eric was named USTA Junior Competitive Coach of the Year 2013 and one of his students, Chase Perez Blanco, was named the Junior Player of the Year 2013.
Hechtman is a hitting partner for Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Venus Williams and Serena Williams. Eric enjoys teaching all levels but specializes in fitness, technique and strategy at the intermediate to advance level.