Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marco Bitran: Placement and Positioning


When you hit a ball, your whole body is positioned to accomplish your shorts. The more efficiently that your feet are positioned for a return, the better you perform to effectuate the right shots. I find that playing sports like soccer helps to increase footwork skills. Another idea which might seem to "girly" for boys would be ballet. Roger Federer did not take ballet but people tend to think he is dancing on the court.

Like Roger Federer who is the world's dominant player, who started by hitting forehands that looked different than any of the other players and for top flexibility and variety in his forehand, all you have to do is look Pete Sampras. The proper footwork stance can help you cover more of the court, to recover quicker after shots, and to help you quickly get ready for the next short.

The best foot stance for each shot will be different, because different factors are involved, such as the grip, angle and pace of the ball, and each player's court position. There are several feet positions that all players use today: open, semi-open, neutral, closed, and open backhand stance.

1. Open Stance:

For right handed players, you start with a back swing, where you are rotating your shoulders and hips, about 90 degrees. Your weight must be shifted to the outside foot and remain balanced for the follow through and recovery. In other words, the open stance allows players to load up on the hip and explode into the shot, producing forehand and backhand winners.

2. Semi-Open Stance:

For right handed, forehand players, you must start your back swing by rotating your upper body at the same time. Next, you must step to the right with the right foot and also shift your weight to the right foot also. This stance differs from the open stance because as a player, you must step into the court with your left foot because it helps you keep a firm foundation after you hit the ball. Your weight must stay on the outside foot until your have completed your stroke. For left-handed players, use your opposite feet.

3. Neutral Stance:

This stance, everyone knows and likes, because you can use it for both a forehand and a backhand shot. Plus, this is your staring point for all foot positions. This stance is the one you see, nearly all players using when they are pivoting side by side on the court. With the neutral stance, you are preparing for the back swing by rotating your hips, trunk, and shoulders. You also must step out with your right foot and begin to shift your weight. After your right foot step out, you then step forward with your left foot, toward the net to begin executing a forward approach of your swing. Your weight must be kept on your front foot until your stroke is complete through to the recovery. To finish your execution, your right back foot will be brought forward and around to maintain your strength and balance. For left handed players, do the opposite.

4. Closed Stance:

This stance can be used for both backhand shots and the forehand, but it is best used when you are running down a ball or if you are forced wide. Where are your feet - your left foot is your balanced, outside foot taking on all your weight, because you have been caught off balance.

5. Open Backhand Stance:

When you need a smooth swing, use this stance. Your weight should be placed firmly on the left foot, with your shoulders turned before the ball crosses the net. Remember to keep your eye on the ball until your stroke is executed or else, you will lose power causing a miss hit.

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