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  1. #1

    question about split step

    Will someone please clarify the split step. Sometimes when I try to split step, it seems like I don't get moving in the right direction after splitting and I feel like I'm just standing there. Am I trying it too early? When am I supposed to split step for the return of serve?
    Thanks for any info.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    707
    Quote Originally Posted by energizer bunny View Post
    Will someone please clarify the split step. Sometimes when I try to split step, it seems like I don't get moving in the right direction after splitting and I feel like I'm just standing there. Am I trying it too early? When am I supposed to split step for the return of serve?
    Thanks for any info.
    Good Evening -

    You may have noticed I moved your Post to the Tennis Tips & Techniques section not because you did anything wrong but because this is actually the appropriate place for say, Tennis Tips & Techniques

    Then I decided to wait and allow other Members to chime in and help you out but it appears everyone is probably watching Sunday night's Football Games. So the Split Step is actually an easy concept to grasp and I'm wondering if you might be giving it far more weight than necessary.

    Of all the Professional Players I've enjoyed over the years, none gave me more pleasure in watching the Split Step than Steffi Graf-Agassi (I'm still upset that she didn't wait for me a little longer)

    Purpose - Balance plain & simple

    Advantage - Ability to move in either direction at a moment's notice and btw that notice is basically determining which direction the ball is coming.

    Physical Position - On the balls of your feet, legs slightly bent and I mean slightly but one should try avoiding having your legs straight and locked at anytime during Tennis. If you watch me play, you'd notice I hardly ever stand flat footed at any moment of a point being played. I'm constantly bouncing on my feet making short little adjustments determining where my plan of attack is going to be. And all of these little hops & adjustments are various forms of the - yeah you guessed it - Split Step.

    So in your Post you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by Energizer Bunny
    it seems like I don't get moving in the right direction after splitting and I feel like I'm just standing there
    I'm going out on a limb here and assuming you might be a Female Tennis Player. Please forgive if you're not but I guess I find it difficult to think one of our Male Members would regard himself as a Bunny. Anyway, when I was a younger person, the girls in my neighborhood played a street game called Hop-Scotch. I think I even tried it once but didn't care for it at all. Anyway, the foot motion you do in the game exactly the same as the Split Step when you hop upward and land with bought feet spread across two separate squares.

    Quote Originally Posted by Energizer Bunny
    When am I supposed to split step for the return of serve?
    Although the split step isn't reserved solely for the Return of Serve, that is the most appropriate place for its' use for sure. So Ms. Bunny, picture this if you will;

    1. I'm about to serve.
    2. You're standing sometimes bent over twirling your racquet in your hand waiting for me to stop bouncing the ball 20 times B4 I toss it up.
    3. Now I've just tossed the ball in the air for my strike.
    4. it's now your turn to physically react because once my racquet makes contact, you gotta do something but you don't know where the serve is coming. Is it wide, down the Tee, etc. [Anticipation]
    5. At that moment of contact is where your body tells you to HOP and when you land, your feet will be split with the heels of your feet off the court.
    6. This will give you an excellent opportunity to move rapidly to one direction or another if the need to get to the ball is necessary.
    7. Even if it's not necessary and the serve is coming right at you where all you need do is pull back your racquet and let it rip, the Split Step will allow you the balance you need to make the transition easily.

    If by chance you have any tapes of Steffi Graf, check it out and how she applies her Split Step but if not, all the Pro Players apply the Split Step Male & Female.

    If this doesn't help I'll try another approach
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  3. #3

    split step

    Thank you very much for clarifying the split step.
    How do you get children to split step? Is it by reiterating why to split step?
    How high off the ground is the split step? I'm not trying to argue because I want to learn how to split step correctly. I was taught to bend my knees(and I didn't learn anything about splitstepping) and stay bent while hitting which I now see is incorrect. I have seen pictures of the pros in the last few months and they all split step. I don't know why I didn't notice it before.
    I also see that the pros push off the ground or oftentimes jump while hitting.
    Is this something I should try myself and also teach children to do? I have worked with our own children for many years and this past year have taught other children. Not because I'm a great player, but because I love children and love to teach(and learn.)
    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    707
    Quote Originally Posted by energizer bunny View Post
    Thank you very much for clarifying the split step.
    How do you get children to split step? Is it by reiterating why to split step?
    How high off the ground is the split step? I'm not trying to argue because I want to learn how to split step correctly. I was taught to bend my knees(and I didn't learn anything about splitstepping) and stay bent while hitting which I now see is incorrect. I have seen pictures of the pros in the last few months and they all split step. I don't know why I didn't notice it before.
    I also see that the pros push off the ground or oftentimes jump while hitting.
    Is this something I should try myself and also teach children to do? I have worked with our own children for many years and this past year have taught other children. Not because I'm a great player, but because I love children and love to teach(and learn.)
    Thanks.
    Well I'm beginning to think and I could be wrong, that you are not allowing for one's natural instincts to play an intricate part of this movement. The SS is basically a small hop to readjust your feet wide enough to provide good balance and the purpose of slightly bending your knees is to project your body to which ever direction you'll need to move to.

    Let's not confuse jump with hop. I'd say your feet don't leave the ground anymore than 1 to 2 inches from the surface. So I'm going to ask this question of you.

    When you are preparing yourself for a serve, what are you doing while waiting for your opponent to serve the ball. Now really think about your body at this moment. What is your body doing? Do you have your legs together standing upright and tall or are your legs spread as if someone could pick you up and drop you right down onto the saddle of a horse? Well that's the point,

    So if you were to practice standing up straight and hoping into a saddle sitting stance, over & over again, that is what you'd be doing going into the Split Step. You are splitting your legs apart from being close together.

    As for kids, I've personally never seen a child have a difficult time applying this method but I decided to search the Internet and low & behold, I found hundreds of videos regarding this action all for your viewing pleasure.

    The Split Step

    Seeing is always better. In order to show you any Videos of the High School Team, I have to sign wavers and I'm not allowed to Post them on any Public Medium such as this or YouTube, etc.
    The only acceptable loss is when your opponent was better than you on that given day.
    It is never acceptable to lose when your opponent was not.

  5. #5

    Oscar On The Split Step

    Oscar asked me to post this as he is currently traveling:

    Dear Energizer Bunny,

    The timing is very important on the split step. If you do it early, you'll lose the forward motion and it is hard to restart from there. Same for the serve. So the waiting to do the split step is the answer. It should turn into something natural, just a bunny hop, to help you change directions on the volley, to start moving on the return of serve.

    Oscar
    Last edited by Tennis Angel; 10-23-2008 at 02:43 PM.
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
    Discuss The Wegner Method here at TW in the MTM forum or visit www.tennisteacher.com for more info.

  6. #6

    Lift Up Through The Stroke

    Quote Originally Posted by energizer bunny View Post
    Thank you very much for clarifying the split step...I also see that the pros push off the ground or oftentimes jump while hitting. Is this something I should try myself and also teach children to do? I have worked with our own children for many years and this past year have taught other children. Not because I'm a great player, but because I love children and love to teach(and learn.)
    Thanks.
    From "PLAY BETTER TENNIS IN 2 HOURS" by Oscar Wegner (p.20):

    "MYTH: Stay down through the stroke.
    FACT: Lift up through the stroke.

    It is natural for your body to lift up during a swing. Lifting up helps accelerate the stroke or extend your reach. In some situations you may need to stay down to reach the ball, for example, if it is short or low. However, under normal circumstances staying down may trap your swing rather than facilitate it. Top players develop a feel for the best position for a given shot, whether it is lifting up or staying down."
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
    Discuss The Wegner Method here at TW in the MTM forum or visit www.tennisteacher.com for more info.

  7. #7
    Thanks.
    I was split stepping too early and then waiting.
    I'll work on it.
    I watched a youtube video of Steffi Graf and saw her split step before almost every shot.
    Why isn't this taught?
    I have another question about leaving the ground while hitting(pushing off and jumping).
    Is it something to teach children? Is it something adults should try? If so, how?
    Thanks.

  8. #8
    I double-checked with Oscar and he endorses lifting up through the stroke:

    "The lift that you see in kids, and in many of the top pros, is to aid the arm in accelerating. Just the same way you can accelerate a pendulum by lifting the fulcrum (the point from which it is hanging), the natural tendency is to lift the shoulder."
    Last edited by Tennis Angel; 10-26-2008 at 01:44 PM.
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
    Discuss The Wegner Method here at TW in the MTM forum or visit www.tennisteacher.com for more info.

  9. #9
    Ok about lifting up through the stroke.
    I'm asking should children be encouraged and taught to jump when hitting forehands and backhands or should they wait until they are older and stronger to leave the ground when hitting?
    Thanks.

  10. #10

    Natural Movement

    Quote Originally Posted by energizer bunny View Post
    Ok about lifting up through the stroke.
    I'm asking should children be encouraged and taught to jump when hitting forehands and backhands or should they wait until they are older and stronger to leave the ground when hitting?
    Thanks.
    Yes, let a child jump when hitting forehands and backhands. Encourage the child from the very beginning to move naturally to the ball. The important thing on groundstrokes is waiting for the bounce before initiating the swing, then lifting up and finishing over the shoulder. This is what the pros do. The child's body will shift naturally from right to left (right-handed forehand) and visa versa on the backhand. If this natural weight-shift and lifting movement takes him off the ground that's OK, but don't take the child's attention away from the ball by focusing on what his feet are doing. Just let him react naturally and instinctively and discover for himself what works or not. Emphasize waiting and finishing. You have observed these movements in the pros; they are moving instinctively and not thinking about bending, lifting, jumping, sidestepping or pivoting, they are just reacting to the ball. Let the child do the same thing.
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
    Discuss The Wegner Method here at TW in the MTM forum or visit www.tennisteacher.com for more info.

  11. #11
    Thank you.
    That confirms my inclination.
    Is the path of the one-handed slice across the front of the body or more out towards the target on the follow through?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by energizer bunny View Post
    Thank you.
    That confirms my inclination.
    Is the path of the one-handed slice across the front of the body or more out towards the target on the follow through?
    Across the front and right side of the body.
    How good can your game get? You too can play like the Pros with The Wegner Method.
    Discuss The Wegner Method here at TW in the MTM forum or visit www.tennisteacher.com for more info.

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