by Scott Devoy
Players starting out at the 3.0 level tend to spend a lot of time so focused on the ball that they chase it all over the court. This leads to over-running the ball, getting too close and a lot of situations where players, run, stop and then try to hit a shot. At this level there is some inefficiency in the movement—time is spent watching where the ball has gone, then reacting after the other player has played a shot. To progress through this level, players are encouraged to spend time on basic drills and ghosting, to work on movement patterns, rhythm/timing and reading what the ball is doing.
As players gain more experience from time on court and reach the next level, movement begins to change again. Players need to focus on setting the T and working on reading the ball. As you set the T and can read where the ball is going, timing becomes better and the use of the lunge becomes more prevalent. To help with controlling the ball, the use of the split step* from the T is something that is important with generating momentum and helping stay balanced through the striking of the ball. The use of the lunge helps players stay connected to the center of the court making the recovery to the T shorter.
As you have reached the 5.0 level you have started to master the lunge and recovery. The split step will help with being able to set the T further up the court, allowing you to take the ball out of the air and apply pressure by taking time away from your opponent. Being able to ‘hold’ the T longer, becoming more explosive from the middle means that you have to become comfortable playing off both legs. Using the ‘traditional’ foot at this level takes time, and often when you are playing higher up the court you do not have that time available.
Five Keys For better movement:
- Being able to read where the ball will end up. Not over-committing to chasing it around the court
- The use of the ‘*split step’ to generate momentum, timing and balance
- Using the lunge to remain balanced through your shot
- Trailing leg remains connected to the center line of the court.
- Being able to play off both legs on either side of the court.
Remember, if you can control your body, you will control the racquet which means you will control the ball!