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Which foot forward?

Published: 19 Jul 2008 - 16:33 by doubleDOT

Updated: 25 Jul 2008 - 07:50

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I've found that during a game I have to make a concious effort to put the front foot forward, the "non-classical" footwork comes more naturally. Even when ghosting, if I put my front foot forward, I'm not able to bend down and lunge as far as when I stick to the "non-classical" method.  (This is for the forehand shots only. For the backhand I think everybody puts the front foot forward and that works pretty well for me as well)


However, all the coaches and players I've talked to have asked me to stick to the classical method when ghosting. Their argument is that the pros put the other foot forward because its quicker and they are more balanced. But beginners still need to achieve their level of balance.




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From rippa rit - 24 Jul 2008 - 20:13   -   Updated: 25 Jul 2008 - 07:50

Here is Boswell with a very closed stance on the forehand  It probably was not his preferred hitting position but it worked for that shot.

This shot of Boswell hitting a backhand, moving forward, shows the swing with the elbow well forward, indicating a loss of power, however the racket and body are well balanced.  This is an advanced skill being able to adapt to the situation and still do a good return.

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From rippa rit - 21 Jul 2008 - 08:05   -   Updated: 21 Jul 2008 - 16:07

DD - you posted up a good example of ghosting footwork done by Razik.   That is a good model to follow and clearly explained.  Whatever is more comfortable for you I would recommend.  Also, when hitting off the non-preferred foot there will be more shoulder rotation to compensate for the lack of weight transfer with the feet. This is what I would be doing to get started:

  • Firstly, just run around the court swinging your racket without much structure, to warm up. Then get a bit more structured in what you are going to do or you will get all muddled up.
  • Put some, say 4 balls, at various position within the court (keep changing them around every few minutes) to assist the ghosting movement/footwork.  These diagrams will be helpful in setting up a series of movements.
  • You will find sometimes you will be in position a metre from the ball on the front foot, and other times on the non-preferred foot, but the main criteria to controlling the swing and the shot will be your balance
  • Be sure whatever position you land in to swing, that you have options, eg straight drive, cross court. 
  • To make it easier set out a series of shots before starting the ghost rally, eg front forehand deep drive, back forehand boast from deep, backhand front a deep rail drive, backhand back corner a boast.  Go through the middle of the court on your pathway to the ball. 
  • The number of steps and which foot you land will depend to some extent on the length of the strides, and the number of steps. So be it, if you are not on the preferred foot or non-preferred foot, so long as you are not too close to the ball, have the racket ready, have a predetermined shot (including a front wall or side wall target) with no hopping and skipping and shuffling to get the feet in position you cannot go wrong.

I can see/feel, you are having trouble with this ghosting concept, and that is normal, as players feel a real goat without a ball whizzing around the court, and the focus is on the movement and balance during play, and that is a real shock realising how awkward the "dance" is.....just get started on it, and don't be hard on yourself and it will all come together in a few weeks.

PS - If you are taking a long low stride and feel unbalanced it will be a matter of building up more strength in the legs so a bit of up hill jogging/walking/running, and stair climbing will help. This ghosting will also build up more strength in time as well.

This article Open v Closed stance will throw a bit more light on this topic of footwork as well.


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From doubleDOT - 21 Jul 2008 - 06:58

I've gone through the relevant content but I still don't understand which foot I should put forward while ghosting.


I mean I know how it should be during a game from watching videos of pros.


I guess my original question should have been whether I should practice the footwork I'll adopt during the game or stick to practicing the footwork as it is in the book (front foot always forward).

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From rippa rit - 19 Jul 2008 - 17:42   -   Updated: 20 Jul 2008 - 19:07

There has been previous discussion on this topic, and I have a couple of links, from the Relevant Content.  Always, balance is the most important thing no matter how you are when hitting the ball as is very evident in the gallery  shots at this link.

After you read these articles let us know if you are clear on what applies to you. .

PS: In this Gold video you will see backhand drive footwork with equal balance as the ball rebounds off the back wall before being struck.  From these links you can see footwork that applies, eg while moving forward, while moving backwards, while waiting for a backwall rebound, all with slightly different movement patterns and preferred footwork..

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