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Tennis Footwork Tip: Master The Split-Step & The Flow Split-Step

Have you mastered the split step yet? The
split step is one of the most important aspects of great movement. If you don’t
split the right way at the right time then you’ll constantly be late to the
ball. To become a great mover you need to get the technique of the split step
right, you need to get the timing right and you also need to master the critical
flow split step that all the pros constantly use! Here’s OTI Instructor Ean
Meyer explaining all of this in detail to you. Alright now we learned how to get our bodies a little bit off the ground and now the next thing we
want to work on is a split step and the moment your feet hit the ground
remember you want to be in a strong platform, there’s a strong
base so that’s a strong athletic base. So the split step again is this
another critical factor in the efficient movement. So I unweigh myself and I land
strong on the balls of my feet, many people that we work with you know will
land in this kind of position when they split but they land sort of on their
heels. So the weight is in the wrong position if you land on your heels
then it’s impossible to get off the mark. You have to make sure that when
you’re landing you’re landing in the position that allows you to move in
different directions. So that split step is very important and the timing of
the split step is critical! You want to make sure that your
feet are slightly off the ground the moment the opponent makes contact
with the ball so I think that is a critical factor for good movement it’s
the timing, most people split they they’ve taken enough lessons
to understand you’re supposed to split step but they’re not sure about the
timing of the split step and then nothing really flows, if the
timing of your split step is off, you cannot flow across the
court okay. So now I’m just going to show you a drill or two that I do to get the
timing of that split step right. It’s not as easy as it looks because once
you make a little bit more challenging, it’s easy when you do it
here but once you know the ball comes from the other side of course it becomes
much more difficult when the opponent hits from 78 feet away. So I’m
going to bring Elizabeth in I just want to show you how I do it. I use
the boxes a lot and this is another another time where I like to use the box
for the timing of the split step. So I’m gonna ask her to elevate again someone
start ask her to stand on top of the box. And I’m just gonna use the word “ball” so
she’s ready and when I say “ball” you jump in the air and “ball’. Get
your racket in front of you, get your racket ready! Ready
and “ball”. Excellent! Ready one more time! and “ball”. Very good! Okay now I’m gonna
give her a visual cue I’m gonna say ball and I’m also gonna show her the ball so
right when my hand goes up she goes up! Ready and “ball”. Very good! and “ball”. Very good! and “ball”. Very good! Alright now I’m gonna actually show her what contact looks like and this is
where this becomes really important you want to watch your opponent carefully
and when they strike the ball you want to be slightly off the ground. You don’t
want to be on the ground sometimes it’s very difficult against shots like you
know serves and when you add to net volleying then most of the time your
timing will be will be a little bit different your feet will strike the
ground at contact but ideally you want to do what she’s practicing! Watch
now I make contact and on “ball” she’s off the box and “ball”. Very good! Two more and “ball”.
Very good! One more and “ball”. That’s excellent! Okay when you watch good movers when you watch great movers
they don’t just split step, but they do what we call a flow
split. So the split step is already taking them in the direction of the
bounce. So we talked a bit about the timing of
that split step the ability to unweigh yourself and to be
a little bit off the ground at contact. Now when you watch great
movers watch them carefully. Watch the pros and and see how
they instead of splitting on both feet, how they sort of split on one foot. So they anticipate….they see the ball early, they unweigh themselves a
little bit off the ground at contact and when I see a ball coming off to
their right they will sort of land on their left foot to move to the right. So
I see a ball coming to the left they will split step on their right
foot so you can see right after I hit the ground you see how I’m already in a
unit turn, I’m already moving to the ball in a unit turn so my first reaction is
actually part of my split step. Now you can imagine the advantage of
that because you’re not only splitting you’re actually splitting
turning and moving at the same time. So that’s where the next level player
picks up half a step on his opponent every time. Go watch them carefully when
they’re in the flow of the point they they don’t do a split step like this but
they actually do what we call a flow split. They land on the opposite foot
from where the ball is so that the opposite foot can drive the leg closest
to the ball to the ball. Okay let me just show you the drills I do with my players
to teach them that flow split. We spend quite a bit of time on this
because I think it’s a very important move if you want to go to
a high level of tennis but it doesn’t matter if you’re just a recreational
player if you can get the timing of that flow split your gonna have a huge
advantage because you just gonna get to the ball so much quicker! So I’m gonna
bring Elizabeth in and we’re gonna put her on the Box just like before so that
she can unweigh. The purpose of the box is just to elevate her feet
already so she doesn’t have to think about it. So she’s on the box
and I’m gonna have her elevate her feet and first we’re gonna make it
predictable. I want her to land on her left foot and push a little bit off to
the right so we pretend the balls coming to our right so I want her to land
left and let the left leg open the right hip! Right Do it a few times. Can you see how when she lands
she doesn’t split step on both feet she actually split step on one foot, one
foot is already in the air and turned. Watch her right foot! It’s in the air
and already turned so you can understand the advantage of that flow split.
Now land on your right foot and push a little bit left! Two more….turn in the air, turn in the air yeah make sure when you
land your foot turns in the air! Land and turn in the air there you go! Alright now
we’re gonna give it a little bit more flow so I’m gonna ask her to stand
behind the Box, ignore the ladder. Step over the box and land on the right foot
so she’s gonna step on the box with her left foot, land on
the left foot and push right or step on the box with our right foot land on the
right foot and push left. Okay let’s do the left foot first! Step on the box with
your left foot land and open the hip. Perfect! One more time. Step on the box
with your left with land and push. Step on the box with your right foot.
Land and push! Okay push out a bit stronger and more turn in the air. Okay
it’s pretty good! Now once I feel she can do that then I’ll take the Box
away so I’ll start to take the box away a little bit and I want to see if she
can do it without the box. So now I want to see if she can elevate herself, land
on the right on the left foot and push to the right. So you’re gonna jump in the
air a little bit when I say “ball”. So when I say “ball” you go up in the
air you’ll land on your left foot and you push to your right. Ready and “ball”.
Very good! Ready and “ball”. One more time. And “ball”. Perfect!
Now push one step to your left open your left hip and “ball”. Very good!
And “ball”. Very good! And “ball”. Okay every time I say “ball” you can see her feet are
elevated but the box basically taught her
how to do it and you don’t have to come up much higher than that, you
don’t want to jump in the air, you just want to unweigh!
The higher you jump the more time it takes to come down then you become
slow but as I said before in the beginning it’s probably not a bad idea
to jump a little bit to give yourself that feeling! and there are actually four different movements zones on the court that require
different movement patterns. So in the next video
Ean will introduce the four different movements zones and he’ll explain in
detail how you should move in what we call the rhythmical zone which is one of
the most important zones on the court!

David Frank



  1. Daniel Gomez Posted on September 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Fabulous video !!! Thank you !!!

  2. jean huz Posted on September 11, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for the Video. One question please : during the flow the opposite Leg to the push goes underground the body or away like the girl shown ?

  3. didanhtennis Posted on September 12, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for this video. Where can I get that "box" for my players to practice that?

  4. Scott Hazlewood Posted on September 12, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Great video….but never understood why it takes 10 minutes to explain and demonstrate what could be done in under 3 minutes; even with some repetitions (regardless of your rating/level). All online instruction videos seem to do this…..

  5. MrWhitianga Posted on September 14, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    excellent explanation, cheers

  6. joan ochs Posted on October 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Very interesting and helpful., Joan

  7. Johnny Kwan Posted on January 26, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Hong kong Tennis arrangement and Training, !!25408333

  8. Charlie Ruland Posted on February 6, 2018 at 2:06 am

    Hey this is very good. This is tennis 101 but sadly many don't learn it when they're starting out.

  9. Vic Borgogno Posted on March 22, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    check this White Paper on the Split Step and the training devices and APP's

    iPhone APP

  10. BJ Miller Posted on March 26, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Good video, but I don't agree with this timing of the split step, and neither do a number of tour level players. Check Ferrer or Nadal, for example. The balls of their feet contact the court at the instant their opponent strikes the ball. Then, their knees flex, and during that split second, between contact and flex, the direction of the ball to their (and your) forehand or backhand can be picked up. I don't see players doing the land-on-one-foot split step. It's hard enough to do that if you jump from both feet to initiate the split step, but try jumping off of one foot and then taking your first step toward the ball with that same foot. I don't see players doing that, and I don't think most tennis players could do it. Furthermore, if you are in the air when your opponent strikes the ball, you will not be in contact with the earth with your knees flexed, ready to turn your shoulders and move to the ball until your opponent's shot is almost to the net. If their ball is hit with pace or if it's a serve, you are going to be late. If you are skeptical about this, get two people to watch you rally, either volleys or groundstrokes. Have one person say "hit" the instant your opponent strikes the ball: have the other person say "hit" the instant the balls of your feet hit the court. Do this until you can time your split step so both "hits" occur at the same instant. You will be amazed at how much more time you have to turn your shoulders and get into the hitting position and to move to the ball.

  11. The One Campus Project Posted on August 24, 2018 at 2:49 am

    Don't listen to anyone. video length is fine. learning is not something that needs to be efficient, it needs to be enriching.

  12. n x Posted on December 13, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    i wanna watch more videos of this girl

  13. geennaam12 Posted on January 26, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Good video. Just a question: some coaches advise you to land and push with the leg directly to the side where the ball is coming, instead. Could you please give some pro’s and con’s about this approach?

  14. Fuzz Head Posted on April 18, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Great lesson, thanks!!!

  15. Carlos Llanes Posted on May 27, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    please this is total nonsense

  16. MuscleSheriff Posted on July 25, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Is this the second video in the movement series?