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Tennis Footwork Tip: The 4 Movement Zones

After covering ready and read in the first two
videos we now move on to the third part in the five R’s of movement and that
is the react part. Do you know the four different movements zones and how you
should move into each zone? Each zone requires different movement patterns and
getting this right is how the best players in the world make their movement
look so effortless! In today’s video Ean will explain basic concepts about the
four different movements zones and then he’ll show you in detail how you can
practice efficient movement in the rhythmical zone. Let’s go out to the
court and get started! Okay that brings us to the react part of the movement module. So when you start to react to the ball you need
to of course know where you’re reacting to that’s why understanding or
anticipating where the ball is going to bounce is so critical! That’s the first
thing. That’s what you saw me doing in the previous video but that’s
critical because it determines what type of footwork you’re going to use. So as
far as reaction to the ball you have to understand that the court is divided
into different areas. I mean sometimes you have to move laterally, sometimes you
have to move diagonally, sometimes you have to move back in different
directions. As far as movement laterally I put the cones out here for you so you
can see we divide the court up in 4 different movement areas. So if from the
middle of the court this cone here would represent the the ‘step out area’ or ‘the
step out zone’. The step out movement zone. Now against good players you don’t
really get too many balls in your step out zone. Good players
will try to get you into the other areas. They’re not going to keep the ball or
hit the ball down the middle of the court but it happens! It happens so you
need to understand that if a ball is in your step out zone, it’s a simple step out to get to get behind the ball.
If a ball comes in this area if a ball comes over this cone, now we’re
moving into what we call a ‘rhythmical zone’. Okay so the rhythm zone is critical
because you don’t really want to cross your feet over to that area. You
want to keep your feet apart so the it’s very important that you understand
that’s why we showed you all these drills about how to respect your base. If
you don’t need to move your feet together or cross them over you want to
try to avoid that at all costs! You want to try to keep your feet apart and try
to respect your base! Of course the opponent is not gonna always allow you
to do that. The opponent is gonna try to run you to get you to cross over and
bring your feet together. The opponent wants you to be off balance. So when
you’re moving to a rhythmical zone then it’s a simple double rhythm
action. So if you watch my feet here! As I land on my outside leg
I simply go double rhythm to the right. Can you see? It’s not this kind of thing,
it’s not this kind of thing. It’s definitely not this kind of thing when
I’m moving into this zone. Now when the ball starts to go beyond my rhythmical
zone here! Then of course I cannot shuffle anymore, I cannot
use rhythm steps to get to that cone because it’s going to take forever! So
that zone we call the ‘crossover zone’ but basically what it means is if I’m in the
middle of the court I’m now gonna start to turn my feet and drive a cross to get
to this cone. Rhythm steps will not get me there anymore so I have to
make a pivot here push against the ground and drive to get to that cone.
Alright now if I have to go beyond that then of course now it becomes a sprint
right so that’s why we call that the running zone and the most effective
way run somewhere is of course to do a
‘drop step’. So if you watch me carefully I’m going to start in a fairly
wide base I’m going to split step in a wide base this foot it’s gonna drop
under my body! You see so I pull this foot under my body to give myself almost
like creating a starting block here right on the ball of my foot so I can
start this sprint to the ball that’s far away! Let’s look at the rhythmical
zone next! If you remember the step out zone was here the rhythmical zone was
the next one. Rhythmical zone in different directions.
I think no matter what level you play especially as as recreational players
you want to definitely learn rhythm steps. Rhythm steps are key to good
movement and comfort zone why because the rhythm steps will give you a fixed
center of gravity. Remember I talked about the importance of establishing and
maintaining your base and the only way to really do that in a comfort zone is
by using rhythm steps and rhythm steps not the type of rhythm step that
will bring your feet together but the kind of rhythm step that we spoke about
before, the one that’s going to maintain that base. The shorter steps that will
maintain establish and maintain that balance base between your feet. So
if I have to move to the right, Notice how I move my my feet out to this
ball, I move in rhythm steps and I get my foot on the inside of the ball but
you don’t really see this kind of thing and you don’t see this kind of thing. I
simply push my leg out and this foot just follows and notice it doesn’t
follow the toe! I hear a lot of coaches teaching that toe
to the heel…NO! This one actually follows in front so I
can get more into a semi-open or later even in neutral stance but if I
need to move back the same thing. I land on my left foot like we decided and I
shuffle back in rhythm steps this way. If I need to
move to this ball I move in rhythm steps this way if I need to move forth I land
and I’m moving in rhythm steps this way. If I need to go to the back end I land
on my left foot and I move in choppy steps this way and do you notice how much
balance it gives me because I’m using small rhythm steps
my feet are staying under my body. We see this so much! Trust me not just
recreational tennis. I have advanced players that don’t quite understand
balance, they will go here to this type of shot and lunge into the ball and
the feet separate like this far before they hit the ball! Okay let’s let’s do
drills that I do in the rhythmical zone. Okay so the rhythmical zone is
important that’s why we’re going to do a few extra videos on this just to show
you. So in this one I’m going to show you the lateral movement side-to-side so I’m
gonna bring Elizabeth in and I want you to see how she uses rhythm steps to a
rhythm zone. So at first we’re gonna stand still I’m gonna have her stand
still. She’s not gonna move and she’s gonna catch these balls off the outside
foot like we did before in the step out zone. So I want her to use the right foot
on the right hand, go double rhythm to the right and you’ll notice
when she steps out she’ll step out heel first. This is another common problem we
see when people step out they use the toe. Why? Because most of us were taught
that you know to stay on our toes which is not incorrect. Toes actually meaning
the balls of the feet but when you start to move it actually becomes a little bit
of a heel sport. So you notice she’s gonna step out on her heel on
this side and this side. So I’m gonna toss her the ball to the right and I want her to take
two steps! The right foot goes first the left foot follows but the left foot doesn’t
slide all the way up to the right foot so we can respect that distance so we
can be quick! This makes you very slow when you step out and use your feet
slide together. I call it ‘inchworm movement’ you know
those inchworms when they stretch their bodies out and they bring the body
together. So step out, slide together. Step out slide together we call it heel
clicking you can see how my heels click they come together. That
makes you slow! So I want her to go rhythm steps to the right just show me real
quick. Step out to your right without the ball, double rhythm. That’s all I want her
to do now so when I toss her the ball I want her to catch it like that doing
a double rhythm step. Double rhythm! Back and to the left…step out double
rhythm. Perfect! Step to the right…double rhythm! Back. Step to the left…double
rhythm! Back and you notice she’s standing still at first,
she’s doing it stationary first I don’t want her in the beginning to get all
bouncy I want to make sure the form is correct first and then we can go to the
rest of it. Now I want her to stand still again, I want her to do rhythm steps but
this time I’m going to ask her to step down so getting behind the ball with the
outside leg but then stepping down with the front leg! Again from a
stationary position watch and rhythm…. down! Okay quicker steps. Rhythm, down!
Quicker steps. Very good! Okay and when you do it
well you’ll find that in order to get balanced before you catch you have
to speed your feet up. Another common problem players have is to slow the
feet down actually to move at the speed of the ball. So if I toss about 1 mile
per hour you want to actually move at 2 miles per hour. When you play the game
somebody hits the ball at 10 miles per hour you attempt to move at 20 you try
to go at double the pace of the ball. It’s not always possible but
that’s what you’re trying to do you’re always trying to beat the ball to the
bounce that means you have to use fast feet! So I’m going to ask her to do
the same thing again but this time I want her rhythm to change!
I want her rhythm to be like this…you hear that? Fast feet so it looks like this
from the front. So I stay close to the ground but you can hear my feet,
the squeaking noise. It’s because I use fast feet and I’m not
sliding my feet together. So listen to the pros feet when you watch a pro
tournament how many times they squeak the feet and that’s the reason. So
do it for me again but do it with slightly faster feet this time. Ready and
fast feet! Very good. Back and fast feet! Very good. And two more…fast feet! Very,
very good and fast feet! Beautiful! Now we’re gonna do the
same thing again and I’m gonna use the machine again. And again
you don’t need the machine you can use your hands, if you want to practice
just let somebody stand in front of you and make it unpredictable so don’t
point right-left right-left. Have them watch you and when you point
to this side they react to that side make it a bit unpredictable so that
they don’t know exactly where you’re pointing. The machine is unpredictable
the lights don’t necessarily go right and left so you have to be alert! So what she’s gonna stand there. This time we’re gonna start to add
the ready position. Okay so we’re going to start to add ready, read, react!
So she’s gonna start bouncing she’s gonna start bouncing in place now just
do one without the machine. Just bouncing place
now when the light comes on she’s gonna try to elevate a little bit! So
when the player on that side makes contact you start to elevate like
we discussed before and then you react to the side where the light shows.
So do it again ready steps watch my hand. Read…react!
Faster feet. Watch my hand again. Ready steps…read…react! Excellent. So just
like that so now instead of me doing that she’s gonna do it on the machine.
So remember we’re in the reacting faze and we’re reacting into a
rhythmical zone so we go ready, read, react! Watch….
Ready…React! Very good. Read…react! Very good. Read…react! Very good. Read…react!
Very good! Excellent!
Okay and again you know be very patient when you do this because I
mean she’s an accomplished tennis player so when you look at
her this is not what you’re gonna look like when you first start this.
Especially if you’re not used to moving your feet like this but you have to
understand this part where the fact that you do ready steps and that you
elevate yourself a little bit. So like we discussed before that’s what’s going to
get you going. Most recreational players the reason they don’t move well is not
necessarily because they’re slow. It’s because they don’t know how to move.
They get on their heels like this they start to stand on their heels like
this waiting for the ball like this whether their at the net or on the
baseline. The weight falls into the heels and then the ball comes in and
they’re dead on their feet. You can’t react we actually see this quite a bit where
people actually step back like this. They stand like this we feed them a
ball and they step this way to go that way. So obviously if you move like that
you’re already a step and half behind a good player who reacts like
this. Every shot she makes she’s gonna be a half a step or a step in front of you.
So by the third shot you’re way

David Frank



  1. Ross Callen Posted on September 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Probably one of the best footwork videos I've ever seen, GREAT JOB!

  2. George Ryan Posted on September 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    I gotta say, this is the best series on footwork that I have seen online. Easily worth paying for.

  3. warcraft100688 Posted on September 13, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Great stuff, i want more!

  4. jamesEboi Posted on September 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    This tennis channel is the holy grail. Great instruction

  5. Sheen Qu Posted on September 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Very professional instructor. Actionable drills. Thanks for sharing.

  6. TooleyPeter Posted on September 14, 2017 at 2:34 am

    Fantastic.  Sign me up.

  7. G.H.Tennis Posted on September 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Your using the Bailey Method for movement… give credit where it is due. Good video though. From 7 years ago… good video too

  8. MrWhitianga Posted on September 15, 2017 at 12:18 am

    excellent stuff, this will really help my game, thanks

  9. JohnnyPBlues Posted on September 16, 2017 at 1:08 am

    Terrific footwork drills.  I have used them with my players and can see a great improvement.

  10. TIRI ganny Posted on September 18, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    great footwork for tennis

  11. georges mkhu Posted on September 25, 2017 at 6:45 am

    You have divided your court into zones from the centre of the court for different shots….. We recover on different areas on the court… What happens to your zones when the recovery positions Change.

  12. storm127127 Posted on September 28, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    I play 4 or 5 times a week. When should I work in fitness training exercises?

  13. TBT417 Posted on October 4, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Florian, I paid for the course but now I'm finding that OTI is posting quite a few of the videos or large parts of them which convey the concepts. I understand marketing and growth needs for a business but I feel a little disappointed that I paid for what is available in large part for free. Yes, it's not close to the complete video series that's presented in the way of modules, but there is a lot there from which a focused player with a little time can garner a lot of benefit and further, extrapolate to put together a lot of what is offered in the full set of modules (and for your business, without paying). Shorter and more well thought out teaser videos could still offer benefit to potential subscribers and lead to conversions for your business. Your content is solid and your presentations strong. My issue/question is more about the inadvertent erosion of product value for paid customers via deeper marketing videos than may be necessary to drive conversions. Seeing all those clips in the side bar creates the idea in the viewer that they are getting the whole or most of the series. The course is so good, and so deep and one of the best I've seen. Ashamed that a) more people wouldn't buy because they think they are getting it all or b) don't realize how incomplete what they are seeing is. Seems your marketing needs could be met via one or two well planned videos or edits rather than spilling of many videos or segments from your module series. Love your content and presentation along with your palpable love of the the Game. Just sharing some business side feedback.

  14. Pieter-jan Delmulle Posted on October 24, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Where is the 4 video please???

  15. Monkey Harris Posted on November 6, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    struggling to take my eyes off Elizabeth

  16. Dmytro Savytsky Posted on November 26, 2017 at 9:31 am

    This is just a kick-ass movie. I am a total newbie, but this video is just so much different from what I watched before on youtube. This guy truly looks and sounds like the one who trains future ATP starts, not just club pensioners. 🙂 Thank you, Ean and Florian!

  17. Bellero BelleroPhone Posted on November 26, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Great videos. How do we get the rest?

  18. Ryan Jang Posted on December 7, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    best footwork video!

  19. Abdo Fawzi Posted on December 12, 2017 at 10:40 am

    the best footwork videos I've ever seen , but it would be great of you if make the other 4 movement zones in detail

  20. alberto piccioni Posted on February 8, 2018 at 10:11 am

    The part talking about split steps is confusing: when you do a split step you don't know whether the next ball will arrive in the rhythmical zone or running zone.
    How can you choose to start the split step with a wide feet stance(indicated for the running zone) or normal stance (indicated for the rhythmical)?

  21. Nicolas Philbert Posted on March 6, 2018 at 4:55 am

    Good on you mate.
    Really good video. I am looking forward to having more videos.

  22. myviews Posted on April 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I think this is very intuitive if you can't step right you shouldn't be playing tennis

  23. claudia sadro Posted on May 1, 2018 at 5:49 am

    What machine are you using?

  24. Drew Branch Posted on May 3, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    This is some lekker stuff here coach

  25. Daniel Spatz Posted on May 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    great stuff! Clear! congrats! 🙂

  26. Suraj Kumar Posted on May 27, 2018 at 7:09 am

    suraj tennis coach

  27. James Peters Posted on June 29, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Awesome video! Over the years Ive learned how key movement is. Wish I had this training when I was 16!

  28. Maryia Tsernouskaia Posted on July 17, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Great expectations and nice application drill. Thank you, i will used these tips with my students 🎾🎾🎾

  29. c p Posted on July 19, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Elizabeth wow beautiful tennis player ❤️

  30. James Cupoli Posted on July 20, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Feel tennis had to hit a short pole

  31. Buki Shabi Posted on August 2, 2018 at 1:46 am

    An extremely helpful video!!

  32. Rafał Bruks Posted on September 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I would like to see the whole course. How can I obtain all videos?

  33. Nick Stiver Posted on October 17, 2018 at 6:05 am

    This guy is great

  34. W H Posted on January 18, 2019 at 8:54 am

    it doesn't get better than this! BIG THANK YOU!

  35. Petteri Aittola Posted on March 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    It would be intresting to hear why those giving thumb down are on that opinion.

  36. MuscleSheriff Posted on July 27, 2019 at 4:16 am

    Is this the last video of the series? I can't find anymore

  37. ronald melo Posted on October 8, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Great Job, Mr, Ean. At the middle court baseline, could you show how to move to different balls inside the court?

  38. Mark Tortolani Posted on October 10, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Outstanding Lesson on Split Step!