I was always instructed to sidestep after hitting the ball to recover for the next shot. Because of the speed in the modern game, it is much better to run towards the open court after hitting your shot. Most players hit the ball to the opening to try to get you moving. Running to the opening will help you end up close to the shot they are trying to hit. I t may also create some indecision in your opponent's mind and cause some errors. Remember to try to stop moving (split step) just prior to the opponent's swing, so you are able to react to the direction of their shot. The steps that you take after you hit your shot (your recovery) will give you a head start for the next ball you will hit. If there seem to be a lot of balls hit behind you, your recovery has accomplished what you want. It is much more difficult for players to hit balls behind you, or to the same side of the court you are on, and win the point. Show them you are going to take away the opening and force your opponent to come up with a more complicated strategy. This will result in more unforced errors on their end, and help you stay in the points that require a lot of running.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Professional, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, MyHamptonsPro and Baron’s Cove Resort In Sag Harbor, NY. Steve is also a Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For questions about lessons, clinics, or coaching, please go to the Traveling Tennis Pros Tennis Lessons Arizona page or contact us.