As you might already know, lockdown measures have been extended up to 11/4. I pray that everybody is in good health and I also start praying that the effects of the lockdown itself will not have a bigger negative impact on our health. This is why it is so important to keep our bodies and minds in shape.
One huge chance and advantage of this lockdown is the opportunity we get to spend plenty of time with our children (if you have). However, it is very important that you also save some private time for yourselves. I have found a way to create this time while allowing simultaneously my 9 year old daughter to spend time with my cell phone: the Sudoku app. Its contributing to her concentration skills and she can have access to technology (kids love this) at the same time.
However, today I am writing about being prepared for any given occasion. We are witnessing how even the well-off world is not prepared for situations like we are living now. On a government level, funds have been spent on other fields other than healthcare, so we are running behind the events to close the gaps.
In the world of tennis this means that the ball (= virus) got us on the “wrong foot”. You get caught on the wrong foot when you are not well prepared and or moving badly on the court and the direction of the ball coming towards you ends up surprising you.
How can we get better on court? Firstly, we need to define preparation as the state of body and mind to react in any given situation during the course of a point. If we narrow it even further it is the so called “ready position” and the time where the “split step” occurs.
There are two things we need to develop here:
2) Movement itself
The timing is dependent on the ability to anticipate when the opponent is preparing to hit the ball, which means we have to broaden our visual perspective. During the correct timing of a split step we should be able to be slightly in the air at the very same time the opponent is touching the ball on his strings. Which means ideally, we have initiated our ready position BEFORE the opponent hit the ball (depends also on the speed of the ball).
The split step is even more important when you have less time to react, which means when at net or at the returners position.
The correct movement into ready position is instantly noticed by the differences between beginners and more advanced players if you watch someone play.
In the near future I am going to show you on our Youtube channel how you can develop a better ready position with simple teaching progressions for anticipation and movement. Until then I advise you to practice coordination skills from your home with a tool that will keep your feet working and be prepared for the ready position: The skipping rope.
Be aware that the length of the rope, when you step on it stretches up to your lower part of the chest. A 5min session is all you need!
Take care and be safe.