Are you an aggressive player that looks for every opportunity
to get to the net and put pressure on your opponent? If you
are, and you are successful, then you realize the value of the
split step. The split step is that crucial transition that
gets you from a running or off balance position back to the
ready position. Many times when players are missing shots
they only look at the mechanics of the stroke. You will find
that being in good position and having good balance is just as
important. Getting in your split step allows you to have
balance and thus execute a fundamentally sound volley.
Aggressive net players are sometimes so concerned with getting
to the net that they completely forget the split step and run
through the volley. This can be effective if the volley is
hit right to your racquet but otherwise can cause you to dump
the ball into the net or sail the ball long.
The timing of the split step is very important and best done as
your opponent makes contact with the ball. This allows you to
move in every direction to cover his/her shot. A small hop to
get you back into the ready position will help you remain in
control. Players that wait too late for the split step find
themselves unable to reach even the closest volleys.
Watch any top player and you'll notice how their footwork allows
them to hit those great shots. Try watching just their footwork
rather than where their shot goes. If your shot is fast to your
opponent you might find that your split step is in mid-court and
not actually that close to the net. However, having good
balance and being farther away from the net can actually be more
beneficial than being close but unable to hit the volley
correctly. Work on your split step in your matches and you'll
see your net game improve.