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Hardscrabble Scramble
February 1999 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Don't Be A Heel!

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Mike Whittington

A little tip to get you more prepared is to make sure your heels never hit the ground once you are inside the service line. Being on your toes helps you to be prepared to move to the forehand or backhand side as well as help you move forward for that low volley or back for that difficult lob. Many times players will run to the net only to get flatfooted and in a defensive position. You want to remember that you are going to the net to win the point and not just to be court furniture! Once you get in an offensive position on the court you need to do your best to hit offensive shots. Staying back on your heels keeps you from being prepared and has you in a position where you are waiting on the ball. A good player knows that she needs to go to the ball rather than waiting on the ball coming to her.

Think of stepping on hot coals once you get to the net! Keep those feet active and ready to go. You might have all the other parts of your net game working just fine except you aren't really ready to volley or move for lobs. Watch the players on tour and you'll see some happy feet. They make everything look so effortless because their good footwork keeps them ready and in a good position. Staying on the balls of your feet rather than your toes should also make you more aggressive by allowing you to transfer your weight forward into the incoming ball.

Now think about whom you would want as an opponent or a partner? Would it be flat footed Felecia or toe tappin' Tina? I would definitely like to see the flat footed one as an opponent, and have the ready to move, aggressive player as a partner. Don't be a heel -- stay on your toes and I bet you'll see a foot of progress!

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Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


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