The Footwork of Roger Federer

alt

One of the most overlooked aspects of Federer's game is his footwork. The balance he displays throughout his body - the balance which is the foundation of every play he makes on the court - starts with his feet. Roger Federer is a near-perfect case study of the graceful and efficient use of footwork in tennis.


Never a Wasted Move
Whether he's on the attack or the defensive, Federer has a unique way of positioning his body to make the most out of every step. When he is returning with a forehand, for instance, his split-step occurs the moment he sees his opponent strike the ball. He moves to the right with a seemingly light bounce, but as he pushes off with his left leg and lands on his right foot, he's already setting himself up for the return to open court. When he hits his forehand, his body is almost straight - not only the perfect posture to strike the ball, but also the ideal position to pivot and return to his left, to the open court.

This efficiency of movement not only puts him in the perfect position to recover, it also conserves his energy. And any player of tennis knows that when a game goes into extra sets, fatigue and strength are just as big factors as technique.

A Chess Player In Motion
Unlike many players, you never catch Federer scrambling across the court to chase down the ball. One of the keys to his success is being able to anticipate the trajectory of the ball and reach it with maximum efficiency. But it doesn't end there. He also is able to anticipate where his opponent will hit the ball next. Like a great chess player, Federer is always a few moves ahead of his opponent.

But many players have this ability. In fact, I would say most avid fans of tennis have the ability to watch a game and play out a point a few moves ahead. But Federer has the footwork - and this is his unique contribution to this era of power-house tennis - to move across the court fluidly and artfully. He's always aware of his position and the position of his opponent, and especially that of the ball.

Artful Efficiency
Take Federer's backhand: when he reaches the ball, his footwork has already put him in a position of perfect posture for both power and control. But when he strikes his backhand, his body moves upward in an almost exaggerated way. This stops his sideways momentum. His left foot never moves past his right foot and this technique results in a faster recovery.

Roger Federer may not have the fastest serve in the game or the most powerful net game, but there is a reason the Swiss is a perennial top-ranked player. Next time you watch him play, do yourself a favor and watch his secret weapon: his footwork.

Robert Boyd, Managing Director of SportsEquip and an expert in the equipment & surfaces used by elite sportsmen & athletes. Robert has been in the industry for over 25 years providing football goals, tennis nets & cricket equipment to schools, clubs & the general public

 

alt
Jul 20, 2015

Managing Progress and Expectation

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
One of the most difficult jobs for a coach is managing expectation. Expecting too little of a player or too much can be equally damaging to a… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

Mental approach to five-set match

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
Read and remember, or even take on court to read: These tips were originally developed as a help for players about to play a Grand Slam or Davis… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

Ego vs Self-esteem

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
David Sammel's theory of ego: "I have the belief that in order to succeed, one should first build up the ego to muster the drive and ambition to… Read more...
alt
Jul 20, 2015

Psychological warfare

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
The art of being able to rock your opponent and sow a seed of doubt is crucial to success in tennis. I call this “finding a way to make a… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

Preparation checklist

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
Preparation checklist. This is a quick list you can go through to see if you are ready to play. 1) Am I in the right mood for playing? Answer… Read more...
alt
Jul 20, 2015

Locker-room power

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
Would it surprise you to learn that many matches, at all levels of the game from the youngest juniors to highest touring pros, are won or lost… Read more...
alt
Jul 20, 2015

Locker-room power: the next step

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
Consolidating locker-room power: I will begin with a brief outline of LRP, which was the subject of a previous article. Locker-room power is the… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

Mental Training

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
Basic Principles If you do not think you need to improve your mental approach, you are already a top 50 player. Success at a high level is… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

The Importance of a Pre Match Routine

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
One of the most striking things when watching juniors play is just how under-prepared a lot are when match time approaches. So often we see… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

Winning Focus

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
Change Your Attitude So you want to win matches, but you do not know how? You must change your attitude to matches right now. The objective is… Read more...
alt
Jul 20, 2015

Becoming Mentally Tougher in Matches

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
This article is designed to help serious players develop a routine in their preparation for matches, so they can improve their consistency of… Read more...
Default Image
Jul 20, 2015

Dealing with Cheating

in Mental Strength by David Sammel
If you feel you are being cheated and you can keep focused and still play good tennis then that is the best solution. Sometimes this is very… Read more...