Working on Your Tennis Grips and Footwork

Photo_Preston JacksonPreston Jackson
USPTA/PTR Certified Professional
Head Tennis Professional at Potomac Woods Swim & Tennis Club
Staff Professional at Pauline Betz Addie Indoor Tennis Center & Wheaton Indoor Tennis Center
Phone: 240-460-3981

To make the best use of your tennis practice time, it’s important to focus on something specific, such as your grip, footwork, strokes or serves, instead of randomly hitting the ball. Grips and footwork aren’t often on the minds of many tennis players on or off the court but it is important to recognize how and when to adjust them.

The perfect time to adjust grips is when working with young players or adults first learning to hit the ball, experimenting on what works best for them. However, as an intermediate adult or more experienced player, a change in grip may not be such a good idea, even if pros critique your grip and want you to change it. My experience has shown a resistance to change that can negatively impact your game and consistency. Instead, a better way to work with intermediate or better players is to work on refining techniques and adjusting the way play to accommodate one’s grip.

Footwork is as important as your tennis grip. Many have asked, “What is the best way to get to the ball: crossing over the feet (left to right–right hander then approach with an open stance or right to left-left hander, then approach with an open stance) or shuffling (side-stepping)?” Most of us will shuffle, which will cause us to reach the ball at the back. I am an advocate of crossing over, which will take you directly to the ball instead of reaching it from behind. This will facilitate hitting a cross-court shot and offer a better opportunity to hit the ball at angles away from your opponent.


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