When I was first preparing for the USPTA exam back about a million years ago I was in a two day seminar conducted by Jack Barnaby, the tennis coach at Harvard University. He said something that has stuck with me all these years, he said, “tennis is forty percent in the head, forty percent in the feet and twenty percent hitting the ball“. He’s was right then and he’s right now. (Google his name, you will find it interesting) If the mind is not concentrating on the correct form and the feet are not moving fast enough or correctly to be in the right position before contact, what chance does the shot have when you are hitting the ball, slim to none!
There are more feet shuffling than crossing during ground strokes. If the oncoming shot is not pulling you extremely wide to either side, in other words, the ball is in the center two thirds of the court, practice learning to shuffle to the ball, you may need to take a cross over step at first and then shuffle. By using this technique you will keep yourself more upright, compact and balanced. Plus, there should be a natural shoulder rotation needed for a correct stroke, especially if you use the closed stance. As important is the shuffle back to the center of the court in between your shots. This is a slide shuffle facing the net as you return. The problem of crossing the feet is you run the risk of being wrong footed if the ball is returned from where you are returning from.
You want to be moving in between your shots, don’t just stand flat footed, it takes too long to start moving initially when the opponent hits the ball. Be on the balls of your feet and keep flexible by lightly moving back and forth from one foot to the other.
When attempting the overhead move quickly to get under the ball, if you are in the right position and you swing and miss the ball, it should hit you smack on the nose. The ball is struck directly over head-thus the name-overhead. If the ball is in front of you and there is not enough time to get under it, stay behind it and bounce the ball, then hit the overhead.
If right handed step on the left leg for the forehand volley and step on the right leg for the backhand.
The split step is used before the return of serve and right before the volley if approaching the net. Again, there should be some light bouncing when waiting for a serve, as the opponent begins reaching to hit the serve you want to have a slight hop forward landing evenly on the balls of the feet so you can now quickly move either way while moving forward for your return. The split step for the volley is made right before the opponent hits the ball as you are moving in. The split step will stop you from running through the volley and allow you to stretch to either side if needed.