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By: Larry Hodges, USATT Certified National Coach

Illustrations courtesy of Tamasu Co., copyright 2001.

Two-Step Footwork to the left.

Two-Step Footwork to the right.

There are several styles of footwork for various types of moves, but the most popular and versatile is called two-step footwork.  It can be used for nearly all moves, especially side to side, and is used by most of the best players in the world as the easiest and most efficient.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty about two-step footwork, a few general principles for all footwork should be noted. First, weight should be on the balls of the feet. This keeps the player ready to move in all directions. Second, stay in a slight crouch, knees slightly bent. This enables a player to spring in any direction very quickly.

Two-Step Footwork

Two-step footwork is ideal for moving side to side to get to the ball. It can be used to cover the wide forehand corner with the forehand, to cover the wide backhand corner with the backhand, and to cover the wide backhand corner with the forehand. (Note that when covering the wide backhand with the backhand, a single step with the near foot will usually do.)

Two-step footwork is pretty much identical whether you are going to the left or to the right. Here we will explain how a player moves to his left. To move to the right, just reverse left and right.

Start by taking a short step, about six inches or so, with the left foot. This puts your legs farther apart and gets your momentum going.

Now pull with the left leg, letting your weight transfer onto your left leg. Move both feet together to the left, remembering to pull with the left leg instead of pushing with the right.  (Of course, since most of your weight is on the left leg, you can’t push with the right leg without putting weight on it.) Use the momentum from the short step to pull your body to the left.

Both feet should move together, coming closer together in the middle of the motion but ending up with your feet at the same distance apart as at the start of the motion.  Your right foot should end up about where the left foot was after the short step.

The whole movement might also be called a “step-jump,” since if you are doing it correctly the second part of the movement is essentially a jump. With practice, it should feel natural.

Copyright Larry Hodges


Last Update : 06 November, 2002

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