The inconvenient situation created above is of much greater magnitude if the opponent makes a mistake while playing a cross-court shot and sends the ball very close to the T. A player, who uses the “wrong” foot, would find himself quick and agile when making room for himself. That would be impossible if he instinctively brings his leg across.

 

 

 

 

Compare the 3 photos above with the series below. Above, the player prepares his racket with the feet still. He then, only has to take a small step with the "wrong" foot to volley. In the sequence below, he moves the correct foot across while preparing his racket, only to find himself too close. This causes extra effort and loss of time, plus poor overall co-ordination and shot execution.

 

 

Hence, automatically bringing the left leg across without first evaluating the distance of the ball could cause a messy situation. As seen in the first of the two photo series, often the other foot placed forward provides clear advantages. Now compare these two video clips in order to appreciate the time lost or gained.     Clip 1.    Clip 2.

 

Players also find that they almost always lunge and stretch onto the right leg for the most difficult shots played by their opponent, as seen in the 4 photos below. (For regularity, we are always discussing the case of a right-handed player. For a left-hander, it would be the left leg, which is used and takes the heaviest punishment). This is probably because when fully stretched, a right-handed player can reach further with his right leg in front*. Also, his/her centre of gravity (especially at the end of a shot) is on top of his right leg.

 

*Try this for yourself even at home. Reach for an object with the right hand while placing the right foot forward. Now invert feet while stepping on the exact same two spots on the floor. You will notice that you can reach further when the right foot is forward. This is simply because with the right foot forward, the right hip goes in front, and consequently, so does the right shoulder.

 

 

 

 

If a player lunges onto the same leg many times in succession and the sequence is repeated while his heart rate is very high, he will undoubtedly become slow especially when recovering from that particular position. The next day the muscles of the overused leg will feel stiff and tiered, and in the long run, this excessive use of one leg will cause muscular imbalance which may lead to back problems and less speed and co-ordination on court.

 

One way of solving this is to always use the proper leg. In reality this is impossible. It is therefore, important that a player should use the left leg as much as possible in less extreme pressure situations. Hence, the “wrong” foot is utilised to give the right leg some rest when over-stretched.

 other foot to counter drop or lob

 

In the photo above, the player uses the other foot to counter drop or lob, in order to rest the right leg for a few seconds. This makes a huge difference. Try it out for yourself. Feel the difference between lunging deeply over the same leg many times in succession, compared to lunging only a few repetitions at a time with rest intervals in between. Even though the total number of lunges on each leg is the same, the leg, which is not allowed to recover, may reach the stage of muscle failure. This is especially true when carried out at elevated heart rates.

 

The use of the “wrong” foot provides other help too. The photo - below left - demonstrate how rotation is slightly limited when the proper foot is used while the other, - below right -shows how the body is free to continue with a longer follow through. This has a few advantages. A longer follow through may add speed to the swing and hence, more power to the shot, especially on the forehand.

 

 

 

 

Greater rotation will help players who are stiff at the waist, especially in the back corners. This is not to say that the stiffness is to be neglected, but some players are more supple compared to others. Using the feet in this way may also provide more balance and speed in getting in and out of the corners. Comparing the two photos below, you will note that in the photo on the right, where the player uses the "other" foot, as soon as he finishes his shot, he finds it easier to transfer his weight onto the other leg and out of the corner. Note that the greater rotation may also facilitate the cross-court shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Links to other situations where the “wrong” foot is placed forward, can be found in the four examples below. Seeing and reading about these situations will offer a more complete understanding of the subject. Over and above, the section dedicated to "deception" offers many examples where the use of the other foot provides clear advantages.  Click here to go to deception chapter.

 

 1.drop-shot from the T     2.drop-shot from the cut-line area     

 3.drop-shot from the front court   4.the cross-court drop

 

 

 

 

 

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