Pro Footwork: Andrew’s Online Tennis Academy

Playing like a pro starts with the feet. And Andrew Burgess knows the art of effective footwork better than anyone. Over the next few months we’ll bring you videos that simplify movements of the game in four key phases: Ready, Respond, Contact and Recover. Master these moves, and you’ve got the chops for a winning match. Off the court, stay in peak condition with tips and workout plans developed to keep you on top of your game.


The first phase and starting point for all activity in tennis. Part technique, part mental preparation, these steps set you up with a strong foundation for the next phases of movement.

These are the light, flowing 3 or 4 steps that are made prior to forming the athletic base and responding to an opponent’s shot. They are important as they create a position of alertness and fluidity.

Often called the ‘ready step’, a ‘drop step’ is the movement that proceeds a response. It is a position of athleticism, and efficient, quality movement comes from this stable base. The ‘flow’ version of the step is what the best players perform, combining their athleticism and readiness with anticipation for a quicker, more efficient response.

A position of control and strength that allows for efficient, explosive, multi-directional movement.


Getting to the ball requires focus and control. The four basic movements of the Respond phase – shift, shuffle, crossover and run – put your feet in the exactly the right place to execute Contact with the ball.

Shift is the most basic response step and is used when the ball bounces close to you.

When the ball is slightly further away, a ‘double shift’ or ‘shuffle’ is used.

THE most important step in tennis. You can cover the most ground quickly and effectively while not committing the hips, which allows a last-minute change of direction.

However, once you are ‘on the run’ is is difficult to recover, and relatively easy for your opponent to keep you there.


Your movements in Contact will depend on whether you’re defending your court or challenging your opponent. Master these maneuvers to control the ball by transferring your energy from the ground up.

The purpose of the Contact phase of movement is to preserve our biomechanics and our stroke action in the best possible way.

There are three main movements during this first phase of Contact. They all revolve around the front foot moving toward the net.

During this phase of Contact, you want to maintain the rally and gain control of the point by challenging your opponent’s strike zone or movement.

Learn these four steps with the intention of getting the point back to the Build phase.


The key to an effective recovery is using the crossover step to cover as much ground as possible, then using shift and shuffle steps to get back into position. Recovery is critical to get back to the start of the movement cycle.

Decelerating, braking, shuffling and settling are important parts of restarting the movement cycle.

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