Getting ready 2 – Reactionary or Anticipationary Split steps
In the previously blog we looked at two different ways to get on your toes. Let’s know look at the split step. This is the second part of getting ready to react to the oncoming approaching ball. There are 2 types of split steps. A reactionary split and anticipationary split. Both are explained below
Split Step A – GET READY by split stepping!* (reaction split) as the opponent makes contact with the ball (only if you have no idea of opponents’ intention of shot!)
Teaching points on the Reaction split Step – The split step is the step made as the opponent strikes the ball. It needs to be initiated when the opponent starts their forward swing because both feet need to hit the ground as the ball strikes the racket at the other end of the court. You don’t want to split too early or too late and the split step is crucial as it helps regain balance and load the legs so you can spring towards the ball. Try not to split the feet too narrow and make sure your feet “touch and go” i.e. don’t lose the elastic properties of the muscles by staying in the split step for too long. The reaction split steps is used when you have no idea where the opponent is going to hit the ball, thus land with both feet hitting the ground together on the balls of the feet with the bottom back so you engage the strong gluteal muscles and turn quickly. The reaction split helps you move quickly in all directions but is not as quick and flowing as an anticipation split.
Split Step B – Get ready by split stepping!* (anticipation split) as the opponent makes contact with the ball (you have anticipated opponents’ intention of shot!)
Teaching points on the Flow split – anticipate the next shot and replace the reaction split with a turning of the foot towards the ball, flowing in the same direction as you are travelling. The first step can be a side-skip, step out, drop step or pivot step!
Teaching points on the Shift split – anticipate the next shot and replace the reaction split with shifting of the weight back to where you have just come from. The first step is usually a drop step!
Note: The 3 split steps mentioned above are situation dependant and skill level dependant i.e. anticipation splits are more advanced than reaction splits)