Our coaching blog from 2 weeks ago about the Number 1 Rule Of movement, generated great feedback so I thought I would give my opinion on the 2nd most important aspect of movement.
The Number 1 Rule is to move off your shot as quickly and dynamically as possible. This applies whether you have a lot of time on your shot or not, whether you feel under pressure or not, or whether you hit a good shot or not – so basically it applies to every situation, hence why it is the Number 1 Rule (if you haven’t read the blog click here).
As mentioned in the previous Movement Blog, each shot we play can be broken into 5 stages of movement: The Start. The Middle. The Shot. The Recoil. And The Recovery.
We know we must always recoil as fast as possible to clear our shot and to begin our recovery back to the ‘T’, but Balance is the most important aspect we are all trying to achieve. When we are balanced, the shot we are trying to play is generally easy. Balance also gives us options. Balance On Our Shout = Quality Of Shot.
We need to bring the 5 aspects of movement together to create balance. It doesn’t just happen, which brings me on to the Number 2 Rule – which is to slow ourselves down as we get ready to play our shot.
This is a massive rule but is not the number 1 rule simply because it cannot be applied to every situation. We all know that sometimes we have to sprint and lunge as fast as we possibly can just to reach the ball before the second bounce in order to scrape it back into play. In this situation the last thing on our minds is to slow ourselves down in order to control the ball.
However, whenever possible we want to begin to slow down during the second phase of our movement (The Middle). This can be done even if our first phase (The Start) was at full speed. In 95% of the situations we find ourselves in we can achieve this slight slowing down of our body. Becoming aware of and applying this slowing down of our movement before we make contact with the ball (even just for a split second) is what creates quality of shot. Quality of shot can only serve to improve our standard and performance.
Top players do this phenomenally well. A player like Mohamed ElShorbagy who rushes around powerfully to every shot has an awesome subtle slow down just before impact. This enables him to hit incredibly hard due to his dynamic movement, but also accurately due to the last split second control / pause in his movement. Another perfect example would be Gaultier’s counter backhand drop shot. He has the ability to reach attacking drop shots and boasts at lightning speed, yet control his final lunge just enough that he can ‘roll’ in a delightful counter drop, turning defense into attack with one massive controlled lunge.
The next match you watch, look out for these subtle pauses immediately before the player hits their shot. Without them it’s extremely difficult to hit accurate shots at any pace.