The Split Step PDF Print E-mail

Split – “Unweighting” position, usually uneven in elite tennis. Centres and sinks centre of gravity to store energy for explosive direction change. Hip – First areas of body that “fires” in any change of direction.

The Split Step - 'Before'

At normal speed the eye may not pick up the huge internal rotation of Naomi's knees as she lands her split. Her knees actually appear to touch and her base is about 1 foot in width. This is very significant on a number of levels. Firstly, it is a strength issue. If a player goes in this position her core strength must immediately be investigated especially her glute and vastus medialis control.

This lack of strength in turn will make it almost impossible for Naomi to land her split 1 foot before the other, or to open the hip for a fast lateral movement. the risk of a repetitive strain injury to the knee is high here, as is the risk of a highly inefficient, uncoordinated movement pattern.

The Split Step - 'After'

As Naomi moves into the same split position, it is easy to see that the knees are not caving in. In fact she has gained enough glute and vastus medialis strength to land on one leg and to open the opposite hip. this improved postural position will now minimize the risk of overuse injuries and improve both Naomi's movement efficiency and dynamism to the next shot.

The split is like "A" in the alphabet of movement. Get it wrong and there are a lot of words you will never be able to spell!! Without a balanced explosive split there will be a knock on effect that will compromise all the other steps in the movement sequence.

The Split Step - 'Pro'

Now you have seen the "before" and the improvement in the "after" drop step clips, here is an example of the "finished product", plus a video of Jez Green explaining the movement.


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