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Footwork to the backhand rear corner

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In the backhand rear corner, you can play either backhands or round-the-head forehands. These have completely different footwork patterns.

Round-the-head forehands are a much better choice when possible, but you will nevertheless often be forced to play a backhand.

Backhand footwork

The backhand footwork is simple. It’s much the same as a forehand step-out.

Pattern summary: split, chassé, turn.

1) Split drop

The standard landing position (right foot slightly ahead of left foot) will serve you well here, and there’s no advantage to be gained by selecting a different foot position.

2) Chassé towards the corner

Your left foot will lead the chassé.

When you have more distance to cover, you may need an extra chassé or to replace the chassé with running steps.

3) Turn and step with your right foot

Pivot on your left foot and turn your body, stepping across with your right foot, so that your back turns towards the net.

This final step will often become a lunge. Where possible, step to the side rather than backwards. Often, however, you will need to turn your back fully to the net and lunge into the corner.

Round-the-head forehand footwork

This footwork pattern, although challenging to learn, is essential for your attacking play.

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Pattern summary: split, swivel, scissor jump.

1) Split drop

As with the backhand footwork, the standard foot position is the best one.

2) Swivel step (moving pivot)

This is the key element of round-the-head footwork.

Push off with your right foot, and use this force to pivot around your left foot, angling your body towards the corner.

It’s essential that this is a moving pivot: while you are turning, you must also move back towards the corner. The more distance you can cover while turning, the better.

The left foot only remains on the ground for the very start of the pivot — just enough time to begin the turn. It then comes off the ground, and hovers briefly (this is where you cover distance) before landing again.

Try to make your left foot cover as much ground as possible while hovering.

You can also think of this swivel step as a turning hop.

3) Scissor jump

Finish with a scissor jump, jumping backwards into the corner.

This combination of movements feel unnatural at first, because you are swivelling one way before using the scissor jump to rotate your body in the opposite direction. You’ll need good core stability to make the most of this twisting footwork pattern!