Cross-over steps are useful when you want to cover a medium distance. They offer a compromise between chasses and running.
We’ve seen how you can reach the net using running steps or chasses. Running steps are good for a long distance, and chasses are good for a short distance.
But what about a medium distance? Often a single chasse will not take you far enough, but running steps or two chasses will be too slow. Instead, you can use a cross-over step. This is mainly used on the forehand side.
The non-racket foot crosses behind the racket foot. This is different from a chasse, where the feet do not cross. As usual, the movement ends with a lunge.
You can think of this movement as being half-way between a running step and a chasse; it combines aspects of both movements. A cross-over step is especially useful when you need a longer sideways movement, such as when your opponent has played a cross-court shot.
You can also think of it as extending how far your chasse can reach. Like a chasse, crossing behind gives you good balance throughout the movement.
To me, crossing behind feels like a longer chasse, with a sensation of floatiness or gliding. It’s important to maintain an upright posture as you move, rather than collapsing forwards as the feet cross. Use your arms to help you balance.
Crossing in front
You might sometimes find yourself crossing in front instead. This is fine as long as you maintain good balance. This is similar to a running step, and is suitable for covering quite long distances.
Making sense of all the options
It can be confusing with all these different movements to think about. Where do these cross-over steps fit it?
You can think of it like this: crossing behind is like a chasse, plus a bit. Crossing in front is like running steps, minus a bit.
Overall, both these cross-over steps are a blend between using a chasse and running steps. There is no exact boundary between these styles of movement.
Maybe not for everyone
These are more advanced movements, and require some leg strength. They also may not work well if you are short. In particular, I recommend younger juniors use running steps instead.