Friday, January 25, 2008

Maria Sharapova's Footwork Training Routine

Well, currently its about 9:50 on the East Coast and Maria Sharapova is down 0-1, but by her play recently, all bets are that she takes this match to win the Aussie Open. She is usually a guarantee to win one major a year, but recently she's been getting handled by the Williams sisters who just out power her on the court. In her defeat she vowed to get pumped up and and workout harder than ever. Thanks to we have the exercises that have taken her to the next level, here are a couple, and the others can be found over at


This movement-technique drill is designed to train the proper muscle firing sequence through the hips and legs. The glute muscle fires first, then the quad for the most efficient and powerful push and move. “It’s one of the first things we do in a session,” Wellington says. “It helps retrain the brain to fire the muscles in the correct order for maximum speed and explosiveness. Premature quad firing (and thus loss of use of the glute) leads to inefficient movement.” With a belt (available at tied around your waist, skip laterally away from the person holding the belt. Drive the foot closest to your partner into the ground and land with that foot almost flat on the ground (the ball of the foot is the contact point and your toes are raised). Repeat the drill four to five times (with eight to 10 skips each set), keeping your ankle cocked and your foot away from your butt, which will force the glute muscle to initiate hip extension.


These are two of many ladder drills that help players push off correctly when they move on a court. The benefit of using two ladders (as opposed to single-ladder drills) is that it increases the size of the steps to more closely simulate how tennis players need to move.

The key to all these drills is learning to attack the ground with each step and reduce the time your foot is in contact with the court. The more force you put into the ground in as short a time as possible, the more explosive the force will be coming back, leading to quicker steps. “As you speed up, you should be able to keep your body inside the edge of the ladder and have just the foot outside,” Wellington says. “You need to become comfortable in this ‘lean position.’ If you’re not, when you push your leg into the ground, your body will be pushed straight up rather than back in the direction you want to go.”

To begin, lay two agility ladders (available at across a court 6 to 12 inches apart. Begin at the end of the ladders and follow the patterns diagrammed at left.

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