“It’s the dance, baby!” – Master T.
I remember vividly taking a college course on West Africa and the African diaspora. At one point a discussion arose about athleticism, and how dance and rhythm permeated the cultures of West Africa. The world renowned art historian, Robert F. Thompson, was quick to explain what drives the outstanding performance by African and African-American athletes – “It’s the dance, baby!”
At the Bolletieri Tennis Academy in Florida – home for many years to players like Agassi and Sharapova – there’s always a radio playing somewhere with a fast beat, to keep players moving to the rhythm.
In between shots, it is important to stay on your toes. Almost as though you were skipping rope. This slight but constant weighting and unweighting on your toes allows for subtle and quick movements as you adjust. You want to watch your opponent to see how they are moving, and constantly decide where the ideal court position is to return their next ball.
Standing flat-footed is the kiss of death. If you do this, you will lose, or at the very least, you will remain in noob status. So always ALWAYS be on your toes between shots. Feel the rhythm out there – even if you’re not big into dancing, you never stand still on the dance floor.