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Advanced Reaction Steps

Pat Dougherty

Printable Version

Movement is the strength that unites the champions from all eras.

I believe that strength of movement is the single greatest weapon in a winning game, equally important in developing offense and defense. Explosive quickness gives you opportunities to control play, assert your offense, and attack. Having the speed to defend every inch of the court pressures your opponent to execute higher quality shots, which will result in more errors.

Recently, I was fortunate to spend time with one of the all time greats, Ivan Lendl. One question I asked him: "What is the greatest strength shared by the best players of any era?" Ivan didn't hesitate: "Movement," he answered. "The best players of every era have also been the players with the best movement."


Players who are slow to react fall behind the tempo of the rally. This forces them to rush their movement to try to catch up. A late start means greater risk of getting to the ball late and missing opportunities to play offensively. It affects a player's ability to control the ball and sustain longer rallies. Players whose timing is out of sync appear to be on the defensive and scrambling to keep up with the rally pace.

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Pat Dougherty has been a biomechanics expert and coach at IMG/Bollettieri Academies for over 20 years, influencing the development of hundreds of elite junior and pro players from around the world. As the creator and producer of the acclaimed Nick Bollettieri instructional video series, Pat was responsible for developing the system that has become synonymous with the teaching approach at the Academy. In this new series for Tennisplayer, Pat presents for the first time his concepts and patented training methods for becoming a tennis movement specialist. For more info on The A.P. Belt developed by Pat at the world famous Bollettieri Academy, Click Here.


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