Agility – Hsieh Su-wei

Agility – the ability to move quickly and easily

Perhaps we overlook this basic training approach – nothing about force, power or even strength

Just about posture – turning hips and shoulders to the ball as the leading foot drops just a bit and preparing the racquet when about to hit instead of running with the racquet back.

This applies across ability, experience, and gender.

Are you able to feel how you move to the ball? Are your shoes noisy or quiet? Do you have a sense of your posture in the ready position? And finally is your first move with your hands, the racquet of your body?


I received this excellent video courtesy Mick McCarron

Tennis Coach & Movement trainer at iTPA TPT, LTA Club Coach

In his words Hsieh…….

  • Split steps, lands on the opposite leg first (right leg)

  • Loads opposite leg (right leg),

  • Drops leading leg under the body, (left leg)    (Gravity Step or drop step)

  • Gravity is helping make the first move.

  • Other players land from the split and then step out with the near leg taking three steps after the split step landing,

  • The split step landing and the drop step are performed in one movement.”


  • Bill Yeager

    Reply Reply October 3, 2022

    Great video ! I see this in the best-of-the-best pros. I’m also astounded how Hsieh handles more highly ranked opponets. What a wonderful explanation.

    Thanks very much,


  • Bryant

    Reply Reply December 29, 2021

    Is this applicable to the return of serve as well? Are there inappropriate times to use the gravity step?

  • skip purinton

    Reply Reply December 12, 2019

    Hi Jim, wondering if this drop step should be used on a poach instead of a strong step out. Seems like it might encourage the inside foot to crossover toward the ball on the volley. Thoughts ? Thanks Skip

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply December 12, 2019

      Skip – this is a good question – a colleague and coach had taught just the opposite when poaching – so I am not really sure – I do see it more commonly on the backcourt and will now try and watch on tv to see how the pros do it – sorry to have a poor answer

    • John

      Reply Reply October 4, 2022

      Hi Jim, Thanks for reaching out with this split step vid. Another aspect of note is how dramatically she lands on each heel first whilst running thereby accelerating her propulsion.

      I am actually thankfully able to move at speed around the court so I’ll try this technique out when I play tomorrow night & subsequently get back to you as to how I got on.

      Another thing I noticed was how she drops her racket head . A lot of coaches favour the pat dog technique. Being a massive canine friend I have myself questioned this phraseology. Instead I prefer to see it as a stroking motion which for me ties in with your emphasis on agility.

      Su-Wei drops her racket sideways on though. So what is your take re this?

      Speak soon,


      • Jim McLennan

        Reply Reply October 4, 2022

        John as to her racquet head, more and more I am accepting nearly all methods – so really on this one I am not at all sure – best Jim

  • Gordon Ripley

    Reply Reply November 5, 2019


    Great advice, up until the age of 60 my movement was fairly fluid, at 67 with recent ‘adult acquired flatfeet’ I’ve noticed my response is less sharp and I’ve a feeling your instruction may prove to be very helpful.

    Thank you.

  • skip

    Reply Reply November 4, 2019

    paraphrasing: “So often we substitute shuffling sideways for turning and running….”

    Hear hear. We have an abundance of players who can hit great as long as they’re within 4 1/2′ of the hash mark at the baseline, but who become really slow once they have to go coast to coast.

    Great point.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply November 4, 2019

      Skip – thanks for this, and I will use your phrase – a good one – coast to coast

  • Gordon Hodge

    Reply Reply November 4, 2019

    Thanks Jim
    Sure enough, I notice in the videos of me that I have strong and powerful first step but anything but smooth and quick.
    I’d love to study more of Hsieh’s techniques also.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply November 4, 2019

      Gordon – keys I believe are about posture – as tall as possible, wide stance, then waiting just a bit longer to respond such that you can establish the weight on the leg furthest from the ball – then to turn – but for sue that is a lot of words. I practiced this move walking around the house or getting the mail – truly

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