2 Drills to Improve Your Table Tennis Footwork

Good footwork is an essential component of any professional table tennis player. You aren’t going to reach the highest levels of the game without 100% nailing how to move around the table and get into position for your strokes.

The following video drills are taken from Level 2 of our TTU online table tennis training program.

Drill #1

In this video, Tao demonstrates the correct footwork to use when transitioning between forehand and backhand strokes.

Drill #2

In this video, Tao demonstrates how to use good footwork to cover the whole table with just your forehand stroke.

These drills are vital for beginners and improvers to master. They also work well as a warm-up exercise for players of all abilities.

Here are five key points…

  1. It’s called the “side shuffle” because you should be shuffling over the ground by using a side-step. You don’t want to be jumping up and down, as this is not efficient. Stay low and shuffle from left to right.
  2. You will need to begin your backswing before you have stopped moving. Once you have stopped moving and your feet are planted, you are ready to begin the forward swing.
  3. Just use one step to move across from the backhand side to the forehand side, and vice versa. Taking lots of little steps will waste time.
  4. Try to get into a rhythm when doing this shadow training drill. Move, stop, hit. Move, stop, hit. Some players like to practice with a metronome to keep them on beat, or alongside music with an appropriate tempo.
  5. Make sure you get your feet into the correct position. You don’t want to end up reaching for the ball on the forehand side and getting cramped up on the backhand side. Give yourself a good amount of space to play a forehand with nice technique.

Additional instruction

Once you have got the hang of the side shuffle footwork make sure you check your forehand technique.

Many players find that they stop using a good body rotation and weight transfer once they introduce the side-to-side movement. It is important that you continue to twist your torso as the forehand drive/topspin is a whole body stroke.

It can be helpful to practice in front of a mirror or maybe even to record your training on video to watch back.

Finally, don’t be surprised if you find it more difficult to move from the backhand side to the forehand side, than from the forehand side to the backhand side. In one direction, you are moving with the direction of your stroke, body rotation, and weight transfer. In the other direction, you are moving against all of these.

Good luck with your footwork training!

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Tao played table tennis professionally in China and even won a gold medal at the Chinese National Junior Championships!

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