Possessing good footwork is the most fundamental table tennis skill you must possess in order to succeed. This is precisely why mastering and modifying footwork techniques are crucial. Table tennis at a high level tends to be a very rapid sport, therefore predicting where you’ll be receiving a shot and where you’ll have to move is difficult during competitive games. The correct footwork gets you into the best possible position to receive the ball, therefore enabling you to improve on your return shot. Table tennis requires a lot of variations in footwork in order to be able to respond to serves and shots coming at you. Therefore, ideally, as a beginner, you’d like to know how footwork techniques and drills work if you seriously want to improve your game. Let’s discuss some of the most important footwork drills you can incorporate into your regime in order to become an elite player.

1. Shuffle Drill

Learning the shuffle drill is the absolute basic requirement to improve your footwork. Moving your feet simultaneously while making a lateral movement is the foundation of shuffling. Shuffling is the ability to manoeuver quickly from side to side using both your feet in equal measure. While practicing this drill, make sure you include stroke motions along with forward and backward movements to emulate real-time play. As such, a key point to recollect is that it takes patience and practice to develop a good rhythm and thus excellent footwork technique. This is why regular and frequent training sessions are essential.

2. In and Out Step

The In and Out Step involves dynamically moving forwards and backwards while playing a stroke and getting back to your original position, ready to face the next shot. In order to perfect this step, take a small step with your left foot (for a right-handed player) to push closer to the table then move your right foot to an edge under the table. In this position, play your shot and quickly return to start position by moving your right foot first with a backward motion followed by the left foot. The move works as follows: left, right, right, left (if right-handed).

If you don’t possess the ability to hit a brief ball and quickly shuffle back to get ready for a possible attack, that can very well enable you to lose the initiative right there.

3. Crossover Footwork

This drill is significant for shots that are too quick and too wide for you to return using the shuffle step. For this particular footwork drill, the direction of the shot i.e. forehand or backhand side of the table will determine which footfalls over to which side. In order to execute a forehand return, a right-handed player would have to “crossover” his left foot over his right foot. The left foot is used as a pivot to hold your body weight, and then your right foot is planted wide. By the time both feet are on the ground, the ball should be struck past the net.

4. Serving Footwork

In the game of table tennis, this is often the most crucial of moves to practice. When serving, most players tend to make a little breakthrough and then quickly return to play position ready for the return. Practice this move well, and you’ll be able to reply to shots immediately after service with much better control and accuracy.

This pattern resembles a little jump. You serve, and immediately after, you hop back into position, ready to return by pivoting around your left leg.

If you would like to enhance your footwork skills, you would like to make and cling to a training regimen supporting the above drills. It will help you to enhance your agility, power, and stamina. Over time, you’ll surely become a much better table tennis player!

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