Lately I have been wondering how to increase my footwork. I know that a lot of practice is very important, but I was wondering what kind of exercises would be useful. I have seen some matches which were really inspires me to train lately. Especially when you look at the footwork of world class players is amazing.
Which makes me wonder what kind of exercises are useful to increase my footwork. I thought of exercises in which one places the ball in pattern all over the table and the other one has to keep on attacking. I started to ask around for experts to tell me their favorite exercises, with or without a table and/or partner, and take their sharing experience to help me increase my footwork skills.
One skill I found very useful is shadow play. It is a good thing and gives me a clear idea where to place my feet. Secondary movement, when I have to mainly try play forehands and if I found I have stepped to short make that next movement. Jumping is also good as I found it gives me a stronger push off when out of position.
When I am not training in table tennis, I will try to do some squats. They involve almost all the muscle groups in my legs and I will have much better explosiveness in my footwork. I have observed noticeable improvement even after a short period of time.
Consistency Is The Key
For those who are looking the way to improve their footwork, this is the practice that you can follow. Be careful and execute these footwork the days that you don’t practice in table tennis, or at least 5-6 hours before or after your training. Make sure you are not tired so that your body takes full advantage of the exercise.
Now when training in table tennis you should try multiball or shadow play. When doing multiball execute fast paced topspins all over the table at your full speed for 30 seconds and take 10-20 seconds break. Repeat until you are exhausted. After the first two three weeks of multiball and squats you will reach a whole different level 🙂
How to Start?
Start out by building strength up in your legs. Squats, cycling, jogging, some weights etc. Once you have improved strength, maintain it and work on increasing balance and agility with routines involving sidestepping, shuttle runs, etc. Agility ladders are useful in this phase. Finally, once you have improved your strength and agility, combine the 2 and work on increasing your power with jump squats, side step jumps, star jumps etc. Integrate this into your practice sessions, maybe 10-15 minutes at the end and as part of your strength and conditioning program.
As mentioned before, shadow play is great for footwork techniques. Do it on the end of the table and concentrate on your feet. Work your way through the movements slowly first and build up the pace. Focus on where your weight is throughout each movement and work on always trying to recover balance evenly across both feet as quickly as possible after each shot. Good footwork is similar to learning a new dance.
I have always wondered if a few dancing lessons would help a player with their footwork too. Might be worth for a try.