Defensive Footwork

Table Tennis Footwork

Last updated 5 years ago

Hugo hugoluis15

Hugo hugoluis15 Asked 8 years ago

Hi I am a DEFENSIVE player and I wiild like to know The foot work for when I chop and The opponent puts The ball short and I topspin The ball.

Hugo Perez

Puerto Rico

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Hugo,

A lot of the Defenders footwork is in and out.

A good footwork drill to do is the 3 point drill.  So a forehand position Forehand Chop, then a wide movement out to the Backhand side for a Backhand Chop, followed by a short ball where you shuffle in to make either a push or an attacking stroke.

For the topspin you need to get close to the table and keep in a low position.  The key though is getting yourself in close and stable to make the stroke.  I see a lot of players still moving in while they try this shot which makes it difficult.

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Hugo hugoluis15

Hugo hugoluis15 Posted 8 years ago

Thanks any other dril?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

Yes there are lots of drills.  You can reverse the direction you're moving around the triangle.

You can make up a whole lot of different combinations of hits and chops.

Rory Goulding

Rory Goulding Posted 7 years ago

Great video.  

With the popularity of attacking, defending and heavy under spin seem to be hard for a lot of intermediate players to deal with.

Greg Thomas

Greg Thomas Posted 7 years ago

Interesting post with very good information. If you look at some successful defenders like Joo se Hyuk, you will notice that (a) they keep their feet quite spread, (b) they often take many small steps, rather than large steps, (c) when they step they clearly lift their feet and don't slide, (d) they are most effective when they return with chop defense long on the opponents side (this has the dual effect of making the attacker play their attacking shots a bit further back from the edge of the table which can be unsettling for some attackers against backspin, and also gives the defensive player more time to adopt the neutral/recover position and prepare for the next attacking shot, (d) they, when possible, vary the height at which they make contact with the ball when they chop it, (e) they are not afraid to chop with the backhand from the forehand side to vary the rally, and if that is the easier shot to play, (f) they have very, very good in and out footwork as well as good side to side movement, and (f) if they get a loose ball, they attack aggressively. To develop such footwork, you need strong legs: lots of skipping, short 10M sprints (maybe as part of a circuit) and 30 minute runs at a steady stride can help develop this, along with table practice...either with or without a partner The following clip is from the recent world team championships. Joo looses in five sets, but had match point...I think he ran out of steam, as well as the other player becoming more effective. The footwork of Joo is a joy to behold. Happy defending.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Thanks for the insights Greg.  You did both attack and defend very well so it is an interesting perspective.

Hugo hugoluis15

Hugo hugoluis15 Posted 7 years ago


Siddharth Shah

Siddharth Shah Posted 7 years ago

Hi Hugo,

Generally defensive footwork invovles correct body placement and direction in coordination of foot. However it requires practice of side walking and running back. You can make this drills as your morning exercise. For receiving all kind of balls you need to enhance footwork (in all directions). Look for drill videos on this site.




Siddharth Shah

Siddharth Shah Posted 7 years ago

Hi Greg,

Very true.

Placement of foot is important to cover widespread areas around the table.

Agust Konradsson

Agust Konradsson Posted 6 years ago


If i hit the net in serving can i serve again?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Hi Agust,

You can serve again if you hit the net and the ball goes on the opponent's side of the table.  If it hits the net and comes back onto your side or misses the table then you lose the point.

Ujjal Chatterjee

Ujjal Chatterjee Posted 6 years ago

Very good demonstration of exact shuffle footwork (triangle shaped) required for defensive player.laughing

Johan B

Johan B Posted 6 years ago

When covering the middle and you need to turn fast, consider just rotating around one of your feet. It should be faster than jumping. (This is a technique we used to learn for handball defence)

Ujjal Chatterjee

Ujjal Chatterjee Posted 6 years ago

A nice statement by Alois & Jeff: Good footwork is key to good Table Tennis...laughing

kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 5 years ago

Thank you both!!  your coaching is so valuable.  Just trying to get it all together. Sometines it can be overwhelming.  Pingpong is such a skilful sport!!  I am improving slowly but surely and that's what is important.

Walter Lopez

Walter Lopez Posted 5 years ago

Great advises indeed

I preffer attack but sometimes we need to defend a little bit.

Tnanks guys

kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 5 years ago

Thank you both!!  I do realize that balance and footwork is so important to success as a pingpong player. I appreciate your reaffirming videos!!  

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