Footwork for forehand loop

Table Tennis Footwork

Last updated 10 years ago

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Asked 10 years ago

Hi Alois,

I recently missed about 15 f/hand loops in a row, despite thinking my stroke was fine. I then looked down at my feet, and found the right foot (I'm a right-hander) was about 1/2->1 foot too far left of the ball. I needed to make a slight 1/2 step to the right to be in position to loop properly. I kept telling myself to move my feet, but they stayed rooted to the spot. The result has been mistakes but with the pro of getting some inswing on the ball, which troubles opponents. But I want to be consistent and play the right shot.

More recently, a coach saw me play and he told me the same thing: I need to make an extra 1/2 step before looping.

I'm wondering how to fix this. A Chinese coach says it's important to keep moving your body even if only a jiggle between shots. That could be the answer, but I have poor stamina, and cannot afford to waste energy this way. Presently, I already have long delays between points to get my breathing back.

I guess I could do side shuffles, although I think I'd get tired that way too. Maybe if I lowered my body some more I may be able to save energy and still get the footwork right. My feet are planted too heavily too, which doesn't help.

Is there any quick fix? Perhaps I should be thinking something during play to help move my feet?

Cheers,

Andrew.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Perhaps if you focus on the balance of your body it will give you some cues to follow.  When you are not talking that half step your body will feel like it is on a bit of a lean when you contact the ball.  It needs to feel like everything is lined up and your wight is on both feet evenly.  Focus on this while you are hitting and see if it helps.

Other than that it sounds like it is more footwork training to get the right feelings when you are moving.


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Thoughts on this question

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Posted 10 years ago

Hi Alois,

I haven't corrected the technique just yet, but noticed the icon for your training secrets dvd. I watched a preview and the material seemed to be covered in the 52 lessons from last year. I guess some people will just buy the dvd and not subscribe to p/skills. So I'm wondering if there's enough different material on the dvd to warrant buying it, or whether to re-watch last year's videos.

Thanks for the advice above. I just tried a shadow movement, and could tell immediately that you were right. I'll work on it!

Cheers,

Andrew

 

 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Training Secrets goes through different drills and explains them and their purpose.  It shows the different Footwork drills, Match drills and how to choose a drill.  It covers Games ideas that you can use. It also talks about structuring your training session, service practice and the Action Plan.

If you feel comfortable with those areas then you should just stay with the 52 lessons.   Hope this helps.


Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 10 years ago

Andrew

I think you hit the nail on the head when you noted your lack of stamina.

For years I've been struggling with the same issue as you.  During that time I had addressed it purely as a mental problem.  I argued that tension and nerves were stopping me from making the slight footwork adjustment.  I've finally accepted that it's at least as much the fault of poor stamina.

Poor stamina really mucks your game in a number of different ways.  For me, it makes me try to conserve energy and to finish points and matches off quickly.  This meant, too many times, instead of adjusting my position to the best position to hit a high percentage topspin loop with a good arc, I was just waiting for the ball in bad position and then sort of trying to jump into the right position at the last moment and then trying to blast a flat low percentage shot for a winner.  Needess to say this was rather disastrous.  And if a match went the distance and had long rallies I'd become more desperate, worrying about my ability to finish the match and how I'll be for the next one.

Last couple of weeks, I've therefore been doing some hard cardiovascular training, and I've already seen a big improvement in my footwork.  I'm also happy to hit sensible shots and engage in long rallies, and I no longer fear 5 setters and long nights of pennant competition.  If possible, this would be the best solution. 


andrew brand

andrew brand Posted 10 years ago

my thinking is that you need to stay on the balls of your feet and keep your feet moving slightly to stay light on your feet so easier to adjust quickly. also watching the ball and your opponent's cues as he hits the ball will help you anticipate earlier so you will get into position in time to loop effectively. the loop is not difficult. getting into perfect position before each loop is the difficult part.

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Posted 10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Good thoughts. When a junior, I was told the importance of not standing flat-footed. Now, however, I'm standing flat-footed. I don't think it should take too much extra energy to do the right thing here.

I agree also with the anticipation. If I do a certain spinny serve, for example, I should (over time) be able to predict what type of return I'm going to get. The top players can do this prediction, and that gives them an advantage.

Recently, when a coach pointed out my footwork problem, he told me what you said: that the main thing is not the stroke, not necessarily being aggressive, but rather being in position early to keep my options open. I guess I'm not getting into position early because of poor stamina - to some extent - but I agree that if I weren't flat footed and if I anticipated I would play much better. Thanks!

 

 


andrew brand

andrew brand Posted 10 years ago

the last part of your answer is spot on. i am also not a fit person at all, but had a lot of good coaching, and its more about watching the ball all the way back and forth, and watching your opponents raquet just before and during their shot, this gives you enough time to get into position because you are not suddenly panicking to do it, as you have spotted which way the ball will come much earlier.  also what you say about being able to predict the type of return you will get from your serves - same thing applies with the extra knowledge of the spin you put on with your serve dictates the return - if you do a heavy sidespin serve with a backhand serve it will of course come back to your forehand side, you then still need to watch their return as they may chop, block, or angle their bat to counter the sidespin etc.  concentrate, focus and watch everything, whilst staying on your toes in a good stance - wide feet, knees bent low to near 90 degrees, you will then have the ability to see it all earlier, and the stance to adjust quickly.  then you should always be in a great position to execute your best loops.

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Posted 10 years ago

Hi Andrew,

I played the same opponent twice in two weeks. Both times he was serving illegally wide to my f/hand. The first time, I couldn't get them even when I was in the centre of the table to receive. It was hard because I saw no ball toss. When I played the opponent the second time, I tried to anticipate these serves, and it worked. That gave me another split second to react. Better still, because I wasn't flat-footed, I moved to the ball much faster and had more time to play the shot. I surprised myself by hitting winners off the serve. Being in position early, I played a fast forehand push cross-court for a clean winner. My opponent did far fewer of those serves than usual afterwards because he knew his previously safe serve was now a disadvantage. And this extra advice (of watching carefully and being on the balls of my feet) did not take away any extra energy that I've complained of not having.

Comment for Ji-Soo Woo:

Re stamina, it seems that some members of my family have a weakness here. I saw the GP a couple of years ago, wanting to improve stamina, as I kept losing to players of similar skill because I got fatigued. The doctor agreed that heredity plays a part (as I'd guessed already) but he said there are several factors that could influence stamina. He recommended a treadmill, and gave me a program. After a lot of use, I still don't know how much it's helping me with stamina, but it is good exercise regardless. I hope your training is working well.
 

Andrew Pape

Andrew Pape Posted 10 years ago

Hi Alois,

re footwork for forehand loops, I thought about what you said on balance and leaning. There was no way I could tell my feet to move. But it's a simple problem to solve. I did some shadow movement. When I stood tall, I was leaning and I could picture my bat well outside my right leg. So I lowered my body a lot. The effect is that the lower down I got (the wider my stance), the more the (right handed) bat lined up with my right foot. I did no strenuous physical exercise, but I just tell myself to bend. I forgot about the whole issue until recently, when I found all those balls that went off are now going on.

Thanks heaps.

Cheers,

Andrew

 

 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 10 years ago

That is great to hear.  Always nice to hear of an improvement.


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