Forehand Pivot Footwork

Table Tennis Footwork

Last updated 5 years ago

Michael mcgoldrick

Michael mcgoldrick Asked 9 years ago

I've seen a lot of players leaning to their left when trying to play a forehand from the backhand court. Can you describe the correct footwork position needed to get into this shot and also moving in between forehand and backhand shots?

Michael

Ireland

 


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 9 years ago

Hi Michael,

To play the best forehand stroke you can from the backhand court, you really should make a big movement to get into position. By using your footwork you can get into a more balanced position which means you are more likely to make the shot and you are better prepared to move for the next ball.

If you are rushed sometimes you can lean to make room for your shot but this is not recommended as you'll be off balance.

Take a look at our video response below. Hopefully it will help explain the important points when pivoting to play a forehand. 


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Thoughts on this question

bertus bertus

bertus bertus Posted 9 years ago

I think at some point you're much better of learning a BH topspin rather than pivoting around.

Or maybe just don't pivot around at all and just keep pushin deep to oponents backhand site.

I commented the above because:

1) You take a bigger risk to make that stroke work

2) If it does go well you will get blocked out on the wide FH side!

 

What's your opinion about pivoting around Pingskillers?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

I think in the modern game you are right to try to develop a backhand topspin as the game is getting faster.  However it is still a good weapon to have as a finishing ball.


Douglas Hill

Douglas Hill Posted 9 years ago

I find that if I'm crowded I can often make a fairly strong down the line shot using a short close swing but relying on my legs to give it force. If my opponent is positioned for a crosscourt shot this can be a winner.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

That can be a good tactic if you see them waiting cross court.  Can be dangerous if they pick the direction because it will give them an easy wide ball to your forehand corner.


Roger Willoughby

Roger Willoughby Posted 9 years ago

When you get into that position you still have the choice to go  down the line as well as cross-court. Roger UK


Vijay Madge

Vijay Madge Posted 9 years ago

Dear Alois, pivot has been my fatal Cleopatra as I told you once. But of late as age catches up with me I find it almost impossible to play that stroke. Jeff's video brought out what goes wrong now. The fault lies not in the absence of youthful agility but in the side-on shuffle I make. In the good old days it naturally used to be square on. Thanks to your video now I know why I end up taking the ball on my body. I must shuffle the right way. I'll try that now.Yes ,I agree the pivot leaves your forehand flank hopelessly exposed but then my dear what a fine stroke it is! Only you must ensure it is a 'kill' cross-courrt or down the line.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Oh Vijay,

I am glad that you now have the confidence to attempt it once more... keep shuffling...


Vijay Madge

Vijay Madge Posted 9 years ago

hi Alois, I'll send you a video when I do succeed playing that most juicy stroke of the game with some good opponent. I can play that stroke even now with my slow old pals but that's no fun. Let me try this against some young player.


Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 9 years ago

I think it is good to be versatile and to be able to hit a BH loop/drive or to pivot and hit a FH from the BH corner.  The more options you have the better.  Of course, pivoting is a higher risk tactic and how often you employ it will depend on 1) how strong your FH is, 2) how good the opponent is at blocking your FH to the open table, and 3) how fast your footwork is to cover the open table.

Obviously, if you have the FH (and footwork) of Ryu Seung Min, it would be a good tactic to pivot often!

Even if your FH is not as potent, it still is good to pivot every now and then just to give the opponent something to think about and to not be predictable.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Hi guys,

I notice that when I pivot, especially for a 3rd ball attack, I tend to lose track of the ball because it is such a big maneuver. How can I address it?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

You do need to keep tracking the ball all the way.  Sometime we get fuzzy vision when we are working on something else.  However, with practice of the footwork, you will then feel more natural with the movement and also be able to focus on the ball better.


prasad konduru

prasad konduru Posted 6 years ago

hi coach ,

iam prasad, thanq for your videos, iam improving by seeing your videos ,my main problem is attaking .. Iam not able to attak as good as my friends do but iam feel more confident in defence and bloking nice shots so please guid me

And another problem is converting chop into topspin may ne that is my problem with my action ple


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Hi Prasad,

I think you are correct, the topspin against backspin is the main stroke that will help you to convert defence into offence.

Take a look at these lessons: Forehand Topspin Off Backspin and Backhand Topspin Off Backspin.


John Wooten

John Wooten Posted 5 years ago

I am enjoying these video series regarding footwork.  My footwork is not very good but, I think it's getting better and these videos will help.  Thank you for sending these along.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

Glad it's helping John.


kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 5 years ago

Thank you Jeff!  Great footwork and balance!


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 5 years ago

Hi guys,

I just noticed that some players use different footwork for the pivot, especially against a backspin ball. Here is Stefan Fegerl:



And here is Ma Lin:



What one may notice is that their feet position are very different: Stefan's feet are almost parallel to the short side of the table, while Ma Lin did not move as much. I guess that Ma Lin's movement is faster, but the shot execution looks awkward. What is the best option to practice?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

I think the Ma Lin is preferable because you can move back for the next ball easier by pushing straight across.  He uses more rotation of the waist to get  into a good position to hit the ball.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 5 years ago

I often play forehand pivot against backspin as a follow-up after my serve. My opponents notice that and start pushing to my wide backhand. If the push goes very wide, what is the "true" way to adjust my feet position, a large step outwards, or two smaller steps? If I don't adjust, I get cramped and make a weak shot.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

If you can get there with one step that is better but if not you might have to take two steps.


Stanislav Galov

Stanislav Galov Posted 5 years ago

Michael mcgoldrick, like Jeff said, it’s way better to be balanced, especially if you want to be consistent. :) You can usually see those compromised leaning shots when the performer doesn’t have enough time to move quickly to the desired position in order to execute the shot in a way they had trained a long time but mostly in a balanced position.  We often see pros do that shot at least for a few reasons - their attacks are very fast and deceptive but they often successfully predict when the ball will land on their backhand side of the table early enough to utilize pivoting; and their FH is often more aggressive and powerful than their backhand (which though is quicker). Why did i say fast and deceptive? Because even pros don’t seem to be sure in their predictions where the ball is going to come (on their FH side or the BH side) so they would keep a ready position in the middle that will allow them to minimize the surprise. This leaves them less time to perform pivoting but still allows them to cover a good portion of the FH part of the table.

 

That’s my unpro opinion :)


Stanislav Galov

Stanislav Galov Posted 5 years ago

Ilia Minkin, as i look at those 2 pictures, to me it is difficult to tell how fast the ball is moving, i.e. sometimes knowing that the ball has backspin on it may not be enough to better evaluate the situation. From the position of Stefan Fegerl, I’d have much more problems sending the ball down the line without jumping like a TT-ninja :), so I believe Ma Lin has a better placement of his torso as thus he keeps the initiative to send the ball to both sides to the very last moment. And the feet, they are just supporting the torso for what’s intended to happen :) (i.e. send the ball left or right) I'd say they are just the extention of the torso's intention. To my unpro eye Stefan’s shot can’t be as fast as Ma’s as he seems stationary, while the latter’s extended hand and impetus of the torso give additional power to the spin.

Well i shouldn’t try thinking so far ahead knowing i can’t even consistently execute simple TSs lol But i've listened so much to the lessons of Alois and Jeff that sometimes it feels like i'm already hearing in my head what they would say about a certain situation :) Maybe it is a side effect of the long hours spent in internet or a trap of my imagination that i should try avoiding :D


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 5 years ago

Just for reference, here are the videos:


Fegerl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2sqEHAgtj0
Ma Lin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8z6AyEm8G0s

The thing is that Ma Lin has very special footwork technique for this case. Maybe he optimized it because it is such an important shot for him. Fegerl's footwork looks more like from Pingskills' video.


Stanislav Galov

Stanislav Galov Posted 5 years ago

You have found indeed a good pair of videos to compare. There are so many differences and all of them could and probably should be analysed… :) E.g. Ma Lin seems to be more erect, probably mostly due to his shorter stature. So to him it’s easier to execute top spin, while Stefan has to stoop… Still, it seems to me that Ma Lin “invests” everything in this one shot relying on power and surprise, compromising his recovery, while  Stefan’s performance allows him to recover much faster, but his shot seems a less powerful and surprising.

On the other hand, it is my understanding that most TT players from China execute topspin with extended hand, while the rest – with a folded in the elbow. While the latter gives you more control, the first seems to bring more momentum to the ball, considering the basic mechanical principles, i.e. the further from the centre the more the energy (speed). Also Alois has shown us that it is better to brush the ball with the outer part of the rubber, i.e. furthest from the wrist, rather than the central or inner (which is closer to the hand). Some of my friends are still convinced that more spin is imparted when brushing with the central “Upper” or “Lower” part of the bat, but it doesn’t make sense to me from mathematical point of view :)

 

That’s what i see :) Thanks for noticing and sharing those technique differences.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 5 years ago

Stanislav, you are welcome. You are right that their shots look different. But I'd say that Stefan's forehand looks quite formidable too me as well :) 

The reason why started to think about this issue is that I noticed that many Chinese players place their feet quite square to the table when they pivot, so maybe it is more efficient. Ma Lin's footwork looks like an extreme case of this technique.


Stanislav Galov

Stanislav Galov Posted 5 years ago

I see. Well I'm not saying that Stefan's technique is not good :) I could only dream of having it :) To me it resembles the Ovcharov's... I even said it gave a better recovery. It is powerful, but not as much and not as surprising i think.

Hmm interesting... I never paid attention on their feet position and how square it is. It's a good point to start looking at :) Thanks again! I thought most Chinese players usually jump in similar situations hahah so i ignored the position of their feet assuming it's always in the air :D


Walter Lopez

Walter Lopez Posted 5 years ago

The footwork is really important to be prepared at any time in game.

Many times I've been in bad positions and lose important points, so I will practice all you say. Thanks a lot


kathy mckelvey

kathy mckelvey Posted 5 years ago

Trying to stay balanced which is improving my coordination with the strokes!  Thank's Jeff


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

Great to hear Kathy. Keep up the good work!


Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 5 years ago

@Walter - yes footwork is really important. As you mention, if you are not in a good position it is hard to play the correct stroke. Enjoy your practice :-)


Johan B

Johan B Posted 5 years ago

I think Ma Lin is moving a lot further to the left simply because he really doesn't wanna play a backhand on the next ball. Generally he will place the ball really wide with lots of power, so it is difficult to do anything else than play cross court, if you're even able to get to the ball, because he can get some pretty extreme angles.



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