On Forehand Loops and Footwork

Table Tennis Footwork

Last updated 11 years ago

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Asked 13 years ago

Recently I had an epiphany about footwork in table tennis. I had just presumed in the past it was all about getting to a ball out of reach as quickly as possible. I realise now that it is even more about getting your feet to the right position to hit a particular stroke. Even if the ball is coming straight into your hitting zone, you still might have to move your feet.

Now, this is most apparent with the forehand loops (loop drives, slow loops, fast loops) because your feet position are quite different from your neutral waiting position. Therefore, when a chance comes to loop a ball you have to skip to the right feet placement for a loop from a neutral position, hit your shot, and in the same motion, hop back to the neutral position.

Now my first question is: are there any other shots beside a forehand loop where you have to really worry about changing your feet placement away from a neutral position? When you hit backhands, counterdrives or blocks, it seems your feet are pretty much square on to the table which is the same as for a neutral position.

My second question: having to shift your feet position for a forehand loop means it takes a little more preparation time. Do you only hit forehand loops against backspin (because it is slower) or when you are away from the table (as in counter looping because you have more time to react)? Or should I be trying to loop fast topspin when I am close to the table as well?



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 13 years ago

Hi Ji-Soo,

It is nice when something really clicks like that, isn't it.

On your question of turning sideways, the answer is simple.  It is just a matter of time.  If you have more time with either your forehand or backhand you can turn more side on to give yourself more potential to generate power.

That is why we tend to turn more sideon when we are back from the table because we have more to do so. 

When you are short of time you can use your waist to generate some power, but if we had all the time in the would we would turn ourselves more sideon to get more speed. 

So, up close turn your waist for power.  When you have more time turn your feet. 

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Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 13 years ago

Thanks Alois

When I was young (and much faster) I used to turn side on to backhands quite a lot.  I thought this was from my ignorance of correct table tennis form back then.  I didn't realise that actually you were encouraged to turn sideon for backhands if you had enough time as a way of generating more power.  Very interesting!  Thanks!

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 13 years ago

Hi Ji-Soo, Yes we all had more time when we were younger... I don't want to give the impression that you should be turning often with the backhand, it is only when you have time to do it which won't be too often unfortunately. Focus more on improving your turn with your waist.

emmanuel dufour

emmanuel dufour Posted 11 years ago


On forehand strokes I try as much as possible to turn my hips along with my shoulders to avoid twisting my back (and getting backache), and get more power. Problem is the hips require the knee, ankle and foot sole to be in the correct position. Could you provide more details on this topic ? I've felt increased strain on my knees recently and this can't be good.

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