Footwork is extremely important in all sports, including table tennis. Most club or casual players do know have good footwork. This is because they either do not know how to move or they do not move at all.
An important factor to great footwork is to bend your knees.
If you do not bend your knees, you will not be able to have good footwork as it is the most fundamental stance of great footwork.
With good knee bend, you will have good stability and balance, because of the correct center of gravity.
Short distance footwork
One type of footwork is the footwork for short distance. This is when you have to move a step or you shuffle to get to the ball.
You always move your outside foot first. (This is called the cross-over step), the outside foot is the one furthest away from the ball.
For example if you are moving to hit a wide forehand, you would need to move your left foot first.
In order to move quick, you need to already have a bend in your knees.
When you knees are bent, you can react much faster because you do not have to bend your knees again to move, you can move straight away from the bent knee position, shaving off a few milliseconds to even a second or two.
Think of bending your knees like a spring, you push down and the energy is just waiting to unleash itself.
Long distance footwork
Longer distance footwork is similar to short distance, just that you need to cover more ground.
Front and back movement
The last common type of footwork is moving in and out of the table.
If you are moving in to make a push or flip you need to have your right foot under the table.
This will give you more reach. It is important to stay low (bending your knees) when flipping a short ball because you need to catch the ball at the top of the bounce.
When you catch the ball at the top of the bounce you are catching it when it is at its APEX ( highest) , which means you will not have to lift the ball as much.
If you don’t bend your knees you will not know when the ball has reached its highest point.
Bending your knees is very important in table tennis. Basically every single shot has something to do with bending your knees. So keep working hard on improving your stance. Once you find yourself comfortable with bending you knees, movement will seem much more fluid and much easier.
Tools to improve footwork
Ulimate Speed Training Set – Agility Ladder, Bungee Resistance Cord, 4 Adjustable Hurdles, 12 Sport Cones and Exercise Folder – Premium Training Kit for Increased Acceleration & Speed
Crown Sporting Goods Hexagonal Ladder Set, Fluorescent Orange – Plyometric Hex Speed Rings for Agility Footwork Training & Vertical Jump Workouts, Features 6-Rungs of Hexes