Put the Ball on the Table!

Samson Dubina

Once a player has mastered all four aspects, he might feel that he should be in good position for every shot. This is merely wishful thinking! The world’s best players have perfected all four of these footwork elements, yet they are still often caught off-balance. However, when they aren’t in perfect position, they are able to adjust their technique to fit the shot.

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Coaching Tip: Balance Throughout the Stroke

You should be able to smash or loop at near full power without going off balance. Top players can play great shots in rapid succession because they are always balanced, which leads to a rapid recover for the next shot. When you go off balance, even slightly, you cannot recover quickly for the next shot. There are two times when players tend to go off balance: either when moving to the ball or when following through.

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The Physical Aspects of Your Table Tennis Game: Endurance; Speed; And Strength

To me being in great physical shape is a very important component to a successful table tennis game. There are many aspects to the physical game but today I am only going to cover the ones I believe are the most important for table tennis: Endurance; Speed; and Strength. My name is Seth Pech and I’m currently living in Rissen, Germany. I play at a club in Moorage and will soon play the 3rd spot in our club’s Hamburg 5th league team.

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Coaching Tip: Backhand and Forehand Playing Distance

At the intermediate and advanced levels (below world-class level), the most common rallying style combines forehand looping and backhand hitting. These players often attack backspin by looping from both sides, but once in a fast topspin rally mostly hit on the backhand side. It’s simply easier for most to loop in a rally on the forehand side because the body isn’t in the way, so you have a huge hitting zone. On the backhand side, players are often cramped as they try to backhand loop a fast incoming ball, so hitting is easier and more effective. This often means trying to hit the backhand close to the table while looping the forehand from farther back. How can a player handle this?

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Coaching Tip: The Falkenberg Drill

The Falkenberg Drill (also called the Two-One Drill and the Backhand-Forehand-Forehand Drill) is probably the most popular drill for players at the intermediate and advanced levels. It combines three of the most common moves in table tennis: covering the wide forehand, covering the wide backhand, and the step-around forehand from the backhand side (since you often want to end the point with your forehand against a weak ball to the backhand). Go to any major tournament and you’ll often see the top players warming up with this drill.

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Coaching Tip: Movement in Doubles

There are two standard ways to move in doubles. At the advanced levels, if you have two righties and they train regularly for doubles, they usually learn circling footwork, where after each shot the player steps backwards and circles clockwise to the left so they can approach the table from their backhand side and go into a neutral or forehand-favoring ready position. (A righty’s normal ready stance would be toward the left, with his playing elbow near the center of the table, or more to the left to favor the forehand, or more to the right to favor the backhand.) Two lefties would do the same, except they move counter-clockwise to the right. However, learning to do circling footwork takes a lot of practice, usually under the supervision of a coach. You also need two mobile players.

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