Put the Ball on the Table

By Samson Dubina

There are several key elements to footwork:
1. Basic mechanics
2. Anticipation
3. Watching the opponent’s racket
4. Physical fitness

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.

Today I was watching Rye Seung Min (in blue). At 0.02 he wasn’t in the perfect position but was able to still hit a strong forehand. At 0.07 he was slightly off-balance and still made a decent loop. At 0.13 he was surprised to his backhand and still able to push the ball on the table. At 0.31 he was caught in the backhand and forced to make a backhand block. At 0.55 he was slightly late getting in position, so decided to play more spin and less speed

He is one of the best players in the world because he is able to adapt to different balls and still be consistent even if he is in a bad position. As you are developing your game, try to be in perfect position for every ball. However, when you are in poor position, do whatever necessary to return the ball – shorten your stroke, slow it down, block, or push. Whoever puts more balls on the table, WINS!!!