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How To Develop Fantastic Footwork

Footwork is a serious weakness for most players.

The reason most players struggle with footwork is because they haven’t taken the time to build strong foundations.

Put in simple terms footwork is about moving to the perfect position to play the ball and moving into the perfect stance for the stroke you’re executing.

This takes a lot of practice both in getting the movements perfect to stay in perfect stance and in anticipating where the ball will be hit in a real match situation.

In this article we’ll talk about basic footwork for rallies.

Take It Slow
A core principle of building great footwork foundations is to hit the ball slow so that you can focus on getting in perfect position for each shot.

To develop great footwork in rallies you must start with developing steady consistent strokes off both your backhand and forehand side.

Many players need to go back to basics and focus on playing 50-200 steady slow strokes consecutively without missing using perfect technique from one position.

If you practice playing a backhand crosscourt getting 50-200 on without missing then a forehand down the line (into your practice partner’s backhand) 50-200 without missing this is a great warm up for the footwork exercises to come.

You can then move on to a simple footwork exercise like:
One forehand then one backhand…still playing to your practice partner’s backhand to make the feed easier for them.

When you can do 50-200 of these at a slow steady speed you can move on to one of the most important footwork exercises…the irregular feed.

In this exercise you still hit every ball to your practice partner’s backhand side.

Your practice partner hits the ball anywhere on the table randomly.

The key here is your practice partner should be making the feed a little bit difficult so you have to work but within your range of skill.

The placement should also be very varied with not more than 2 shots in a row going to the same location.

Again build up to 50-200 strokes without missing.

Stay Slow & Develop Perfect Footwork & Stroke Technique
To begin with you’ll have to start playing very slow and really concentrate on working hard with your feet to get in perfect position and playing every stroke with perfect technique.

If you have a target of say, 100 shots without missing doing this type of irregular footwork exercise then one of the players can increase the pace 25% when you hit that goal and see if you can do another 50 or 100 at a higher pace.

If you hit that goal you increase the pace 25% again trying to get another 50-100 without missing at a higher pace again.

Either the feeder or the player doing the footwork can increase the pace by 25%.

For practice being consistent against stronger shots get the feeder to increase the pace.

To develop more power and speed the player doing the footwork increases the pace.

Make This Your Hit Up In Training
This type of exercise is the ideal hit up because it builds from hitting on a single line to a footwork exercise as you get warm.

And you only need to add one extra single line exercise and then the feeder can do a footwork exercise too (in this case you do forehand to forehand then the feeder does a footwork exercise where he is hitting every ball to the forehand and the other player is hitting everywhere).

Each session you can change ensuring one session you’re doing footwork hitting to the backhand side then in your next practice session you hit to the forehand side.

Making It Work For You
The real secrets to making this exercise effective are:
Actually doing it! Most people waste a pile of time doing unfocused forehand to forehand and backhand to backhand practice that never helps them improve significantly. This exercise will help you make massive improvements in your play.

Playing SLOW so you get your footwork and stroke technique perfect.

Being highly focused on hitting your consistency goal of 50-100 without missing and then keeping that rhythm and picking up the pace 25% and hitting another 50-100 without missing. The focus is very important. This exercise takes full application mentally and physically.

Really working hard with your feet and your ankles to get in perfect position for every shot. This perfect footwork and perfect stroke technique become the foundation for your play as you develop into strokes with more spin, speed and power.

Any laziness or half heartedness will result in poor footwork technique. Work really hard and you’ll find your standard rise very quickly as you master this.

Becoming Unbeatable In Rallies
As you develop some skills you can add in more targeted footwork exercises based on your playing style and problems you might encounter with different players.

This basic exercise done as a hit up will give you the foundation to do any rallying exercise effectively.

Here’s the best part.

When you do this exercise, progressively increasing your pace over the course of 1-2 years you become almost unbeatable in steady rallies.

Opponents are forced to play huge shots in rallies to have a chance of beating you and even those you’ll be much better at returning.