Basic Footwork in Table Tennis

Hi I’m Alois Rosario from PingSkills and I’m
Jeff Plumb and today we’re going to talk about Basic footwork. In Table Tennis most of your movement is sideways
so it is really important to get that movement correct. Some basic things that you need to
think about are making sure that you are down low in your basic ready position. Once you
are in that ready position it is a matter of moving sideways with either a little jump
or a shuffle. The easiest way to learn the basic footwork
is to do it slowly and one ball at a time. So i’m going to feed the ball out one at a
time to Jeff. We start with hit, jump, hit, jump into
position and hit. And I am catching the ball each time to give Jeff plenty of time to get
the movement correct. Once you feel like your movement is correct, then you can start to
hit the ball continuously, so it is a hit… and jump. Hit and jump, hit and jump, hit
and jump, hit and jump. The other really important part about footwork
is to make sure that when you are hitting the ball that you have stopped, so now let’s
focus on move… stop… hit… move… stop… and hit. Move, stop, hit. Move Stop Hit. Move, Stop,
Hit. Move, Stop Hit. Let’s have a look at this in slow motion one at a time. So it’s hit, move, stop, hit. Move, stop,
hit, Move, stop. and hit. Why is it really important to be stopped?
Because if you are not stopped you are going to be unbalanced when you are making that
stroke and then it is going to be difficult to recover for the next ball. So you can see that whenever Jeff’s is hitting
the ball now his feet have stopped he is in position and then he makes his stroke. And
Jeff can do it super fast. So the footwork movement is called a shuffle
step but in reality it is best if you are jumping with both legs at the same time. You
will notice that all the best players use both their legs at the same time. They have got
their feet wide apart knees bent and it is almost like they have got a rod between their
knees and all that is happening is that they jump sideways this way and sideways that way.
If at the start you are finding it difficult to make that movement you can use the shuffle
step to get there but in reality I want you to progress quickly to making the jump and
hit, jump and hit. If you have found this lesson useful to learn
your footwork go to and learn a whole lot more about Table Tennis.

46 thoughts on “Basic Footwork in Table Tennis

  1. Nice to see your filming (and re-filming) your videos in 1080p.

    Also, do you believe Xu Xin has the best footwork of all time currently speaking? I think he developed that for a lot of years.

  2. Thanks! Xu Xin does have awesome footwork. However there are a lot of players with great footwork. Maybe you can ask that question on our ask the coach section of our website and we can see what other people think?

  3. Guys, you both need proper table tennis shoes. 🙂 The ones you wear are intended for running or maybe walking but not for table tennis. Such shoes for running as yours have thick sole and low adhesion and both these properties are not good for TT.

  4. Hi Alois, I am also a left handed and I have some problem related to footwork. Normally I serve from the side of the table exposing the table on my forehand. After serving I move slightly inwards to cover the whole table. When the player returns the serve with backspin on my forehand corner out of the table I go for the attack with the topspin, but its very hard to be in the position while hitting because I am very close to the table after serving and I am still moving while playing the shot.

  5. Thanks, this is the most important topic for me at the moment. A lot of things happen after landing because jumping messes up the position :
    – remember to check the ankles/feet orientation according to the stroke after landing otherwise you risk knee injury
    – stopping doesnt mean your are *well* balanced, there is a core (abdominals) body building thing going on, it's important to reposition the torso correctly, because it took a lot of acceleration. I'm rather tall and this is an issue.

  6. wow compared to your previous version of this video, the audio amd quality of both the lesson and videos have improved dramatically!! 🙂 keep up the good work guys!!

  7. I think footwork is often underrated in table tennis, because people are always thinking all of the emphasis is on your upper body. They get extremely surprised when I tell them to focus on their footwork. Different contributions considered are balance, form, and power when you focus on footwork, and I think a lot of amateur players would improve exponentially if they focused on it more. Plus, have you seen the professional players' legs?! They're like tree logs!

  8. Good question. Try and get an opponent to place one ball shorter and one ball deeper. Then you can practice moving in and out.

    Try asking some questions on our website under the ask the coach section. There we have more room to answer your questions.

  9. Footwork makes all the difference. However I find it the hardest thing to learn somehow…
    I always keep my left foot a bit more in front of my right foot (righthanded player) and do all strokes whit that stance. So I only have to worry about the sideways movement. Works well for now! 🙂 But maybe not ideal…?

  10. If you are a forehand oriented player, this is not such a bad thing. As long as it is only a little in front and you can still play your backhand comfortably, it is OK.

  11. Especially if this is a backspin serve, it is hard to attack it. You are often better off returning this ball short and low to stop them from attacking and hopefully you'll be able to attack the next ball.

  12. Great to hear. The key is to learn the basic strokes. Being quite tall can be an advantage with your reach. I'd suggest going through the Strokes & Techniques videos on our website.

    Good luck! If you have any more questions, try the Ask the Coach section on our website.

  13. Greetings from Brazil! I want to thank you for the amazing work, it's helping me a lot. This playlist (Strokes & Techniques) is teaching me everything in table tennis.

  14. Are there different footwork drills I must learn if I play chinese penhold short pips flat hitting on forehand.. and rpb inverted on backhand?

  15. This is a cool video. But the description of Alois is different from what Jeff is doing. Jeff is doing some kind of "prep motion bounce" then doing the shuffle step. It would be great to have a description of this. I understand the shuffle step, but I want to know what Jeff is doing right before the shuffle… it's some kind of pivoting rotating motion.

  16. Your actaully helping me a lot because im entering a Milo Summer clinics class and you are helping me alot!! thank you so much

  17. It would have been more helpful to show some backhand shots as well and the footwork change from switching between forehand and backhand, similar to a real game situation.

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