Footwork is very important in ping pong. Accurate shots must be accompanied by the correct footwork and that is why every ping pong player should be as good in his footwork as possible. Varying serves and returns call for varying footwork and every player should understand all the types of footwork that are applicable.
For a player to improve on his footwork, he should first understand the movements. The following is an overview of every footwork move that is applicable in ping pong. It can help you perfect your motions easily.
1. In and out footwork
This is a very crucial type of footwork that allows you to successfully return short balls, or make a short serve. In the move, you are able to move forward and return back quickly to the position after making the shot.
For you to successfully make this move, your non-dominant foot first moves to the front and then allows the dominant one to come to the front, right under the table. This allows you to successfully make your shot and then come back to position.
When returning to position, your dominant foot returns first in an outward manner and then gets followed by the non-dominant one, which returns to position straight.
2. Shuffle stepping footwork
Shuffle stepping, or simply side to side footwork, is a very common pattern that has to be seen in every game. The pattern helps you make shots while close to the table. It needs you to be really fast for you to successfully utilize it.
In shuffle stepping footwork, your outside foot must always move no matter the side you are moving to. When shifting from a backhand play to the forehand, your left foot moves first to your right before the right one. When coming back to a backhand play, the right foot moves first and gets followed by the left one.
When returning to position, the foot that moved first returns first and gets followed by the other one. The steps should always be short and quick.
3. The crossover footwork
Just as the name suggests, a crossover is a footwork pattern that features one-foot crossing over the other one. It is best applicable when your opponent makes an aggressive shot that requires a fast pace return. It minimizes your body movements and helps you get to the returning position fast enough.
To successfully switch to your forehand using this pattern, you should quickly move your left foot to the right by crossing it over the right one. The left foot should act as a pivot and carry all your body weight. A cross over to the left by the left foot will be needed for you to successfully get back to your ready position.
4. One-step footwork
This is a very useful pattern that is normally used as the last resort. The pattern involves the movement of only one foot and results to a better balance and quicker reaction. It is used when the player has no time to think and has to make a return immediately.
To successfully make the one-step footwork, you should move one of your legs and make a wider stance. The wider stance gives a better balance and helps you make extreme movements with your body. Returning the foot back is equally easy as you will just step back freely.
Improving your footwork
You can’t just play once or twice and find yourself okay with footwork. Enough practice is needed for you to gain these motions. The practice needs to be correct for you to gain the necessary skills without messing anywhere. Always practice correctly and honestly for you to be able to efficiently utilize your footwork.
All the footwork patterns are also important. Each one of them remains the most useful at specific scenarios and should, therefore, be practiced for efficient play at those scenarios. You should patiently practice each pattern until it becomes a free flow for you.
Footwork is also important in serves and should not be forgotten. You should practice your footwork enough and ensure that you are always able to move correctly when serving. Every time you are serving, ensure that you are able to quickly return to your ready position immediately after the balls fly. This should be a habit for you and should be mastered quickly.
Ping pong is a game that requires accuracy and confidence at all times. You can only gain this through mastering everything correctly. Footwork is important and needs to be practiced to perfection. Always be able to use each footwork pattern at the right time, and in the correct manner.