Coach Carl’s Column: Forehand Footwork Drill by Carl Hardin

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To best utilize this drill, practice 30 minutes 3 times a week for 4 weeks with the forehand stroke only.

To start off, be sure you are using the perfect table tennis posture - Lean forward until your heels start to come up off the floor and your stance distance between your feet is greater than the width of your shoulders, this will shift your body weight to the inside of the balls of your feet. Note: The playing arm side foot should be 3 to 4 inches to the rear of the other foot.

Now turn on your Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot. Adjust the control panel to the following settings: Normal Mode, Left 8, Right 17, Speed 9, Wait Time 2 seconds, Robot Head Top-Spin and Head Angle 2.

You are now ready to begin this drill. As the robot head moves, start moving your feet to the location that the robot will send the ball and wait for it to cross the net before starting a back-swing.

The reason it’s best to move your feet first is your back swing shifts your body weight back to the heels of your feet, which makes it difficult to move quick enough to be in a balanced position to execute a proper stroke. Therefore it is very important that you do not start a backswing and/or reach for a ball until you have moved into the proper position to execute your stroke.

Every ball has a target. Your primary target is to return the ball that lands in your forehand court with a counter or loop stroke to your opponent’s forehand court, return the ball that lands in the middle back to your opponent’s middle and the ball that lands in your backhand court back to your opponent’s backhand court.

Continue this same drill for 30 days or until you’re able to be in your table tennis posture position and balanced to execute a perfect stroke 100% of the time and able to return 80% of the balls to within 12 inches of your opponent’s end line and to the forehand court, middle end line or backhand court.

After you meet the above goals, reduce the wait time in small increments until you reach the ultimate goal of 1 second of wait time with proper table tennis posture, footwork and balance to execute a perfect stroke. Then you will be ready to start the Forehand-Backhand combination footwork drill.

Carl Hardin

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