By: Richard McAfee, USATT Certified National Coach
Table Tennis is a demanding physical sport, requiring excellent footwork and a high aerobic capacity. Here are several advanced movement drills that will greatly increase your footwork skills, balance, leg strength, heart recovery rate, and aerobic capacity.
Warning! These are very demanding drills. Start off slowly; try to do from 8-12 repetitions of each drill. Work your way up to 24 repetitions.
Physical Setup You will need barriers of some kind (wall or surround) placed 6' to the right and left sides of the table behind your end line and parallel to the sides of your table. Set your Newgy Robot to send an underspin ball deep to the middle of the table. Set the ball feed between 1 and 3.
Forehand Movement Drill The concept of this drill is to execute a forehand loop, then move to your right (right-handers) and touch the barrier, then return in time to receive the next ball. Standard two-step movement should be used, do not cross your feet. Adjust the ball feed and/or the distance of the barrier to force you to move as fast as possible. Try to keep your upper body from leaning sideways while moving as it will negatively impact your balance.
Backhand Movement Drill Same drill as above, except that you will be executing backhand strokes and moving to your left.
Up and Back Movement Drill Set your Robot to deliver a short underspin serve to the middle of the table. Set the ball feed between 1 and 3. You will also need a barrier between 10 and 12 feet back of the table on your side (wall or surround).
The concept of this drill is to execute a forehand flip, then move back as quickly as possible and touch the barrier behind you and return for the next ball. Alternate between forehand and backhand flips. This is a great drill for defenders.
Important Note: Please remember that these are very strenuous drills. Start slowly and work your way into shape. You will quickly see an improvement in both your physical conditioning and footwork speed.