USA Table Tennis

Apr 14 Tip of the Day - Flex Those Knees, and Assume You Have To Move!

By Larry Hodges | Sept. 01, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)

Larry HodgesFlex Those Knees, and Assume You Have To Move!

Reprinted from the January, 1997 issue of Table Tennis Talk

Most players go through the following sequence during each shot of a rally:
  1. Opponent is about to strike ball.
  2. Opponent strikes ball.
  3. Player sees incoming ball.
  4. Player decides if he has to move to make shot.
  5. Player decides if he can or should step around backhand to play forehand.
  6. Player moves.
  7. Ball whizzes by, player barely reaches it in time.
Top players go through the following routine:
  1. Opponent is about to strike ball.
  2. Opponent strikes ball; player flexes knees, prepares to move.
  3. Player sees incoming ball, moves immediately.
  4. Player is in position, with lots of time to step around backhand to play forehand if player chooses.
As you can see, the second sequence is much quicker. The two key points to remember are these:
  • As opponent is hitting ball, begin to flex your knees. This prepares you to move quickly. 
  • Assume you will always have to move.
If you follow these two tips, you'll find you'll be in position for far more shots than before. If you have a good forehand loop but think your feet are too slow, you'll be shocked (with a little practice) at how easy it is to loop many deep balls, especially pushes and serves! The secret is in technique, not foot speed.

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