How do you learn to sidestep properly?

says Spin and more spin.
says Spin and more spin.
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If I look at my play (and certainly it is considered low level 😃) 90% of my footwork needed is covered by Falkenberg. I find this a perfect excercise to include in most training session to keep and extend your quickness and specifically combined with FH/BH transitions (adjusting grip).

What I was implying was the idea that the OP may need to work on the separate aspects of the Falkenberg (step around, one step) independently first if he is not able to step towards the FH side as of yet which he implies in the first post of the thread. I hope that makes sense. Falkenberg combines two important footwork issues into one drill. It is an excellent drill if you are able to do it. But the issue presented in the first post might be directly addressed by a 2 point drill on FH.

Maybe this is a high level version of it:



All the drills in the next video would be good to practice (shadow and with the ball). And getting to see them done by someone like Primorac where the form is so clean, is kind of nice.



 
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Perhaps a bit off-topic:

Get down!

When I hear side-step I always see someone doing long push to my BH and myself trying to side-step and playing FH top-spin which ends up a strange stroke, where I am not happy with just about anything, not enough speed, spin, body action, mostly played with arm only and also not happy with the end position. Then I see better players and it is very obvious there IS enough space and time to do that. The stroke they managed to play is not 100% power, but it is good good enough. Rarely it happens I am happy with my stroke. Mentally what helps is to try to get down. I also tried to think "move left foot more to the left", which makes space, and also gets you down, but it didn't help to have it 1st focus for me. 1st focus get down, then also the left foot gets more left (usually), more space, body can rotate right (preparation) at least in my case.

Any ideas to this particular situation? Perhaps how to prevent, even though it is not entirely preventable?
 
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Perhaps a bit off-topic:

Get down!

When I hear side-step I always see someone doing long push to my BH and myself trying to side-step and playing FH top-spin which ends up a strange stroke, where I am not happy with just about anything, not enough speed, spin, body action, mostly played with arm only and also not happy with the end position. Then I see better players and it is very obvious there IS enough space and time to do that. The stroke they managed to play is not 100% power, but it is good good enough. Rarely it happens I am happy with my stroke. Mentally what helps is to try to get down. I also tried to think "move left foot more to the left", which makes space, and also gets you down, but it didn't help to have it 1st focus for me. 1st focus get down, then also the left foot gets more left (usually), more space, body can rotate right (preparation) at least in my case.

Any ideas to this particular situation? Perhaps how to prevent, even though it is not entirely preventable?

If by "end position" means the position where you 'arrived' after side-stepping (to prepare for the FH topspin), then it could possibly mean you are not at an optimal hitting space; i.e. distance between the incoming ball and you is either too close or too far - which I suspect the former to be the case, considering how you said there's not enough of everything and the stroke was being played with your arm only (I was imagining you only short-stroking the ball because of the ball closing its distance towards your body and you may be a little late to react). Also, you mentioning other players having enough space and time to perform the same shot strengthens my guess, but then please clarify again if I didn't entirely catch it right.😀

Getting down is good in a way that it grants you better vision/angle at an incoming ball (especially against push/backspins to check whether those balls are slowing down in their trajectory - quite evident if you are playing (semi-)outdoors, where a slight hint of wind, on top of things like humidity, air resistance, etc. may disrupt the ball's arc and your own rhythm- , hence giving you the option to adjust your timing/bat angle and visualize the optimal contact point). No problem with that, but what may help you is to memorize the optimal personal distance as to where you should be standing at ALL times in a ready position. You should always stand in a ready position X cm from the table edge (side or deep), where X = your bat length + length of lower arm (up to your elbow), which is usually in the range of 40-60 cm from the edge depending on your physique.

When you memorize this distance, your sidesteps will grant you a much better space, even for the FH pivot topspin like you described.Of course when you play opponents you won't get the balls always coming to BH side only, but say when it goes to your middle or even far side FH, you will more often than not HAVE AN OPTIMAL SPACE to stroke.

Last, a good mini exercise if you wanna specifically train the FH pivot topspin: ask someone / coach if u have one, to feed balls to your BH side, you return with your BH, but starting from the 5th ball up, you must pivot/attack with FH.

Good luck mate!

 
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If by "end position" means the position where you 'arrived' after side-stepping (to prepare for the FH topspin), then it could possibly mean you are not at an optimal hitting space; i.e. distance between the incoming ball and you is either too close or too far - which I suspect the former to be the case, considering how you said there's not enough of everything and the stroke was being played with your arm only (I was imagining you only short-stroking the ball because of the ball closing its distance towards your body and you may be a little late to react). Also, you mentioning other players having enough space and time to perform the same shot strengthens my guess, but then please clarify again if I didn't entirely catch it right.😀

Hi, by "end position" I mean where I end up after performing the stroke. I'd say if the stroke started in bad position, it won't end up in good position :) I do remember some "moments of light", where I too managed to make space and time for myself, and at the end also ended up in OK end position - but more often it is not so.

Getting down is good in a way that it grants you better vision/angle at an incoming ball (especially against push/backspins to check whether those balls are slowing down in their trajectory - quite evident if you are playing (semi-)outdoors, where a slight hint of wind, on top of things like humidity, air resistance, etc. may disrupt the ball's arc and your own rhythm- , hence giving you the option to adjust your timing/bat angle and visualize the optimal contact point). No problem with that, but what may help you is to memorize the optimal personal distance as to where you should be standing at ALL times in a ready position. You should always stand in a ready position X cm from the table edge (side or deep), where X = your bat length + length of lower arm (up to your elbow), which is usually in the range of 40-60 cm from the edge depending on your physique.

When you memorize this distance, your sidesteps will grant you a much better space, even for the FH pivot topspin like you described.Of course when you play opponents you won't get the balls always coming to BH side only, but say when it goes to your middle or even far side FH, you will more often than not HAVE AN OPTIMAL SPACE to stroke.

Yes, that is also one of the things I try to improve. So first I try to get to that position after serve. I think this too needs to be fully burnt into. For example when practising serve, I may perform the serve, but do just the serve motion and not the get into position motion. I think it is good to do both at once.

Last, a good mini exercise if you wanna specifically train the FH pivot topspin: ask someone / coach if u have one, to feed balls to your BH side, you return with your BH, but starting from the 5th ball up, you must pivot/attack with FH.

Thanks. I'd add, also a bit off-topic, that I think better players are also capable of using the space "vertically", where horizontally means to the sides, which is comparatively easy. I've made one exercise on robot for that, 4 balls, short backspin serve to FH, long backspin ball to FH, short backpin serve to BH, long backspin serve to BH. This forces me to "jump" back to play FH topspin.

Good luck mate!

Thanks again, to you too.

P.S. We have enough bullshit going on with artificial viruses and Ukraine now. Imo, we should be able to handle jddavid's entrance however hard it may seem to us, but we should not call him names. There is enough of it right now everywhere else.
 
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Well, when you serve you choose the type of the serve, the spin, the placement, the force, the motion that may fool the opponent, etc., and you must already know what the return would look like, so it should be easy for you to place yourself proper at the end of the stroke.
Thats the advantage of the serve.
 
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For example when practising serve, I may perform the serve, but do just the serve motion and not the get into position motion. I think it is good to do both at once.

https://youtu.be/l6jexH2csJY
Check that out. Good info on how your feet should move right after a serve.


"vertically"

Yes, it is true. Hence the X distance I mentioned is crucial.
You may or may not realize it, but human body moves fractionally faster when going forward than backward, one of the simple reason is because we don't have eyes at the back of our head lol.
In my case.. I like to add a little more extra distance 'behind' the X distance. It gives me a much more unrestricted stroke space (without worrying my racket hitting the table in a full swing) and I can always reach forward easily for the shorter balls due to the what I said above + my height.

Keep it up man!

 
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Thanks for all the great replies
From reading them, here is what I will start implementing:
  • Overcompensate by try to always feel the left foot in the floor, and keep the balance in the middle, even for FH loops
  • Drill both 2-point FH and 2-point BH
  • Do skater hops and side steps before practise
I find that I move pretty well laterally when I play only backhand, so I think i will try to do a drill with first 3 balls BH, and then free on the table. This way I hope I can keep the feeling of my body and legs and carry it over to FH.

I would love to do some ladder drills as well. I'm not sure about the logistics of it though, I'll think some more about that.
 
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Well, when you serve you choose the type of the serve, the spin, the placement, the force, the motion that may fool the opponent, etc., and you must already know what the return would look like, so it should be easy for you to place yourself proper at the end of the stroke.
Thats the advantage of the serve.

Hi langel, long time no see, sorry for the late reply. I agree it should be so. Following happened to me often enough to be recognized. I serve, my opponent does long/very long push or chop to my BH and I do not use it properly. If I'd position myself right after the serve a little bit behind (together with serve motion), I'd have time to position myself to attack the ball, to step to the left (and no more need to go back, already back enough) and kill it. Today it happened again :) Sometimes, during the day, between work, or just to relax, I do couple of serves, often bar-foot :) And those don't include this "after serve positioning" - it really is better to do it with shoes :). That is what I meant, this needs to be burnt into the brain. Most likely, you don't need to think about it anymore. But that is what I meant, I hope it illustrates it :) Cheers.
 
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One drill that works wonders with my pupils is the double bounce drill. Against slow block on your backhand do a mini bounce between strokes. If you get more advanced to 2 mini bounces. You can also do this on the forehand. I feel this drill is very effective in that it teaches you to load up your feet at the end of each stroke so you can move in any direction. It gets your feet moving like a dance. A lot of club players are heavy on their feet with weight on their heels and this drill can make a huge change to their game. I was going to make a short video on this drill and if there is interest I will post the link here.
 
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