I spend quite a bit of time coaching adults who never properly acquired the basics of proper movement, and now have difficulty years later in correcting themselves.
Here are my recommendations:-
Slow Down, here's why
Have you ever watched 2 strong players doing their warm-up.
they start doing fh to fh counter. They are not going super fast and they might even be chatting as the do it! Then you realise it's been a minute and they haven't missed. and to top that they are not hitting straight back to each other. every 2 or three shots 1 player breaks the sideline or sends one the body, and in every case his partner moves to cover it perfectly. They might go on like for maybe 5 minutes just teasing each other. 1 Rally!
You would have been watching the result of 2 players who have developed their reactions to the unconscious level where they move without having to think about it.
I know you see people doing drills at a 100 miles to improve their games. Its fun, the rallies may be short and its easy to feel that your getting somewhere, but sometimes a slower approach can be more beneficial it is still hard work but is focused more on building better habits.
what follows below can be adapted to multi ball if you don't have a suitable blocking partner
- approach this as a driving or counterhit exercise contact at peak bounce or earlier. Looping or big spin allows taking the ball at various timing points and distances to compensate for late or lazy footwork should be a no no. So Falkenberg thought enjoyable and good for movement in general is probably not the thing to solve your problem.
- Concentrating on hitting the ball at a consistent early timing from different positions with good weight transfer and recovery
- The first exercise I would recommend is 'N' or 'short long, short long'
Right handers:-the feeder blocks/hits short to forehand, long to forehand then short to backhand, long to backhand.
the worker plays fh counter to every ball, aiming for feeders bat on every ball. At first both players should concentrate rhythm not speed, 20 shot rallies are good. Looping the long balls is detrimental
its a regular exercise but has an irregular feel to it because the combined sideways and backward-forward movement is so testing that one has to constantly adjust balance and footwork.
- the reason the exercise is so beneficial is that, though its quite hard work, it compels you to get to every part of the table using your feet constantly- if you can do 10 to 15 minutes of 'N' making 15 to 20 shot rallies, trust me, getting behind every ball in a normal game is going to be no problem
- the next 2 exercises are very simple fh to fh counter from fh corners and fh to bh counter from bh corner. For these concentrate on long consistent rallies trying to maintain open stance, with right shoulder and right knee in perfect relationship to the ball immediately before each stroke. Feeders task is to randomly send the ball about 18" to the left or right of the correct line and workers job is to faithfully get behind every ball. It's important to keep the speed down so that you high repetition and multiple chances for worker to move correctly many times.
The essence of this type of training is keeping it simple and easy and slow so that player has chance to acquire muscle memory through long rallies. Also leg strength will improve thus eliminating one of the probable root causes of lazy footwork.
2 or 3 times a week for 6 months and you won't know yrself