The Falkenberg drill is one of the most popular exercises in table tennis. It’s a regular movement drill, which means you know where the ball is going to be placed, and can concentrate on your technique, speed and accuracy. The drill was made popular in the 1970’s by Stellan Bengsston and other players at the famous Falkenberg table tennis club in Sweden.
The drill is relatively simple to understand but is still challenging even for the top players making it great for all training sessions. Usually a feeder or controller will control with their backhand. They will play two balls to your backhand and then one to your forehand. You will need to play a backhand, a forehand from the backhand side and then a forehand from wide. Then move back to your backhand side and repeat.
The drawing below should make it clear…
Or if you’d rather see it as a video then here’s Mie Skov practicing the Falkenberg drill with a multiball feed. Mie is the Danish #1 female and is currently ranked 85th in the world. In the video she is working very hard (anaerobically for your sport scientists out there) which will help her get faster and fitter. It means that she’s only able to sustain the work rate for about 30 seconds though, as you’ll see at the end of the video.
Why the Falkenberg Drill is Awesome
I love the Falkenberg drill. It’s an absolute classic! Here are a few reasons why it’s so good and why you should be doing it.
- It has big movements – The Falkenberg drill gets you covering the whole table. Other regular movement drills, such as BH, FH middle, BH, FH wide, can be practiced with only small adjustments of the feet. Falkenberg, on the other hand, has you constantly performing huge movements as you get round the corner (tough) and then move to play a second forehand wide (even tougher).
- It’s versatile – The Falkenberg drill is extremely versatile. I’ll go into a big more detail in a minute but beginners can play drives, more advanced players can topspin, even more advanced players could get the controller to counter-topspin. You can also change the line of play, start with a serve, play free after the first or second wide forehand. There are so many option available.
- It can be a warm-up – The Falkenberg drill can be toned down and used as a great warm up. Just play drive to drive and work your way through the shots warming up your upper and lower body. You can share the drill with a partner doing one set each and slowly building up the intensity over a few minutes. It’ll get you warmed-up and ready to play much better than jogging around the hall!
- It’s multiball friendly – As we saw in the video the Falkenberg drill is great for multiball. You can get a coach or feeder to speed up the balls to work on your fitness, agility and quickness. You could also get them to feed backspin balls to the three positions and work on your opening up with movement.
- It’ll improve your balance – One of the biggest problems in table tennis is losing your balance. Once you’ve lost it you wont be able to move to balls, put power into your shots and you may end up just drifting further and further away from the table. The Falknenberg drill is great chance to practice improving your balance. Big movements, a quick feed, and knowing where the ball is going to go makes it perfect for working on keeping your centre of gravity low and central.
Variations to the Drill
I’ve touched on this already but the versatility of the Falkenberg drill is a huge bonus. Here are some ideas of how you can vary the drill.
- Play to the backhand or forehand block.
- Use a multiball feed.
- Start with a serve and then backhand open-up.
- Play free after the first or second forehand wide.
- Share the drill with your partner performing one set each.
- Change the line of play on the wide forehand.
- Play using only push-to-push (great for beginners).
So in conclusion the Falkenberg drill is one that I don’t think you can go without. It’s so versatile and can be used by beginners all the way up to the top players in the world. You can use it to improve your footwork/movement, consistency, speed, balance, power, opening-up and loads more.
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