Footwork Drill 001: Five Forehands (Middle, BH, Middle, BH, FH)

five forehands drillIf you haven’t checked it out yet I’m creating a database of table tennis drills. This is only my second drill but I’ll be spending the next few months building it up into a huge library of every exercise I can think of!

Today’s drill is a footwork drill and I’ve found a video of the Indian National Team training in Preston, UK, in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics. The players are Subhajit Saha (#243) and Pathik Mehta (#NR).

The drill is five forehands; forehand from middle, forehand from backhand side, forehand from middle, forehand from backhand side, and forehand from wide forehand. This is all going into a backhand block, except for the fifth forehand which goes across the table to the blockers forehand. Then the rally goes into free play.

This is a great drill for improving your forehand drive/topspin because you get to play so many of them! It also combines a good amount of movement, both big and small sidesteps, and left to right movements.


Here are a few tips to help you with this drill;

  1. Give yourself plenty of space to play your forehand – If you don’t move enough and get too close to the ball it will make the shot awkward and the following movement much more difficult to get right.
  2. Move first, then play the stroke – This is a good general principle for all movement drills. Don’t try to play a stroke while moving. Get your feet in the right place first, briefly stop, and then play.
  3. Get your feet side-on for the forehand from the backhand side – As you are playing the ball into your opponents backhand you will need to get your feet right round the corner in order to play a natural shot and avoid dragging the ball into the middle of the table.


There are a number of ways you can vary this exercise;

  • Change the position of the blocker and have them block with their forehand.
  • Change the order of the movement. For example, forehand from wide, forehand middle, forehand from wide, forehand middle, and forehand from backhand.
  • Start with a service.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this drill and the video, and if you have any questions please leave a comment below. Thanks.

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