April 5, 2020
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Footwork for Defenders | Table Tennis | PingSkills

Hi there, I’m Jeff Plumb and today we’re going
to be talking about footwork for defenders. Footwork for defenders is quite different
from footwork for attackers. The defenders have got a much bigger distance to cover and
also they’ve got a little bit more time. So you are going to find that a lot of the footwork
when they’re back from the table is from a side on motion. The other real difference is that they’re
moving in and out from the table quite a lot. Let’s have a look at the movement now. You’ll
find that the movement is still a sideways shuffling movement but I want to get from
here back to there to defend that next ball. I’m going to make a sideways shuffling movement
back here to be able to make my stroke. If the next ball is short I’m going to shuffle
in sideways to come in for the next ball. Similarly if I’m back here on my backhand
and I want to go across and get the next ball from my forehand, again it’s a sideways shuffle.
This time it’s across here. Similar to the footwork of an attacker but on a bigger scale.
I’m across here, make my chop, move across here, make my chop. And that’s the sideways
shuffling that you use as a defender. A lot of the movements of a defender are in
a “V” or in a triangle shape. So we’re in here and then we’re moving out either way
there and across here. So you can see the triangle of the movement from here to here
to here and back to here again. When you’re training you need to practice
a lot of your movement in that triangle shape. We would practice a lot of moving out and
back in on that angle. Similarly out and back in on that angle. And then we also need to
practice moving from side to side from forehand to backhand. The other important area for a defender is
when your opponent is playing into your middle. So for that it’s important to be able to turn
quickly sideways to be able to get a good position to make the chop. If you’re square
on that middle position becomes really difficult to chop from. So you need to be able to turn,
or turn to the forehand to make that position. So that involves quickly twisting your feet
here and here. Because you’re a little bit further away from the table you do have a
little bit more time than you would if you’re close to the table. So from back here if the
ball comes to the middle make sure you’re trying to turn sideways to make the stroke,
or turn sideways to make the forehand stroke.

David Frank



  1. MazingMike Posted on August 17, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Awesome guys! Keep up the good work!

  2. Andrew Yonathan Posted on August 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    This is pretty useful, what is the best way to change the pace of being defensive to offensive?

  3. Nutelko8 Posted on August 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Your back in action guys!

  4. harol artola Posted on August 18, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    the best tutorials, thank you from Nicaragua 😀

  5. 111om Posted on August 20, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    whats jeffs bat n rubbers
    i gues they must be good for choop

  6. Davorius James Posted on August 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    How do you stop from over hitting a backhand loop?

  7. Mike .P Posted on August 28, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Wireless my boy, time to go wireless.  Do you have one on different defensive strokes & when to use?

  8. Daniel Coto Posted on August 30, 2014 at 6:54 am

    In 2014 Safir Open, in Waldner and Zhai's match, for the last point of the second set, Waldner made an insane short return. Can you show how to do it?

  9. manu de hanoi Posted on September 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    always fun to practice defense once in a while, it at least allows to do a little cardio when the upper body is a bit tired.
    Is there a difference with the footwork for lobbing ?

  10. rushtoolman Posted on October 9, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Great videos! You guys pros?

  11. Roman Adar Posted on July 6, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Very nice and well explained Alois and Jeff. As a side comment I wanted to add that Jeff plays well both as a defender as well as attacker. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Lego fans Posted on June 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    How can I balance between defense and attack if I am a mixed type player?

  13. Team Rockers Posted on May 2, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    how to stop the opponent smash

  14. Crist 24 Posted on December 9, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    This is golden stuff!!! I can not explain how much I have improved in such a short time by watching this simple but very informative videos. Making myself a premiun member, no doubt about that!!!

  15. Ayush Banerjee Posted on June 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Hey Alois and Jeff, Great Video!! Could you suggest some good short pimple rubber for close to the table fast attack? Also, what rubbers were you using in this video?

  16. Helio Lago Jr. Posted on August 8, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Do you have to have a defensive racket to this kind of movement?

  17. Zazen forever Posted on August 27, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    To your credit, and to my knowledge, you are the only trainers that have addressed the teaching of the defensive style in table tennis. Attacking or offensive training is so prevalent, it amazing defenders do well at all, but its a very valid style- esp in the lower levels. So, thank you very much!

  18. Zazen forever Posted on August 27, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Also, do you have a recommendation on when to switch to attack for a modern defender? Wait for an opening, or just vary attack in with the chops? Thanks.

  19. P V Posted on October 30, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    You guys are the best. Calming advice!