Table Tennis Footwork Patterns for Beginners – Full Guide

If you are passionate about playing table tennis, you will know how footwork is important in the tennis pattern. Ping-pong footwork is a fundamental technique that every table tennis player should learn.

In this article, you will learn 4 basic table tennis drills and patterns in detail, based on Chinese footwork drills.   

Ping pong footwork defines the position when you move your left foot, followed by the right foot under the table. When you play your first stroke, you will move your right foot outward, and your left foot returns to the base position.

Ping pong Stance:

Before learning the basic foot works of table tennis, you should know how to do the right stance and position.

In Chinese philosophy, a standing position is not an overwhelming task but simple and clear.

  • They do not restrict the player to lower their whole body towards the net, like an eye around the net height, because it’s about your height. Some players have short heights while others have longer heights, so there is no rule of thumb. If you are taller and tend to stand eye at the net, you will not be able to move quickly.
  • The Chinese player pays more attention to distance and weight distribution. From a distance point of view, you should not stand not too far from the table or stand too near. The accurate distance will be about the length of your arm from the table tennis table.
  • Many table tennis coaches do not teach their players about the weight distribution in this game. It would help if you did not put your all weight on the heel but on the toe. An accurate standing position will help you lean forward very easily. You Can Also check the How to Replace Table Tennis Rubber?
  • If you stand in the right way, someone can push you back and fall in the forward direction. This is an accurate way of standing because you can always be ready to move in this way.

How to Improve Tennis footwork?

If you want to be a skilled professional player and improve your tennis footwork, then practice is the most important key for drills and exercises are very helpful.

Following are the skills required for improving footwork in table tennis.

Table Tennis Footwork Patterns

Shadow play

The instrumental skill to improve footwork in table tennis is a shadow play, which will give you a clear idea of where to place your feet. The playing follows the second movement with forehands, and when you step too short of making the next movement. Also, read the Common Table Tennis Injuries.

Jumping into table tennis is also ideal as it will give you a more robust push-off when you get out of the right position. When you are not practicing table tennis, you must try some squats, as it involves almost all the muscles of your legs, and you will get better explosiveness in your footwork.


For those who want to improve their skills in table tennis, consistency is the most important practice to follow. Execute and practice this skill in footwork if you do not play this game for at least 4 to 5 hours on a daily routine. So it is important to practice multiball and shadow play. Also, check the Ping Pong Table Dimensions.

At the same time, practice multiball practice for the top spins with a fast pace all around the table at full speed at least for 30 seconds, and then take a break of 10 to 20 seconds. You will get different levels in the game after practicing this skill.

Differentiate Between Long and Short Footwork

Footwork is an important part of a table tennis game, as it consists of long and quick footwork patterns. Both are important in a ping pong game and need different styles and drills to develop if the player is an expert, one should be skilled and the other. Also, check the How to Play Table Tennis Double?

Short Footwork

Short foot works in table tennis can be defined as the small movements needed in a continuous manner to recover and should be in the ball’s position. These movements lie in the center of the shuffling and short steps and are essential for maintaining the body’s balance and position.

Long Footwork

Long foot works can be defined as the large movements and the movement of a ball far away from your body especially wide-angle balls and fast recovery. It is noticeable that recovery in the backhand followed by the wide-angle forehand can be an area where a considerable amount of training is needed to become a skilled game professional.

Table Tennis Footwork Patterns

You should follow the precise movements to learn the four basic footwork drills; that is why learning how to use footwork in ping pong is important.

Fortunately, there are not so many patterns to learn in table tennis, as based on Chinese coaching, table tennis footwork comes with four patterns.

  • One-step pattern
  • In and out of footwork
  • Side by side
  • Cross over

One-Step and Two-Step Footwork

In a two-step footwork pattern, you must come back quickly in the ready position. You can use this pattern after you serve or after your server returns. It comprises one short step and one long step.

One-step footwork is executed by pushing yourself with a stationary foot into a wider stance, followed by throwing the ball. Then return to the normal position to have a better balance. Also, read the How to Fix a Ping Pong Ball?

The accurate and proper footwork aims to balance your body at an optimal level before the start of the stroke.

In And Out Of Footwork

In and out, footwork is employed to return a short service. For this footwork, return and move your body forward to reach the ball, play with your stroke, and then return to the ready position.

While moving inward toward the ball, put your right foot forward in the position of your right leg under the table. After returning your shot, return to the base position.

The movements of the right foot follow your movement of the left foot under the table.

Cross Over Footwork

Cross-over footwork is required when you need to return at a faster speed or pace. If the ball comes wider to your forehand side, you can go for this cross-over footwork style because it is faster than the side-by-side pattern. As the name shows, your legs will be in cross style over each other, and it will be easier for you to reach and catch the upcoming ball faster.

You will cross your leg to the right to move on the backhand side to the wider forehand side. Then, using the left foot as a pivot, you have to shift your weight over the left foot.

Side-To-Side Footwork Pattern

Side to side is the main footwork commonly used in table tennis. This will be followed when you move closer to the table swiftly. In this pattern, always move your foot outside whether you move to the left or right.

So start with the basic position and move from the backhand to the forehand. Then move your left foot to the right foot and then come to the right foot by taking shot footsteps from side to side in the shuffling pattern. Also, check the Best Ping Pong Paddles Under $50.

While moving from the forehand to the backhand, move your right foot first before the movement of the left foot.

How Can You Do Tennis Footwork Drills At Home

Chop serve table tennis is the mainstay of advanced and skilled defensive players. Essentially it is an extreme backspin shot in which the ball tries to travel in a very flat trajectory and bounce low. Also, read the Best Ping Pong Paddle Under $100.

However, Chops in the table tennis game are always taken when the ball drops under the table up to the range of 15 feet away; anything higher and the stroke will become a push.


How is footwork used in ping pong?

Good footwork allows the player to strike the ball earlier, cover more court, add more power, and help build confidence and shape the opponents’ personality.

What are different styles of foot works?

  • Circular footwork’
  • Boxing footwork
  • Kickboxing footwork
  • Linear footwork
  • Triangular footwork
  • Unconventional footwork

Who has the best footwork in table tennis?

Roger Federer is a well-known table tennis player for the best footwork.


So to wrap up the article on table tennis footwork, it is obvious that practice makes the man perfect, and no one can be a professional player until and unless he gets the go-on practice in the game. So to execute better for work, one should read valuable posts and get guidance by seeing more information about the best players.

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