May 6, 2024 - Shadow Practice for Fitness and Improvement

Many players use running to get in shape for table tennis and other activities, or simply for health reasons. There’s nothing wrong with that. But you get the same thing if you shadow practice your footwork for the same amount of time, plus you develop the footwork technique and the specific muscles used for those movements.

So, if you are a table tennis player who wants to get in shape, rather than run two miles (~15 minutes), why not develop a 15-minute shadow practice routine? You don’t need a table for this, just enough room to imagine there is one that you can move about. Imagine the major table tennis footwork drills, and create a routine. Decide on your own how long you can do each drill – perhaps sixty seconds, then rest ten seconds, repeat. Perhaps do each drill two times. For example:

  1. Forehand-Forehand side to side (from wide forehand and middle)
  2. Backhand-Backhand side to side (from wide backhand and middle)
  3. Forehand-Backhand side to side (corner to corner)
  4. Backhand-Forehand-Forehand (backhand from backhand corner, forehand from backhand corner, forehand from forehand corner, repeat)
  5. Three-point Forehands (forehand from forehand corner, middle, backhand, middle, forehand, repeat)
  6. In-Out Footwork (reach in for short ball to forehand, step back for forehand or backhand loop)

If you do each of these six drills for sixty seconds, with ten seconds in between, that’s seven minutes. Do the routine twice and that’s 14 minutes, or even three times and it’s 21 minutes. Do this three times a week, you’ll get in great shape AND your table tennis footwork and strokes will get better! (Feel free to adjust the various times based on your age and current fitness level.)