I sometimes reread your tip about staying light on the feet: http://tabletenniscoaching.com/node/2188 . I try to integrate it into all my drills: I try to keep bouncing when blocking, or while "waiting" in my neutral position after a serve. But the problem is that once I stop worrying about moving between shots, I stop bouncing. I feel I need some kind of "saturation training" to address this issue. So how would "saturation training" look like for this particular technique?
After watching numerous videos of top players in slow motion, I started to think that these small hops are only needed when the waiting time between shots is relatively long. For example:
1) Doubles play: obviously, you have to wait for a relatively long period of time before you can touch the ball, so it is better to move all this time
2) You push long to your opponent and wait for an attack to come: here again you have to wait longer, so it is better to jump to be prepared
3) You play fast forehand topspins and your opponent blocks them back quickly: here the time between shots is very small, the forehand shot itself make your feet move slightly, so you already move all the time without intermediate jumps
4) I also noticed that women jump between shots much more often than men
What do you think?
When rushed, then you go directly from one shot to the next without any sort of hop. But for most shots, you would do that mini-hop as the opponent is doing his shot, to better prepare for the next shot. On the other hand, since the purpose of this little hop is to rapidly prepare you for the next shot, it's even more apparent in close-to-the-table players - which is why you saw it more among women, who tend to play closer to the table, relying more on quickness, while men rely more on power.
When doing regular footwork drills, like two point forehand, or one backhand then one forehand, should one still be doing those mini jumps after each stroke?
In most rote footwork drills, you start the move to the next shot immediately after the previous shot because you know where the next shot is going. When doing more game-like drills (i.e. random drills or playing out points), you no longer know where the next shot is going, and so you use the little hop to prepare you for quick movement in either direction. Hope this helps! (Just got back from out of town for three days, so couldn't respond sooner.)
Thank you so much for your reply!
Probably the best way to start is to do lots of shadow practicing where you do lots of bouncing, moving, and stroking, to make it a habit. Once it's a habit that way, then you can do drills where you continue to re-enforce these habits. Eventually it'll be a habit!
Thank you for your reply, Larry. I'm already doing it, now I will do it a lot more :) I just probably have to be more patient. I always get jealous when I see how smoothly and swiftly advanced players move...