Friday 29 May 2015

Expand Your Attacking Range with the Pivot Forehand

The pivot forehand has been a favourable offensive strokes for players for many decades, particularly before the backhand loop became as prominent in the modern era of the game. Watching players execute full table forehand strategies was something to be inspired by. This stroke is simply a footwork manoeuvre around the backhand corner to allow for a forehand stroke to be played. See more from my Coaching Blog.

So what are some important pointers to take on when learning more about the pivot forehand and why is learning the stroke beneficial?

Getting back into training and the pivot forehand off under-spin is a priority

Why To Learn the Pivot Forehand:

As a beginning or developing player usually the development of the forehand as a more offensive stroke is evident. For this reason a player can take the early advantage by learning how to execute their best stroke across different positions in the table.

Players may feel more comfortable attacking with their forehand, they may have more accuracy and have learnt the stroke with the ability to transfer more weight. Learning to dominate more with the backhand can often be difficult, especially in the beginning stages of player development and even later as intermediate players. A prime example of a player who had an incredibly dominant forehand is China's Wang Liqin, 3 time world champion. You can see the video of him below doing a forehand oriented drill where he plays some incredible forehand attacking strokes off his backhand corner.

So what is important when trying to execute a pivot forehand shot?

Ensure You Create Enough Space:

You need to line the ball up in order to have enough space to swing and to line the ball up in your striking zone. This means not being too close to the ball and alternately also not going around the corner too much. As you can see in the videos posted, it is important for the weight transfer into the ball for it to be in the optimum point of contact relative to the body.

Practice Playing Different Placements:

Some players may find it difficult to hit the angle down the line or also the corner angle crosscourt. Be sure to practice multiple placements so that when you take the step around the corner it is difficult for your opponent to predict where you are hitting the ball.

Maintain a Uniform Technique:

As you are moving into a less familiar position it is important to try and maintain your form with the stroke. Ensure you transfer your weight through your legs and turn into the ball contact and follow through after the contact. Often some players may not turn enough when trying to play the outside crosscourt angle, you still need to turn your shoulders to aim for the corner.

Play Smart:

Find the right combination of power and spin along with placement. Remember once you commit to a pivot forehand you are leaving the table wide open for your opponent. It is vital you do not give them control to place freely, avoid hitting to your opponents position, try and aim for space or for the body unless you have the ability to generate heavy spin or have a setup for a more powerful shot.

Be Ready for the Next Ball:

Since you are off the table you need to recover quickly and be ready for whatever will come next. It is also beneficial not to come too far around the side of the table when you go around the corner, otherwise it will obstruct your movement back into the table and steal time for your recovery for any ball which is returned away from the corner.

Drills to Help You:

Basic: Start off hitting one backhand and one forehand on the corner and continue alternating. You can also play backhands and choose any ball to pivot forehand on and attack anywhere.

Falkenberg: One backhand, one pivot forehand, one wide forehand. This is a classic drill for pivot forehand play.

More Advanced Example: Forehand short push to pivot forehand loop off underspin, this can be done from service or as a multiball drill.

Hope this was helpful, this is an important skill to try and master in order to have more weapons in your game! Subscribe to my new e-newsletter HERE

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