Forcing Forehands and Believing in Backhands

Every player has their own particular strengths and weaknesses. For some, the forehand is the much stronger shot. For others, they overplay either the forehand or backhand to the point of not using the appropriate shot. Forehand dominant players move well to their forehands, but struggle with strong shots to their backhands. Players who block well with their backhand tend to miss opportunities to move to an attacking forehand. 

It’s a bad idea to force a shot that’s not there. Modern table tennis players can’t afford to have a weak side. If one wing is significantly stronger, there are paths to improvement that don’t involve forcing a shot when you are out of position. For the player who has a weak forehand or can’t seem to get it into play, it is a good idea to force some forehands …. in training. Rather than alternating forehands and backhands, work on drills that cover the entire table with forehands. This can turn into a very tiring drill, but it does insure some serious footwork training.  

Players who force forehands in matches have plenty of faith in their forehands, but don’t really believe in their backhands. Their backhand, may not actually be weak, they just aren’t used to depending on it. Having an overaggressive forehand is an open invitation to be forced into the backhand corner. It’s actually tougher to reel in players who forget to use their backhands. Instead of speeding them up, as you would with a backhand dominant player, they have to be convinced to occasionally abandon their favorite shot. Even a generic backhand drive is far better than a forced forehand. 

Old habits are hard to break. If your forehand is underutilized, you’ll need forced forehand footwork drills to get used to moving. A weak backhand can become a strength. It will take some forced training as well. When one wing improves, it usually makes the other wing stronger. Move to your best shot, but believe in all of them. 

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