The pivot forehand is a classic attacking play in table tennis typically demonstrated by many of the world's best players in particular traditional pengrip players who have to use their forehand to attack across all of the table in most scenarios. Developing a strong pivot attack is an important weapon in your game but there are a couple of important things to realise about pivoting to help you execute the best possible stroke.
There are 2 common errors which can occur when pivoting. The first common error which the attacker can make is to allow a pre-emptive change of direction. This occurs when a player predicts a pivot attack opportunity and begins moving too early, giving the opponent time to change the direction of the ball and play wide into the great void of open space which has been left while you foolishly stand around the corner of the table watching the ball fly away.
The second error is to play to the wrong position. This usually means down the line. If your opponent is standing waiting for the down the line ball (particularly on backhand for lefthanders) then do yourself a favour and hit the ball somewhere else. The last thing you want to do when you are outside of the table is give your opponent free reign on where they want to block your high paced pivot attack, because if they get it wide, as above, you are going to look like a fool.
Practicing Pivoting: So first off it is important to move quickly, but in a manner whereby you are surprising your opponent. To practice this I like to play a fairly simple exercise:
Pick a Pivot Ball: Playing backhand to backhand with your training partner, simply choose a ball to pivot on and hit a forehand free to the table with the intention of ending the rally there. This means picking the most efficient position to hit to, not necessarily hitting a screaming winner, though the opportunity sometimes does present itself.
You can add variation to this exercise, if your partner sees you moving they can change the direction of the ball and play it free instead. This is good practice for when you are in matchplay situations and avoids the common error of allowing a pre-empt.
Falkenberg Drill: Very common in all training centres around the world, the falkenberg drill named after the top Swedish Club involves playing one backhand, one pivot forehand and one wide forehand. A helpful tip is to play a controlled and spinny loop on the pivot shot. The extra top spin and slower pace give you more time to make it for the wide ball, and being back in table position you can add some extra pace to that one since you have the table covered for the next ball.
Serve and Pivot: A typical short backspin service exercise, the receiver pushes the ball back to the backhand side and you pivot and attack then play free. Variations include the receiver pushing wide to the backhand or the use of a top-side spin serve and a flick into the backhand to prompt a pivot attack.
Those are three mainstream pivoting exercises. Of course you can interchange pivot forehands into a lot of drills in the backhand position and it is something you might want to try!
The pivot forehand is a very useful tool in the attacking game, the only trick to it is making it work so that you don't find yourself in an awkward position off the table. Hope these drills and tips are helpful and good luck training that pivot forehand!