Different ways to learn table tennis

Different ways students learn table tennis

Different Ways Table Tennis Students Learn

For years and years, coaches all over the world have been teaching students in similar fashion. Here are some ways table tennis students learn.

Many coaches recognize that each person has different learning styles. Everyone has a mix of learning styles.

Some people may find that they have a more dominant style of learning, with less to no usage of the other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right or wrong.

By recognizing and understanding your own learning styles, you can use techniques better suited to you. This improves the speed and quality of your learning.

The Seven Learning Styles

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

Physical – Kinesthetic

This student does well by using their hands to try a new table tennis skill – like trying to serve that new serve, or their trying a new forehand, trying that new movement, trying to play the correct timing.  With personally trying it out hands-on, the player can best learn the new skill. 

Visual – Spatial

This student does well using their sight to observe a new skill – in person with a coach or YouTube video. This student will be very good at imitating a skill as long as he/she gets to see it multiple times.

Linguistic – Verbal

This student does well by reading or listening to instructions – drawing charts and diagrams helps the linguistic learner quickly improve his/her new skills.

Mathematical – Logical

This student does well by understanding the Whys – why does a topspin ball move downward into the court. Why does the first bounce on different serves need to be at different locations etc.

Interpersonal – Social

This student often does well in a group – discussing various table tennis tactics and techniques and feeling teamwork in partnering with others.  Table tennis is usually seen as an individual sport, but some find it much more enjoyable and exciting to learn new skills together as a group.

Intrapersonal – Solitary

This student often does well learning alone in a private table tennis lesson with a coach where he can focus exclusively on small details. 


If you are a table tennis coach, consider adjusting the way you teach table tennis, especially if your usual methods don’t work.  If you are a table tennis player, consider what type of learner you are and adjust your training routine accordingly. 

Recommended books

Table tennis tactics for thinkers

Learn table tennis tactics from USATT Certified National Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Hodges. Includes tactics against different styles, grips, and surfaces as well as tactical and strategic thinking. The book opens with this: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” The book then explores the tactical and strategic development needed to have the specific tactical tools needed in any given match – your “tactical toolbox.”

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