Serious and even casual table tennis players should have a long term goal. This requires a certain amount of hard work and planning. To practice effectively, it is important to find out and write down your table tennis goals.
Start by watching your fellow players or professionals who are 1 to 2 levels above you and ask yourself the following questions below. Once you have an idea on how to answer them, list them down so you understand your strengths and weaknesses.
How are their table tennis serves better than mine?
Do they have more spin on their serve?
Do they have better serve placement?
Do they have more variations in their serve?
Do they disguise the back swing, contact point, and follow through better than I do?
Serving practice is one of the fastest ways to improve. You just need a table and a bucket of balls. Focus on keeping your short serves spinny and low with good variation. Focus on keeping your long serves fast as a surprise with good placement.
View this articles on how to improve your serve
How are their table tennis serve returns better than mine?
Are they able to attack the long serves?
Are they able to control the short serves with a variety of returns
Are they able to adjust to different spins?
Are they able to keep the ball low enough?
The best way to improve your table tennis serve return game is to play matches against many different opponents, gaining a ton of experience is they key. Instead of just touching the ball back, slowly learn how to add spin to your returns, making it harder for your opponent on the next shot.
How are their attack shots better than mine?
Are they able to attack with more power?
Are they able to attack with better placement?
Are they able to attack more consistently?
Are they able to attack with both forehand and backhand?
Are they able to counterattack against an attack?
Are they able to consistently attack both backspin and topspin?
How is their defense better than mine?
Are they able to return many different loops?
Are they able to combine both offense and defense?
Are they able to vary their defense?
Are they able to adjust to different kinds of attacks coming at them?
In table tennis, you cannot always be attacking. You need to learn to defend as well as certain shots can only be defended against to successfully return the ball at a higher percentage.
How is their footwork better than mine?
Are they able to make small steps and adjust for every ball?
Are they able to make long dives to save a wide ball?
Are they able to move forward and adjust in for the slow block?
Are they able to move in-and-out faster for the short ball?
Footwork is one of the main reasons that top players are very consistent. This takes time to develop. If you improve your balance and footwork, your game will improve tremendously.
Here are some articles on footwork
What are their patterns of play
Most high level players, even casual players have patterns of play that they use throughout the whole game. This patterns of play are set plays that they feel confident in performing while playing a match. Some have well placed loops followed by a backhand kill shot. Some have heavy shots followed by slices.
If you have several patterns that you can force onto your opponent, it becomes much easier to win a few cheap points each game.
Are they able to adjust to the playing conditions?
Are they able to quickly adjust to strange tables, balls, floor, and lighting?
Do they have a pre-game warm-up and stretching routine?
Most top players will arrive at a tournament venue a few days in advance to get used to the conditions and prepare well. If you cannot get to the location early, it is suggested that you arrive at least 2 to 3 hours earlier to do some basic warm-up, footwork, points, rest, and then another quick warm up just prior to your match.
After you have answered these questions, highlight the areas that you feel are keeping you from getting to the next level.
Every 4-6 weeks, take up the challenge to improve two of your biggest weaknesses. Every 4-6 weeks, review these questions and update your answers based on how your game is progressing.
Hire a professional coach to give you guidance on how to improve long term. Changes take time, so be patient in practice and do not give up.
Remember to keep practicing your strengths as well. By working on your strengths and improving your weaknesses, you will be on your way to greater heights.
Tools to improve footwork
20ft Agility Ladder & Speed Cones Training Set – Exercise Workout Equipment To Boost Fitness & Increase Quick Footwork – Kit for Soccer, Lacrosse, Hockey & Basketball – With Carry Bag & Drill Charts
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