Are you a beginner or intermediate table tennis player looking to improve your game? Look no further because in this article we are going to discuss a few ways how to improve your table tennis game? We look at some more well-known ones and also at one that is not so commonly known.
The experts at Thepingpongtable.com share their top six tips to improve your table tennis game this year. The team has a vast experience in all things pong pong and here you can benefit from their knowledge.
Learn to juggle
Unusual? Yes – but very effective! Juggling is the king of hand-eye coordination exercises. Ping pong is all about hitting a small ball over a low net with a tiny bat. And all that occurs on top of a very small table! According to Wired.com juggling builds hand-eye coordination in ways that improve reaction time, reflexes, spatial awareness, strategic thinking, and concentration. This helps improve confidence as well as athletic ability in table tennis.
Your brain has to know where the ball is in relation to the bat, how fast it is approaching, how far you are from the table, whether to hit with topspin or not. All these instantaneous decisions put the hand-eye system under great pressure. Juggling helps you get used to processing a seemingly overwhelming amount of information when you have three balls in the air. You have to judge where the balls will land in relation to your hands, how high to throw the balls up – all without even looking at your hands! Professional tennis players such as Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer are well-known for their juggling skills.
According to recent research in the famous Journal of Sport Physiology, you should play ping pong a minimum of three times a week to improve quickly. This is because you will start to become familiar with the footwork and the main point-winning shots. You also develop the hand-eye coordination necessary to excel at the game. According to the 2019 study by Konefal et al. the more a sport was practiced, the greater the improvement in the players. In their study they found that daily practice was most effective, followed by every other day, or 3-4 times a week.
Master the basic shots
In table tennis there are three main shots – the backhand, forehand and sidespin. Look on Youtube for a demonstration of how these should be performed correctly. Some good channels which we like are TableTennisDaily, Tom Lodziak and MLFM Table Tennis (which we highly recommend), among others.
Watch the videos and practice the strokes with your bat in hand without hitting a ball. TableTennisDaily recommends repeating 100 times for each shot, twice a day. This will help to engrain the shots into your brain.
Use a ping pong robot
This tip is not for everyone, as unlike the previous ones it requires you to actually spend money. Ping pong robots feed you a continuous stream of balls, thus you can work over and over on a shot until you feel you have mastered it. However, the problem is that they cost from $300- 800, but we believe they are worth every penny of the investment that they offer to you.
Use one table tennis paddle – and stick with it
You should have one paddle that you know and love and get to know all the ins and outs. In sports psychology this is known as ‘imprinting’, it means that you get to know your implement almost in an intimate manner. There is a reason players have their ‘lucky’ racquet or pair of boots. You should not be changing paddles frequently. Every racket has its own weight and feel and game characteristics, and you will benefit greatly by using only one paddle so you are not always trying to adapt to a different one or even a new one, as that would be akin to starting from zero each and every time you pick up a paddle to play the hallowed and storied game known as table tennis. Who would want that?
80% practice – 20% competition
Have you heard of Pareto’s famous 80/20 rule? I am sure you have. If you have not let me explain it to you. Well, it applies to the game of table tennis. Practice on your footwork, shots and using a ping pong robot for at least 80% of the time – and the remaining 20% use for competition. The 80% is going to make the most difference. This way you will improve quickly. If you compete too much without working on the basics you will just get frustrated.
We hope you have found this article of interest and learned something new! Apply the tips and quickly see your game improve.