The most important part about sports or life really, is making real progress. If you’re not improving yourself then there’s a good chance that your abilities will decline overtime , which is one nightmare most sportsmen try to avoid.
Irrespective of your current playing level ; intermediate, beginner or even professional, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure that you always stay ahead of your time and become or remain one of the best players.
Here are 5 practical ways to be a better table tennis player.
5 Practical Ways To Improve Your Table Tennis Skills
1). Master the basics :
When learning a new sport such as tennis, at some point you get tempted to ignore the basics and follow your own style of play. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with having your own style of play. In fact, that is what defines you as a player and probably sets you up for life.
However, you cannot do this in spite of the basics. After mastering the basics, then you can go ahead with your style. Otherwise, someone with a lesser skill level than you who has taken the time to master the basics can defeat you in seconds because at the end of the day, your personal style has to be based on the basics.
The basics of ping pong require that you get into a ready position after every stroke, aim for the corners rather than straight ball easy for your opponent to return, keep your swings short, move swiftly and keep the heights of your returns close to the net level, and so on.
2). Practice more than you play competitively :
I have over the years seen lots of players who think playing in competitions is a way to practice. That is completely ridiculous. The aim of practicing is to develop your game, get familiar with your weaknesses and overcome them and work on your style too.
Competitions at the very least are meant for proof of progress, that is why it is advisable that you join a tennis club close to you and play competitively occasionally.
During competitions, you would be too carried away with winning so much that experimenting new strategies while playing would just be you taking risks blindly. Also, competitions tend to wear you down both mentally and physically. Trainings on the other hand prepare you for these competitions and doing them more often enrich you and give you more stuff to offer when next you compete.
3). Join a Tennis Club :
The worst thing about learning a new language is having no one to communicate with it. The same logic applies to table tennis. If you keep practicing all by yourself, or even with the same person for a long period, you could get bored quickly.
However, joining a tennis club will open you to a lot of possibilities such as different in-house and outside competitions, meeting new people – including revered professionals, and making friends who will keep your passion fresh and keep you on your edge.
This is even more important for players who don’t have personal coaches. There’s a limit to which tutorial videos can help. At some point, you actually need someone to access your skill and explain the areas you’re lacking to you and how to be better.
Most tennis clubs have coaches who would be very interested in developing talents such as yourself.
4). Master the art of service :
You need to come to terms with the fact that you could actually win a game or at least a point with your service. The serve mostly determines the tone of the game and if you make a stronger impression with yours, you can get into your opponents’ head.
The best types are short serves because they don’t give your opponent that much reaction time to return. The ball lands in the middle of the table in whichever side you directed it to, and so, your opponent has to come forward to get it. When this happens you can go long and fast so that a slow opponent would not have enough time to recover.
You also need to mix up your serves – you don’t want to become predictable. Try to learn more about serves because the more you have, the less predictable your game would be.
5). Use your Chosen Equipment Exclusively :
There are different paddle types for different purpose and not just performance levels. There are some for high spins, hard shots and so on. Make sure you have more than one paddle mastered and have them at your disposal at all times. More importantly, make sure you use them exclusively. Sharing your paddles with another player is not professional and can mess with your game.
You could also use the different paddle types to master different aspects of your game and at some point when you feel like changing your game style, you can change your paddle to get a more effective result from your tactics.
If you’re still on the fence on which paddle is best for you , have a look at our buyer’s guide on the best ping pong paddles on the market.
Hey! , I am Roland Campbell , a recreational table tennis player for over 5 years and counting. I do a lot of research on table tennis (Ping Pong) and publish my findings here at Pingthatpong.