Proper Practice by Jens Stoetzel

andro coach Jens Stoetzel

Courtesy of andro Table Tennis Coach Jens Stoetzel

There are hundreds of educational books about table tennis but only a few are practice-oriented. With this little article, I would like to give you some basic ideas on how to create a good training session. Further articles following this idea are under making. In the end, you should get complete compilations of different exercises.

Main aspect of a training session

A training session should always base on a main aspect to follow. One of the most famous main aspects is the forehand topspin, a special technique or the footwork. At first, this is a good beginning but often it makes sense to differentiate this. Just an example: if you would like to focus on your forehand topspin, then it makes sense to focus on special parts of the stroke sequence like the footwork, the hip rotation or the acceleration of your arm. Another option is to draw your attention to the tactical aspects of the forehand topspin like placing, speed, spin or ball curve.

In any case you should try to give your players the chance to test the freshly learned techniques in service and return. Testing these techniques in combination with other shots and using the special footwork makes sense to tighten the learned movements.

Methodology

“Learning motions” is a very extensive topic which flows into different scientific theories and models. Concerning table tennis, Paul Klingen used the four basic ideas:

  • from simple to difficult
  • from know to unknown
  • from simple to combined
  • from rough to fine

Already years ago to fix seven methodological principles which are still valid:

  1. From diagonal to parallel play
  2. From slow to fast play
  3. From wide-ranged to short play
  4. From indirect to direct play
  5. From simple to combined play
  6. Play with increasing spin
  7. Play with increasing physical requirements

To keep it simple just have in mind: from simple to complex

You should follow this guideline not only for a single exercise, also complete training sessions can be structured like this increases the level of difficulty step by step.

Worth knowing facts
  • I recommend to create and to use complete training lines, especially for kids and beginners. Why? Young players tend to forget about freshly learned techniques if they do not use them regularly. In order to keep the techniques in their mind, the beginners should use these motions again and again for a certain time period.
  • Another basic principle is:
    “Kids should be picked up from the level where they are!”
    This means that the level of difficulty should fit the player’s level. If the kids have to play exercises that are too difficult or too simple, the result could be that the kids are getting demotivated. So please check, whether your exercises work properly or whether you might have to adjust the combination of shots.
  • Fun, relief and the resulting disport are three factors that support a fast learning process. Of course, you cannot create your training session not only with a view to these aspects. Though it helps you a lot if you dose them carefully.
  • Relief can be reached by playing many different exercises, different changing methods and individual goals connected with competitions.
    Examples of such exercises are versatile beginning from the warm-up:
    instead of playing counter balls, as usual, kids should try to play the longest possible rally. Another option: countdown a minute and let the kids try to reach as many hits as possible during that minute. Or let the kids play topspin against the block and the sides change if the topspin player has played eight topspins in a row.

Further examples to come soon!

Well, I hope this short introduction includes a few hints for your personal training or the training that you create for your club. The training lines which are about to come soon can be used completely or slightly changed for your training.

Best regards
Jens

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