I am often left in open-mouthed astonishment when watching matches as players will return short backspin serves the same way, with simple long pushes to the opponent’s backhand, over and Over and OVER!!! There is little attempt to vary these returns or do much of anything to mess up the server. And yet they seem surprised that the server is ready for these simple pushes, usually with a big third-ball loop attack. If the opponent serve and pushes, then perhaps pushing the serve back long over and over will work. But that’s mostly at the lower levels. If you want to reach the higher levels, you have to do a bit more with the receive.
One thing that always stands out from years of coaching is that those who play in tournaments regularly almost always improve faster than those who do not. There are players who train and train, but do not get the constant feedback you get from playing in tournaments, and so the training doesn’t always transfer into improvement. Also, players who do not play tournaments regularly are not “tournament tough,” and so do not play as well as players who compete in tournaments regularly. (Note – when I talk about playing in tournaments, this includes league matches as well, as long as you are playing a lot of different players there.)
One of Chinas’ biggest hopes for the future Fan Zhendong, has signed a long term agreement with STIGA! Fan Zhendong who has two years left as a junior teams up with superstar Xu Xin as a very strong STIGA team for the future.
In this modern game of topspin, many players battle to see who can get more topspin on the ball, with more speed and more consistency. After all, isn’t that what tends to win games? Yet you might want to consider whether you want to join in this escalating topspin battle every single point. Why not throw an occasional changeup at them – a “dummy loop” – and watch them mess up? Go for less spin, and mess up your opponent’s consistency!
Tahl Leibovitz first picked up a table tennis racket at the South Queens Boys Club when he was 14 years old, but his talent in the sport did not come easy. With benign bone tumors throughout most of his body – including his playing arm, it was difficult for Leibovitz to play. “Table tennis kept me out of trouble, and it had a strong mental component that I continue to enjoy.” Leibovitz says he will continue to play by this motto: “In order to succeed, one must dare to fail.”
There are two key differences between practice and important matches: Psychological and Variation.
Psychological. There is little pressure in practice, and so players are loose, both mentally and physically. However, once a game begins, it’s easy to get nervous and tighten up. RELAX! Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially in a tournament or league match. A great way to prepare for this is to drill as if it were a match. Even if you are doing a simple side-to-side footwork drill, think of it as a match, where you must outlast your opponent, in this case your practice partner. Table tennis is a competitive sport, and to prepare for competition you must do competition.
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