LILLIEROOS INSTITUE OF TABLE TENNIS (LITT)
HIGH PERFOMANCE PARAMETERS
Lillieroos Institute of Table Tennis How a table tennis athlete organizes practice and training time before and during a tournament makes a critical difference in performance. In international table tennis tournaments, an athlete often plays 3 matches a day (best 4 out of 7 games). Each match takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. How should an athlete prepare for peak performance? For each match, it takes about 15 minutes to warm up physically, and 30 minutes to warm up technically. It takes 8 hours of practice at the tournament hall to get used to the playing conditions: the altitude and humidity in the air, type of ball, table, and flooring. This is best done in sessions of 2 hours each. Prior to the tournament, this preparation can be enhanced by specific practice at home under simulated conditions if the specific conditions are known in advance.
Then you also have the time difference to take into consideration. For each hour of time difference, it takes one day for adequate physical adjustment. A 2 hour difference can be adjusted at home by waking up earlier or going to bed later. If the time difference is not more than 2 hours, no further adjustment for the time difference is needed. If the time difference is less than 5 hours from home, it is advised to arrive to a tournament 2-3 days before the first match is played, so 2 light sessions for 2 days can be done for training. If the time difference is longer, an extra day is needed to adequately adjust to the time difference.
Even for the international level athlete, it is not possible to condition solely at the table without sacrificing proper technique. In table tennis, there are extremely short reaction times (1/2 second) in between each contact with the ball. However, after the athlete’s heart rate reaches more than 80% of his or her maximum rate, reflexes decline and it becomes impossible to play at the highest levels due to exhaustion. Therefore, conditioning in the areas of strength, aerobic, and anaerobic capacity must be undertaken off the table in what we label General Preparation and Special Preparation periods. This conditioning is best undertaken in 3-4 month periods of training every half year. Tournament play is not recommended during the General Preparation periods – this is when hard physical training is needed and proper rest should occur between physical sessions to enable proper recuperation.
In the Special Preparation period, normal tournament play should occur but not the most important tournaments. When an athlete is properly prepared, physically harder drills at the table in the form of intense multi ball work and longer timed footwork drills can be done in the Competition Phase of training. In each training period, 3 sessions of about 1 hour each of high intense work should be done each day, with 1 day of rest each week. These sessions include either on-table drills, strength, aerobic, or anaerobic training. Each of these sessions must begin only after proper physical warm-up. Technical sessions should include 30 minutes of proper technical warm up in addition to physical warm up. Low intensity technical workouts, like serve practice, are also needed in the general preparation time periods.
Table Tennis is a sport where there are many different playing styles. If not properly exposed to different styles and a high level of play in a competitive environment, high level results are not possible. In the Special Preparation period a high quality competitive tournament is needed at least once a month. In the Competitive Period it is needed every 2 weeks. An athlete will normally reach their peak in tournament play after 4 high level quality competitive tournaments within a 2 month period – assuming other factors of preparations have been done properly. After 4 tournaments, the player is ready to compete in the most important tournaments.
TABLE TENNIS WEIGHT LIFTING