Areas of table tennis to improve at

Right now the biggest area to work on is having the confidence (and skill) to attack in a match setting.

I have this confidence in Eleven Table Tennis (ETT), usually, but in the real world its harder to demonstrate. I guess I become conservative in the real world because you have to be responsible for your balls. In ETT you can try an aggressive shot and if it goes into the stands or out the window, no big deal. In practice starting aggressive doesn’t go so wildly. Still, in ETT you can feed dozens of balls quickly in order to develop the proper feel.

I think that’s a solid idea to bring into the real world. I’ll buy 50+ practice balls and then I can serve a bunch real quickly or multi ball with a partner in order to develop that feel more quickly in the real world.

The main areas I want to get good feel for quickly in the real world are backhand flicks and forehand topspin drives.

Some of the tips I’ve picked up in my month of playing for the backhand flicks are:

  • Follow the ball with your core
  • You don’t want to be reaching too much for the ball; you want to reuse the same stroke as much as possible each time.
  • Use shoulder, wrist, and a little torso, I think in that order. A basic shot would be mostly shoulder. For a more attacking show, a proper flick, add in a lot of wrist. Finally for max power, add a tiny bit of torso. And you should use leg power too.
  • Left foot beyond the edge of the table, closer to the table than the right foot
  • Relaxed wrist
  • Watch the ball all the way in
  • Hit the top of the ball, say 2/3 of the way up
  • Practice! Have a plan when starting the point. Always be ready to third ball attack when serving.

How about tips for the forehand drive?

  • Move early into position
  • Again the goal is to use the same stroke each time
  • As before shoulder, wrist, and torso are key. Wow, despite looking so different the tips are remarkably similar to the backhand flick
  • Watch the ball all the way in
  • Brush up the ball
  • Your stroke ends in front of your face
  • And your wrist points forward from your forearm, not up
  • And I think the squat is perhaps a bit reduced compared with the backhand flick