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Why you should have a table tennis coach

What are the benefits of having a professional coach in table tennis?

I’m a table tennis coach in France. So I understand very well the benefits of having a table tennis coach. Every professional player has a coach, so why not you?


Benefits of having a coach

Having a table tennis coach can help you a lot.

One of the things I’ve seen in coaching is the athlete who isn’t sure if they should have a coach. That’s the kind of athlete who thinks they are good enough to reach the elite level without anyone giving them an elite experience first.

Trust me! Every pro players need a coach, even for the Champion like Ma Long.

Ma Long has several personal coach: coach Liu Guoliang (tactics), coach Qin Zhijian (techniques), coach Ma Lin (training), etc.

Qin Zhijian: Personal coach of Ma Long
Qin Zhijian: Personal coach of Ma Long

The whole career has been based on having a coach. Every time I held the racket, I was looking for a coach who knew more than me or taught in a way that was different from my own.

Prevent injury

They all want to help the athlete reach their full potential. A table tennis coach can help you move forward if you’re afraid to do so.

Lower part injury - Samsonov's femur (thighborn) pain during competition
Lower part injury – Samsonov’s femur (thighbone) pain during competition

In table tennis, especially at the high level, there are many types of injuries.

The coach has a lot of knowledge, skills, and good advice from his or her table tennis experiences and learnings. The coach is a good listener and a good conversationalist, as well. They will advise you to train correctly, and avoid unnecessary injury.



the best reasons why you need a professional coach
the best reasons why you need a professional coach

He or she can use effective conversational methods to help players find their own wisdom and tap into their own potential, so they can be better players.

A well-structured training program

One of the first things a coach can do for you help you figure out a good training plan.

A coach’s first job is to figure out what shots the players need to hold up that show off their playing style. That is what will make it easy to make a training program. This will set the tone that we’re not going to start making new shots. Instead, we’re going to put your shots under a lot of scrutinies to make them better for tournament play.

a coach is a must in table tennis
a coach is a must in table tennis

A lot of people without a coach will have a hard time figuring out how to look at their performance after the tournament, and they’ll keep training in a way that only improves their skills but not their overall performance, even though they did well. Most players look at their results to see how well they did, but having a training plan lets you figure out which parts of your game were responsible for good or bad results.

Help you improve faster

They’ve been most annoyed when they’ve been in the middle of the ocean and not been able to see how far they’ve come. This is when a player will start to think about quitting, changing their game, or changing their equipment.

Benefits of having a table tennis coach
Benefits of having a table tennis coach

With a coach, these thoughts will almost never run through your head. In sports, making progress quickly is one of the easiest things to do. Structured training, communication, and avoiding training pitfalls make this possible. The coach’s real goal has always been to get the player on the road to quick progress.

As long as there’s a coach, you never have to guess. With a coach, you never have to figure it out on your own. Having a coach means that you never make a bad decision and then keep going with it.

Everyone wants to get better faster, and having a coach is the best way to make sure that happens and have fun while you’re doing it.

Trust and confidence

Building trust and confidence between the player and the coach.

After the coach has done his main job of setting up a good technical foundation for his player, what does he do next? The coach’s job is to fully unlock the abilities of his or her player, so that he or she plays as close to their full potential as possible as often as possible.

every pro player has a coach
every pro player has a coach

Another great thing about having a coach is that you can make a language out of how you play and how to think about things more deeply.

It’s easy to figure out why a player missed a shot, but not “How” they missed the shot. People make the same mistake several times in a match and don’t change it. You could lose the match if you make three unforced errors in a game. Component-based technical training will allow you to look at an error, plug that error into a formula, and then point to the part of your shot that caused the error.

This will help you improve your game. As soon as the ball lands, you have about 800 milli seconds to recognize the spin. The faster you can figure out what went wrong, the faster you can make the changes in your mind without changing your tactical strategy.

All too often, players don’t have a way to look at their mistakes right away, but they can look into them more when they’re not under so much stress. Having a language is what will allow you to look at and change your strategy in real-time. Make sure you do this right away. The best players can make the changes the quickest, so you’ll be able to do the same.

Prevent Training Mishaps

As a coach, I’m most afraid of the player who has only built their game around what they have seen on the internet or in their club. If that’s the case, they haven’t thought about whether they should be playing that way or not. Having a player build their game around shots that don’t match their natural ability will have a lot of problems in training and tournaments.

find the tactics to help you win
find the tactics to help you win

A younger player wants to play close to the table like a world-class player. A Chinese player who is short will fall down at some point. Because the player won’t be able to shoot well in those conditions, the game will end. When you have a coach, he or she will help you grow based on your natural abilities and the skills you’ve learned. In this way, your game will be based on what you can do, not what you can’t.

The best way for any player to get on the steepest slope to improve is to have a coach figure out the natural skillsets that were given to them by their parents.

Style development is the very important

The coach must keep in mind from the start that each player is unique and has different strengths, reactions, and skills. At no point can you force him or her to play in a way that you want. Instead, you need to help players grow and bloom in their own way, not tell them what to do.

Find the weakness of the opponent
Find the weakness of the opponent

People should have a lot of say in the areas of technique, tactics, and physical exercises that the coach can help them with. People should also have a say in the mental areas and the style that they like. People only know what risks they are willing to take, how comfortable they are playing close or far back, how quickly they can move, and how they can spin or topspin drive.


Why do you need a Professional coach

With young players, it’s important to find their strengths in the early years and spend a lot of time training them to make these as strong as possible.

Peak performance

The peak performance of a player is around 17 years old.

Histogram of peak age in table tennis
Histogram of peak age in table tennis

Use your strengths to win games. Even at a young age, the player should know how to use his or her strengths during the match. This is why it’s important to work on serving and receiving with young players, as well.

help you movitated to improve
help you motivated to improve

The next time they play, they may not be able to do what they want with the next one, two, or three balls, and they never get to play their winning strokes.

As long as a player is playing, he or she should keep in mind that style is a living thing that changes all the time, even though it changes very slowly. When it stops progressing, you stop moving as well, and you get stuck in the same place.

Tactical adaptation

As I said several times, “table tennis is a chess game with the speed of light”.

The second thing is that you can adapt to different situations.

Table tennis is a very technical game, and the main rule is that you have to adapt, and then you have to adapt again. To be a good player, your player must be able to read what is going on and change quickly in a situation that changes over time. All of the players try to learn from their opponents and not be ‘controlled’ by them.

Kasumi Ishikawa and her coach
Kasumi Ishikawa and her coach

They try to adapt their own techniques, solid tactics, and playing style to avoid being influenced by the way their opponents do things.

For example, you need to know three simple tactics to beat the left-hand player.

Find the weakness of the opponent

The coach must have a sharp eye. During the first set, he or she needs to quickly identify the weakness of the opponent.

When you can identify the playing style of the opponent, then you can win easily.

However, table tennis is mostly a game of conditioned reflexes, where players learn to react quickly. So their ability to react and adapt to new things is limited by how much they’ve been trained! There are a lot of new techniques, tactics, and styles of play that are hard for people to deal with.

note the weakness and help you at the top performance
note the weakness and help you at the top performance

The “generic coaching advice” doesn’t work as well anymore, and players’ reactions aren’t as stable, accurate, smooth, or coordinated as they used to be. Even though the player who can keep up with the other players when it comes to new techniques or tactics will have a big advantage (especially now that we are playing to eleven up). The opponent will not be able to adapt in time.

Remember that table tennis is all about being able to read the game and be able to change with the times.

Improve the reflex

A coach should make sure that his or her players, right from the start of their training, get to practice and play against all kinds of games and materials.

Because the player has to work so hard to build up “automatic” reflexes, or conditioned responses, these reflexes cover a much wider range of actions and it is much easier for him or her to adapt to new situations this way, too. In other words, the content and method of training are more important than we first thought, especially in the early years.

Improve the specialty

Each player has a specialty. Like Ma Long has a powerful forehand topspin. Wang Hao has a good sidespin pendulum serve. Zhang Jike has a good backhand flick. Liam Pitchford and Tomokazu Harimoto have a good backhand counter-attack, etc.

table tennis coach is very important
table tennis coach is very important

The coach should always be looking for new training methods and ways to improve his player’s technique and style. He should also be on the lookout for individual strengths that could help his player. It is important for the coach to look at how the player’s unique traits can be used to their advantage.

Does the player have a specialty, something that makes it hard for opponents to play against him or her? Or are there parts of his or her game that can be emphasized to make this a specialty?

What is the direction of growth?

The coach should never forget about how important it is to grow. If a coach takes a player all the way up to a certain ‘plateau’, then the player stops growing and stops growing and growing.

The player must keep growing all the way through his or her career. At no point should it be allowed to stop. When there isn’t progress, there can only be a lot of stillness.

Many players and coaches, too, don’t seem to understand that development must go in the right direction for each player and that the right training must be used to help that player grow and become better. Indeed, it is the main job of the coach to help his player reach his full potential.

When a player takes the wrong path, he or she could miss out on a lot of their abilities.

young players need a very good coach
young players need a very good coach

People who play the game should know how they can get close to their full potential. The coach should show his player where he or she is going and how to get there. Your player must know how to use his or her strengths to win. Everyone should play their own game in the same way.

Mental improvement

When it comes to our sport, the mental and technical parts are just as important, if not more important than the physical and technical parts. Most of the players aren’t in the right mood or excited enough in the training room to get the most out of it.

People who come to training with the wrong attitude often make training less intense and less fun than it should be because they don’t know what to expect. It is one of the jobs of the coach to set the mood.

how to improve mental strength in table tennis
how to improve mental strength in table tennis

The player’s mind is more important than his or her technical skills. Skills can be learned, but attitudes and how you think about things are hard to change. It’s important for each player to be aware of what he or she is doing when they play. It turns out that a lot of people who play don’t pay much attention to or even know what is happening to their bodies when they play.

It’s often only after some research and exploration into the mental side of the game that you can fully understand how the player is doing. Because many athletes in different sports are now more aware of how important their “mental side” is to their performance, this is true

How to relax

If the player wants to be more aware of how he or she works and how the body works in a game, he or she needs to learn relaxation techniques and be able to relax first. It’s also important to know that being able to focus and being able to deal with stress are very close to one another Competitors need to be able to stay focused on the task at hand and not get distracted by other things.

Relax your wrist to absorb the energy of the ball
Relax your wrist to absorb the energy of the ball

Table tennis is one of the sports that can only handle a small amount of stress. Too much, and it is very hard to do. Players should also know that different parts of a match will be more or less stressful and stressful, and they need to know this in order to be effective.

Always at the top

The best way for your players to get to the top is if they start to look at how well they do and what happens when they train and compete.

You want this to be a part of their growth and become a habit. Elite athletes often have the ability to make mental assessments more or less automatically, which can make them stand out from other athletes. In order for any mental program to become fully automated, it must be systematic and goal-oriented, as well as going on for a long time and making progress.


Study case – coach Liu Guoliang

Liu Guoliang is very important for the Chinese National Table Tennis Team.

How to boost Ma Lin’s performance

People told Ma Lin that she didn’t want to win. Every time Wang Hao played in the big leagues, he got butterflies. Both of them felt somatic anxiety. For Ma Lin, Liu Guoliang always set up a match between Ma Lin and other members of the Chinese national team where money was at stake so that Ma Lin could play against them.

Professional Table Tennis Coach - coach Liu Guoliang
Professional Table Tennis Coach – coach Liu Guoliang

When Ma Lin saw this, her performance and desire to win went through the roof. He helped Ma Lin change her perspective and “focus on the prize.” Liu Guoliang is the head coach of the Chinese table tennis team right now.

Ma Lin and his grip (2)
Ma Lin and his grip (2)

That means that he is the one who makes the top Chinese table tennis players, like Ma Long, Zhang Jike, and Xu Xin, do well. But he was best known for making Ma Lin and Wang Hao’s anxiety-matter problems worse.

Solve Wang Hao’s problem

Wang Hao often defeats Ma Long. But in the Olympics, he lost to the Korean player (R.S.M), and got the Silver medal.

Wang Hao switches to the coaching career very soon
Wang Hao switches to the coaching career very soon

To help Wang Hao, Liu Guoliang lowered Wang Hao’s main goal to just getting to round 1. After the first round, Wang Hao slacked off and didn’t work as hard as he should have. Instead, he became very excited and wanted to win again.

It wouldn’t have been possible for Wang Hao and Ma Lin to reach the top of the world table tennis rankings without the help of Liu Guoliang.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

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