Table tennis is not easy. Many of us have trained for years to years, but we don’t improve or improve slowly.
With advice from Chinese table tennis coaching, I resume the best 5 tips to improve your skills like a rocket.
- Focus on feeling
- Hit by the legs
- Fix the contact position
- Relax, Explode and Relax
- Learn the tactics
But firstly, we need to understand why many players don’t improve at all their levels.
Why You Stuck and Stagnant
You won’t be better at table tennis if you don’t how to practice!
If you are a beginner, you need to know:
- How to select the right blade and rubber for beginners
- Master the 10 basic table tennis skills in 2 years
- these “effective” tricks to win easily your teammate!
But if you are a serious player, the only way to win is to train correctly!
If you don’t know how to train efficiently, then you cannot improve fast in table tennis even after years of training. Today I explain to you the best 5 pieces of advice to develop your table tennis skills using the Chinese training method.
And you also wonder:
Why the Chinese kids just learned table tennis for 2 years and they improve so fast. Why?
You also train in a table tennis club with a coach, but it seems your level can’t grow up. It’s because not many coaches know how to coach correctly. To improve fast, the coach and the player must understand the PRINCIPLES of table tennis.
The optimal way to be better at table tennis
Based on Chinese coaching, here are the 5 easy way to improve your table tennis skills fast. Take time and apply it to your training routine, your table tennis will level up quickly!
1. Focus on “feeling”
The feeling is the first principle in table tennis in Chinese philosophy. The feeling is the way you make the ball spin. Some of us just hit the ball without the feeling of the spin. So the quality of this shot is low as you don’t control the spin. So the simple way to improve the feeling is: do multi-ball like this kid. Try to impact the ball, and “focus on the feeling”, the spin of the ball. This way, you can improve the mechanism of the stroke too.
So please remember, the feeling is the most important, and when you master the feeling, now you can try to hit hard, harder. Don’t hit hard without the feeling of the ball.
If you had a bad habit, bad mechanism of the stroke, you should correct it now by focusing on the feeling. Try to do the simple exercises; focus on the spin. This way will help you improve control. You will discover your own way to spin the ball.
Here is the list of top 10 professional table tennis blades that gives you good vibration, and good feeling to your hand.
2. Hit by the “Legs”
The second PRINCIPLE in table tennis that Chinese emphasize is “hit by the legs”. Most western players are taught to hit with the arm, but Chinese says “hit by the legs”. By hitting with the legs, the whole body will also be used in the stroke: this way the stroke is stronger and much more consistent. This is the secret why Chinese players can hit very hard as they hit the ball with a bigger stroke, a full mechanism is developed.
In China, they also fix the elbow, they don’t let the players move freely their forearm. This way will force the players to use his legs, to move and hit by rotating the body. This is the best mechanism for hitting in table tennis. You should also learn that. This training will correct your bad mechanism and improve the consistency and also the power of the stroke.
Look at the video; they rotate the body to hit the ball. Their arm/forearm moves just a little. So remember this: the arm is just a tool to transfer the power to the ball, the body, legs are used to generate the power.
You don’t need to rotate the forearm to hit the ball, but you should rotate the body. Because rotating the body is easier, faster and stronger than rotate the forearm/elbow. Remember this, and your table tennis will go up fast.
3. Fix the contact position
I’ve asked my players that “Where should you hit the ball?”.
They just don’t know exactly where they should hit the ball. They answered that they just hit the ball at the position based on his habit. So each time, they will hit the ball at a different position, and the consistency of the stroke will therefore decrease. It’s not a good way to develop your table tennis skill. You should know exactly, where you hit the ball.
Always hit the ball at the same, and exact position. This is called as “timing”
Look at the video, the coach has asked their students:
“Wait for the ball, and fix a position before hitting”.
By doing this exercise several times, you form a good habit, a good mechanism for hitting the ball. Each time, you hit at the same position, so the consistency, the quality is always the best.
Please remember: Wait for the optimal position before hitting the ball.
You have the time. Don’t hit fast and miss the ball. Don’t hit fast and don’t know where you hit the ball.
4. Relax, Explode and Relax
I have many students. And I know that you can have the same problem as my students. You are normally too tense during the match. Table tennis doesn’t need that. It’s not necessary. The correct way is: Relax, Explode at the moment of hitting and relax again. If you are too tense, the feeling decreases, the speed decreases, and you won’t move faster. You should film yourself with a camera, and you will notice that you are very tense.
Look at this video at 07:09, Zhang Jike does the right way: Relax before hitting, explode, and Relax right away. He is very flexible, he jumps, and all of his body is very soft, flexible. Now focus on the face of Zhang Jike, you will know the moment he applied the force (the face muscle is tense) and right after the stroke, his face returns normally so his muscle is in the relax mode. Explosiveness needs a recovery phase.
So please remember, let the body relax right after the stroke in every situation. You are quicker and faster in table tennis in this way.
Relax! Explode and then Relax! 3 steps!
These 3 steps will increase dramatically the shot’s quality!
5. Learn the tactics
By learning the tactics, you know where you should hit the ball to: to the opponent Forehand, middle, Backhand, or you should hit long, or short.
There are many advantages to choosing the right tactics for each playing style. Tactics help you to shut down the opponent strength, and force him to play in your style.
One of the best books for table tennis tactics and strategy is [easyazon_link identifier=”1477643788″ locale=”US” tag=”ert06-20″]”Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers”[/easyazon_link] (the best seller of all time)
You should find a good coach: he will help you correct the techniques and learn the tactics. If you can’t find a coach, learn on the internet. I will be your coach. My coaching videos help you counter various playing style. In this video, a model coach in China is presented: coach Gu in Beijing Table Tennis School.
Step-by-step of table tennis tactics:
Based on my quick resume of tactics, here are some basic steps:
- The first step of tactics is to identify your opponent’s playing style. His weakness, his strength. Read my tutorial here.
- The next step, is to fix “Where to attack”? and “how to attack”. Where to attack is the position you send the ball.
- In general, you should attack to “wide forehand”, “wide backhand” and “his elbow”. I explain it here.
- “How to attack” is how to incorporate your serve, short or topspin, serve long, or serve short. It’s called “set up serve”.
- And the final step is to control the pace, try 1 to 2 solutions, and stick with the one that works!
For example, this is the simple tactics that work very well against long pimple players:
- Serve long with no-spin to the long pimple side
- Step back, and attack (loop) this ball to the forehand wide side, or to the elbow of the opponent
- Vary your serve: short with the heavy topspin serve to the wide forehand, and then hit the next ball
- Read How to play against long pimples
You should read
Coach EmRatThich was born in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1983. He started playing table tennis at the age of 8. After finishing his Ph.D. in Paris, University Pierre Marie Curie (Sorbonne University) in 2011, he is now a table tennis coach in a small club in France (about 153 players). Interested in table tennis coaching for a global audience, he founded pingsunday.com, one of the best online coaching programs for table tennis players. Using the Chinese coaching philosophy, his table tennis lessons are free, which allows many table tennis players to improve fast. He can speak English, French, Vietnamese, and a little bit of Chinese.