Everyone wants to improve in table tennis, however most players will plateau at a certain level, around USATT rating 1200, 1800, or even 2100. Here are some of the strategies that I have used to advance my game far beyond my fellow club members.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Once you clearly understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can strategize on how to play your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses. Do you win points with a strong attack or by being consistent? Do you make more mistakes with forehand or backhand?
- Get a coach.
A coach will see and understand things that you won’t see – strokes, footwork, serves, mental game, or an endless list of other common problems. If there isn’t a coach in your area, record yourself and compare the video to the pros.
- Improve every aspect of your game.
Advancing one part of your game might help against one particular opponent, but you need to progress all aspects. For example, if you develop a great forehand flip – excellent! But what happens if your opponent only serves long and pushes long? Focus your practice on improving all parts of your game – serve, footwork, smash, blocking, push, etc.
- Place priority on serve and serve return.
Each point starts with serve and return. If you can serve effectively, you can possibly win 3-4 more points each game. This is valuable. If you can return serve well, you will force your opponent to rally and lose his serving advantage.
- Serving practice 20%, Drills and/or Robot 40%, Matches 40%
Serving is the fastest way to progress in the shortest amount of time. Drills and/or robot practice will improve your basics and give a solid foundation. Matches are vital; this is the time to implement what you have been practicing.
Samson Dubina is an accomplished player and coach. He was the US Nationals Men’s Singles Finalist in 2010. Learn more about Samson.