How I uplift my player’s games by having table tennis targets on the table. I’m going to explain the benefits of my methods below.
I love coaching and the more players I coach the more I learn. But one thing seems to stand out with 95% of the players I work with. They all fear the opponent standing on the other side of the table.
The 5% of players who don’t fear the opponent have a secret!
When playing someone of our level or above we find ourselves, feeling uncomfortable and going for a little extra which often results in unforced errors. We often complain by saying I played badly today but in truth it’s our awareness of the opponent that causes anxiety, making it hard for us to win.
Learn to win rather than lose:
We are not always beaten by players of our standard or slightly above our level but commonly LOSE tight matches to those players. What do I mean? We fear our opponent in most cases and we tend to make unforced errors hence a loss rather than the player creating winners and beating us. We think too much in an attempt to foresee the future which disables our execution or forces an overload of information causing a poor shot selection and ultimately deliver a weak or failed shot.
Being aware of a player’s ability is good but it should not override your shot selection. If we think that our opponent has an answer to all our shots, then we won’t be able to beat them mentally and that is often half the battle. The aim is to execute and deliver your game with the best strategy possible. A game plan (can be changed) and is adaptable according to the situation but we must give ourselves the best opportunity of beating a player regardless of their ability!
So, how can we give ourselves an upper hand in executing what we can do, regardless of the opponent?
Here are the simple secret top players use to focus on their capabilities rather than the opponent’s repertoire.
Please note: top players will and can manipulate the ball in many different ways and you will need to adapt accordingly.
3x Table Tennis Target Tips:
- You must focus on ball placement but it must be precise placement to ensure greater success. Pick a point on the table you wish to hit and aim there, in doing so your focus will shift away from your opponent. To enhance this skill place targets on a table and aim to hit them, notice what targets are easier to hit and take note of where you are hitting the ball from, (understand you angles) ‘scroll to the bottom of the page’. When you play a match, you can visualise the targets on the table and aim to hit one of them, depending on the ball given, your body position and angle you are hitting the ball form.
When focusing on a specific target your mind will hone in on the goal set and shift away from your opponent’s possibilities. You are only in control of your own shots and if you are unable to execute them due to fear of his/her reaction, then this will often lead to poor results your end. By placing targets in a practice session gives you the ability to visualise those targets in a real match which can help you to execute your shots. If the player can counteract your shots, then either you change placement or they are just too good on this occasion. Nevertheless, if you execute your shots at least you know where you stand rather than be dictated to, by unknown future events.
- Take the ball as early as possible, this will give you less time to worry about what your opponent will or can do and it will also give your opponent less reaction time.
- Lastly, use your peripheral vision, try to notice where your opponent is standing or itching to go towards then have your target in your mind and go to that specific zone.
These three tips will give you a more zoned mindset and provide a simple tool to beating players your level and above more often than not.
Place table tennis targets on the table when you train and make target hitting second nature when playing matches.
Here is a nice little target practice I use with my players (Filip Szymanski Polish International).
Written by Eli Baraty