How do I improve my table tennis off the table, is a question I’m often asked. There’s a common misconception that many players have, “if I don’t train (on the table) I won’t play well”. When I began playing, I only had access to a club once a week but I managed to accelerate at a faster rate than most. I was a sporty kid and used all other hand-eye coordination elements to embrace my initial table tennis, off the table.
How did I do this? And what can you do to accelerate your progress:
- Physical: work on strength, flexibility, endurance and speed.
- Nutrition: many eat what they’ve been brought up with and have not studied what they are putting inside their bodies. Study your food and make sure you put the right nutrition for peak performance
- Visualisation: try to watch yourself playing (by videoing games and practice session). Once you know what you look like when playing, you can use these visuals to enhance your performance. You can also do shadow play and try to do it in front of a mirror. Our subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and our imagination. If you watch a scary movie and get goosebumps, it’s because inside your subconscious it feels real. So, use this to benefit your game and train inside your mind, serves, footwork, playing well under pressure
- Learn from the best by watching: I go to many clubs and countries and I always ask do you watch TT? Sadly 75% of the players don’t! It’s not like it was back in my day, begging friends to lend you their VCR tapes so you can watch a few TT matches. Today you have access to almost any and every professional TT match on the planet for FREE! So, go to YouTube or ITTF and watch the sport you love playing. Seeing the best gives you the ability to learn what they do tactically and physically.
- Information: The web is full of information, so go on blogs and video tutorials such as mine and others
- Serve: Practice your serve, it’s really the only element you can perfect by yourself and you can even develop it without a table at home. Look in the mirror at the motion of movement, is it disguised? Is it a legal motion? Is it creative? Does it have loads of spin? Is my wrist being utilised to its fullest potential?
- Mindset: Often we believe if we train on the table it will give yourself the confidence to compete. Yes, it helps but there will be times that you don’t have the time, unable to play, injured, lack of access to playing facilities. This is when you must; self-encourage, by doing the above.
Improve my table tennis off the table by doing other activities:
Doing one thing is great and focusing on it surely will bring results. But I do believe in versatility and doing other things opens our minds to greater things inside our main objective. Try out other sports and activities and you will find your mind opening up and learning continuously. I found that I managed to improve my table tennis off the table when playing or doing other activities. The key is staying in tune and looking at how you can relate both table tennis and the other sport or activity.
Utilise your time off the table to improve your table tennis while not playing physically, I look forward to seeing your developments.
A nice warm-up exercise off the table click here
Written by Eli Baraty