Hi, I’m Emma White, a table tennis coach at PongBoss.com and today we will discuss a few ways you can practice table tennis by yourself.
Although there is no substitute for a coach or a skilled friend, there are some things you can do alone to improve your game. They will not be as effective as the ones you can do with a partner but luckily some of them are best done by yourself.
I think you already know that footwork is one of the most important skills you can develop in table tennis seeing as the correct execution of all the different strokes are dependant on good footwork.
In the beginning, your focus should be on the correct placement of your feet and body position. Every stroke has a slightly different correct body pose and it will definitely pay off if you master them.
The good news is that you don’t need to be at your club to practice footwork. You can practice in your garage, a park or even in your room if you have enough space.
The thing you want to focus on is stamina and speed. Learn the correct feet movement with your coach and then practice by yourself to build strong leg muscles and develop fast reaction times.
Always try to imagine possible strokes whenever you move into a new position. By doing so, you’ll be able to replicate game situations very fast.
Serving can give you an advantage or it can lose you the point. There is nothing more frustrating than sending the ball into the net on your serve. Pro players practice their service for hundreds or even thousands of hours by themselves until they no longer miss any shot and it becomes second nature.
In the beginning you can focus on keeping the ball short and low. This way your opponent will have a difficult time attacking and will increase the chances of him making a mistake.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when practicing your service:
- Don’t serve with another ball in your hand as it can affect your toss and mess with your consistency
- Try to make the ball bounce twice on the other side of the table because it will make it more difficult for your opponent to return.
- Tie a string on two drying clips and attach them to the net posts. This will create a small gap between the net and string for you to aim at, ensuring you keep the ball low.
- To improve accuracy, place some targets on the table and try to hit them.
Table Tennis Robots
Table tennis robots are a great tool to improve your game. What makes them different from humans is their unrivaled consistency. They can shot the ball in the exact same spot, making it great for perfecting your strokes. What’s more, they can also help you develop better stamina and improve your footwork.
They come in all shapes and sizes and depending on the cost, they can do basic things, like shoot a number of balls in the same spot or they can do advanced drills and exercises and can be programmed by yourself. Here are some things to try for your next training session.
- To better simulate real conditions, you should keep moving your robot’s position to different places on the table. Try placing in very close to the net or even lower its height.
- The repetition of hitting the same ball in the same place can easily make you forget about footwork and correct stroke mechanics. Always remember to twist your waist and bend your knees when practicing forehand loops for example.
- Start with slower balls and gradually increase the speed as you become used to it.
Robots are great for practicing but they can also contribute to developing bad technique. This is why you should never train for too much without checking back in with your coach.
If you want to get ahead of competition and increase the number of training hours, there is no easier way than to practice by yourself. Of course, it won’t be the same as with a practice partner but it will definitely increase your table tennis skills. Take the above tips into consideration and you should be improving your game in no time.