to prepare for table tennis matches and how
to play at your best!
is not much money in table tennis but your attitude at the
table should always be professional.
attitude towards table tennis as a sport is not the best
in Australia but do not let this prevent you from being
serious; because if you are not serious about you sport
how can yo expect anybody else to be?
In our country it would be hard
to earn enough money to support a family but table tennis
is a huge sport in many countries and the best players are
professional; some with an income of more than 2 million
dollars a year!
So be proud of your sport. Set goals,
do season planning. Take your practising seriously, be prepared
for tournaments and always show a positive attitude during
It is said that to master is a skill, also table tennis,
takes around ten thousand hours, so if you want to become
a top player you will have to practise a lot. But since
it is hard to make a living from in table tennis the young
players will also have to have a back-up plan; study hard
to make sure they can get at job they can be as happy with
as their sport.
Before the start of the season it
is important that you set your goals - and that they are
measurable and achievable: Do you really want to put in
the effort to become a champion? Can you manage to both
practise and study enough?
Well, let us say that you are a junior and practise table
tennis for one to two hours three days a week. This is far
from enough to make you a world champion; it will take you
too many years to reach 10.000 hours. To move to Korea,
Japan or China where the juniors often practise eight hours
every day might be tempting if you are really keen but not
so easy to do if you were not born there!
It may be that you will have to
set goals that are more realistic; become a club champion,
get selected to state teams. Even then you will normally
have to practise a bit more than a few days a week. Of course
you can aim even higher if you are really, really keen:
To get selected to national teams and be playing for Australia
in international events like Commonwealth Games, World Championships
and the Olympics! But then you really should be practising
about every day, play competitive almost every weekend and
go overseas for more training and tough competition.
So forget about computer games and
TV-programs - get down to the table tennis hall instead!
Too expensive with a private coach? Find a practicing partner,
ask your club to organize squad training! Do service practising
on your own! Not possible to practise every day? Squeeze
in a table at home or see if there is a table at your school,
visit another club for practising and Fixtures. Take part
in holiday training camps and might be go overseas in your
holidays. And remember that it is possible to practise your
game away from the table - do mental table tennis practising
in bed or on your way to school!
Remember that table tennis is a sport that requires a hight
level of fitness. In most countries every table tennis session
is followed by physical training but it is no big problem
for you to improve your fitness on your own. Many strength
training circuit exercises for table tennis do not require
any equipment and you can go running and do skipping rope
So let us say that you have set achievable goals and found
a way to combine your education with enough hours at the
table tennis table. Well, then it is wise to do season planning;
on your own or in co-operation with your coach (if you have
one). First you will have to put down on paper when you
shall reach your goal for the season; if it is to be achieved
at a major tournament or just on club level. Is it at the
middle or the end of the season? With a set date then you
will have to plan your practicing leading up to the goal
when your form shall peak.
It will be normal to do plenty
of regular and simple exercises with a lot of physical training
at the start of the season and more and more match-like
with less physical exercises when you get closer to the
In the first period it is common to work hard to improve
the major weapons and also try to iron out the weaker sides.
Usually with a lot of footwork exercises. In the middle
period it is common to do plenty work on serves and return
of serves follow by your own winning strokes, with many
irregular exercises. When you get close to your major goal
for the season then it is normal to work even harder on
irregular exercises, and as much game-play as possible.
It is always important that you try to practise and play
matches against players of all levels and playing styles.
Be serious and professional at the table at all times; set
your own goal for each practising session and each match!
It is also important to play in as many tournaments
as possible; remember that you need many, many hours at
at your best
So you are getting prepared for your major goal but how
shall you be sure you will perform at your best? Well, you
will, as mentioned, need to have a professional attitude
to table tennis. Respect your sport and always do your best
in practising and matches (don't forget to respect your
Believe in yourself but do not be
over-confident. Some players and coaches think that that
you need to be really "pumped up" at the table,
but too much adrenalin might in fact be a hindrance to your
performance. It is ok to put on a game-face and show happiness
at your good points; to be a kind of actor and play the
part of a confident athlete - but do not over-do it! To
stay calm, relaxed and focused with a proper game plan might
be much better than screaming and showing your fist!
What shall you do?
So how shall you play at your best? What shall yo do before
your important matches and what shall you do at the table.
Here is my to-do list:
- The night before: Go to bed early to get plenty of sleep.
- Wake up at least 2 hours before the match/matches.
- Have a healthy breakfast (but not too heavy).
- Bring some food plus banana and energy bars.
- Use a clean and proper table tennis shorts and shirt.
Put on your track suit.
- Check that you bring your racket, spare racket, table
tennis shoes, towel and water bottle.
- Be at the venue at least 1 hour before the match/matches.
- Warm up (besides the tables) as soon as possible with
jogging, sidestepping and dynamic stretching.
- Warm up at a table as early as possible, preferably with
your practising partner or coach; warm up all your
strokes (included serves and serve returns) - play a practising
match if possible.
- Put on tracksuit after the warm up.
- Take a look at your opponents; check their weaknesses
and strong points.
- Prepare mentally for the match - make game plan in your
head (if possible get assistance from you coach).
- Short warm up (like shadow table tennis) just prior to
- Check if the floor is slippery and prepare a wet paper
towel to step on if so.
- Remember your towel and water bottle when you go to the
table for your match.
- Go to the table in a positive mental attitude (and keep
it throughout the match!).
- Shake hands with the opponent before the toss of serve/side;
tell him/her your name if you do not know him/her.
- Take a look at your opponent's racket to see if there
are pimples or other unusual rubbers/blade.
- be ready; bend knees and keep your body weight forwards.
- Be loose and relaxed but at the same time alert, focused
- Small jumps before the start of each point to make sure
you are moving at all times.
- Positive "yes!" or simular self encouragement
after good points you win.
- Forget "bad" lost points; the next point is
more important than the ones played!
- Take slow, deep breaths if you need to calm nerves, shake
- Remember to towel off after each six points.
- Got to your coach to get advice between the sets; he/she
is there to help you!
- Have a sip of water or sports drink between the sets but
not too much.
- Show a proper attitude when the match finished, thank
your opponent and the umpire, plus your own and
the opponent's coach.
- Put on you tracksuit to keep warm for next matches (even
if it is warm in the hall).
- Have some food or banana/energy bar between the matches.
- If your are playing team-matches remember to stay at the
table to cheer on your team-mates, and remember
a short warm-up before your own match.
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For only the how-to list as a pdf-file - click here