Something that is not often talked about in table tennis coaching is how each skill is connected. For example, the manner in which you step in for a touch impacts on the proceeding shots.
This is why it is important to practice skills in the context that they would occur in a match.
It wouldn’t make sense to practice a forehand touch immediately following a smash. It would make sense to practice a forehand or backhand topspin straight after a flick receive.
This why you often see the pro’s practicing combinations of shots when doing multi-ball. Watch here Liam Pitchford combining his backhand flick with his world-famous backhand topspin.
It is not just the shots themselves but they way you move between the shots that will often make the biggest impact to your improvement. Practicing these combinations of shots will make transitioning from one shot to the next more automatic meaning there is no time wasted or hesitancy in performing the skills in rapid succession.
When you next practice, think of a combination that would occur in one of your games. Here are some suggestions:
- Forehand touch, Forehand topspin from middle
- Backhand flick, Topspin from anywhere
- Backhand push, Forehand re-loop/counter topspin
- Forehand flick, backhand topspin
For extra specificity to your game, film one of your matches and work out the most common 2nd and 4th ball or 3rd and 5th ball combinations*. These combinations are what you should be practicing. If you are unsure, send us a video or ask us in Coach Corner. Happy training!
*1st ball = serve, 2nd ball = receive, 3rd ball = shot after receive, etc…
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