Coach CornerMatch playalways-late
Slicepong asked 4 weeks ago

Hi Tom and Dan. Another lousy performance as my backboard of a nephew beat me easily. Afterwards I realized I seem to be reacting slowly. I don’t have video, but I’d be willing to bet I’m not starting the stroke until it’s hit on my side. Do you have advice on how to break this habit? It’s easy to say “start earlier” but it’s hard to change habits. I also seem to be pulling my head at contact, so I will work on that also. Thanks.

3 Answers
TomTom Academy Coach answered 4 weeks ago

Hi Slicepong, a good way to try to help this problem of always feeling late and starting the shot too late is try to think about the backswing and preparation as part of your shot, so for example on your forehand topspin think about swinging through striking the ball and then quickly and sharply bringing the bat back and recovering to the backswing as part of the stroke.

The other thing you can try is really keeping your shots shorter and compact to save time, so focus o finishing in front of the body and being relaxed as you contact and hit through the shot. Also lots of irregular drills or fast multi ball can help improve speed and recovery.

Slicepong
replied 4 weeks ago

Excellent points, Tom. but there’s another key I realized after reading your and Cynmarq’s comments and something you said before. It starts with the legs. I have fallen into the bad habit of reaching with my arm and barely using the big muscles. The legs drive the strokes. If you start properly, you’ll likely finish properly. The momentum of the legs and core often translates into an effortless stroke on the rare occasion I’ve done it properly.

Cynmarq answered 4 weeks ago

I have worked on the same issue. Experiment with standing a half step further back from the table, giving yourself more time to anticipate your opponents shot direction. On the backhand side, strengthen your forward swing motion. Put your hands together at stomach level, have your non racket hand offer resistance, keeping your shoulder blades together, lift slowly to head level.  Best regards, Cynthia

Slicepong
replied 4 weeks ago

Hi Cynthia. Thanks for the advice. I have thought about the step back, but keep resisting but I’m going to try it. I just need to get the proper rhythm down, then I can go back to the table. It’s interesting about the blades. I’ve never tried that. I’ll give it a shot. — Tom (Slicepong)

Cynmarq
replied 4 weeks ago

One other thought – as your opponent is preparing to hit his/her shot if you can adjust your focus so as to take in their preparation for the shot (ie – not just focus on the ball) you may be able to anticipate their shot spin and direction. I was surprised how much more effective I was a little bit further from the table edge. Good luck, Cynthia.

Slicepong
replied 4 weeks ago

Yes, I definitely am guilty of being too centered on the ball. Part of it is not being thoroughly relaxed. It took me a long time to relax while playing tennis. I thought it would make it easier when transferring to table tennis, but I was wrong. I’ll try to take the long view.

TomTom Academy Coach answered 4 weeks ago

This is a great discussion, good to see Academy members getting involved and sharing thoughts and advice 🙂

Slicepong
replied 2 weeks ago

Tom and Cynmarq.
Your advice helped me in my next match. Cynmarq said to try standing a little further from the table and after a mediocre first game that I squeaked out a win, I realized after the point starts, I am instantly crowding the table. No wonder I couldn’t hit topspin. So I stepped back and remained cognizant of my spacing and I started hitting much more consistent top off both sides. It wouldn’t remind anyone of Tom or Dan, but at least it’s a start, plus much more relaxing since the ball wasn’t on me instantly like before. Thanks!

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