Welcome to Expert Table Tennis! If you want to get better at table tennis – but you’re not really sure how – this is the site for you.
Hi, I’m Ben Larcombe. I’m 30 years old, I live in Tunbridge Wells (England), and I’m a professional table tennis coach.
I started Expert Table Tennis back in 2012 with the belief that everyone has the potential to become an expert at table tennis. The site has evolved and grown a lot and now includes regular blog posts, a monthly podcast, a selection of coaching videos, a book, and a thriving online community.
Spend just a few minutes reading or listening to any of my work and you’ll realize that I’m super passionate about table tennis! I particularly enjoy teaching the fundamentals to new players and helping them to find the most direct path to ping pong prowess.
In 2015, my table tennis coaching hit the headlines after my YouTube video ‘Guy Plays Table Tennis Every Day for a Year’ went viral. It’s since received over 12 million views and has been featured on BBC News, The Huffington Post, and The Telegraph.
I now coach at St John’s Table Tennis Club in Tunbridge Wells. It’s a small club, aimed at beginners and improvers, that meets on Tuesday evenings in the basement of St John’s Church.
Other than that, I’m a Bible-believing Christian and I have a wide variety of other interests including; sports science, online business, economics, and running (to name just a few). I’m also the co-founder of Pipehouse Gin!
My Table Tennis Story (so far)
I’ve been involved in table tennis for over 20 years! Here’s a brief summary…
- 1989 – Born in South London
- 1999 – Started playing table tennis at a local leisure centre
- 2001 – Moved to Crusaders TTC (Head Coach: Mike Pantin)
- 2004 – First represented Surrey and finished the U15s ranked #107
- 2007 – Finished the U18s #76 and joined Grantham Academy
- 2009 – Studied Coaching and Sport Science at Nottingham Trent
- 2011 – Graduated and began coaching professionally in London
- 2012 – Started ExpertTableTennis.com
- 2013 – Reached a peak ranking of #123 in England (then got married)
- 2014 – Completed The Expert in a Year Challenge – with Sam Priestley
- 2016 – Started St John’s TTC in Tunbridge Wells
- 2017 – Began working one-to-one with Harrie Austin-Jones
I don’t consider myself to be a table tennis expert – far from it! I’m just a coach that loves the game and loves to learn.
Expert in a Decade?
So, in 2014 I did The Expert in a Year Challenge with Sam Priestley. The goal was to coach Sam into the top 250 table tennis players in England in just one year.
Towards the end of the year, it became obvious that reaching that sort of level in one year (even with a massive amount of one-to-one coaching) just isn’t possible. I remember jokingly texting Sam… “Expert in a Decade?“
Well, in April 2017 I was approached by a young (and naive) chap called Harrie Austin-Jones – who was 9 months into his own long-term table tennis challenge. Since then, I’ve been coaching him once a week and he’s been steadily improving.
‘Expert in a Year’ sounds great. But ‘Expert in a Decade’ is probably more realistic. It reminds me of a quote by Bill Gates…
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.Bill Gates
Harrie has committed to table tennis for the foreseeable future. If you want to become a top player, that’s what it takes. You probably need to be training and competing 3-4 times a week, for 10 years, before you’ll get anywhere near “expert” status.
A lot of the content you’ll find on Expert Table Tennis is now linked to Harrie’s progress. We record a monthly podcast together chatting about all of his latest breakthroughs and struggles. I also write a coaching blog post each month that is usually linked to something we’ve been working on in Harrie’s training.
The best way to follow Harrie’s “epic table tennis journey” is to subscribe to our podcast and follow us on Instagram…
The Best of Expert Table Tennis
I’ve created a lot of content over the past eight years. Unfortunately, much of it is now lost “in the archives”. Here’s the best of it…
- Is It Possible to Master Table Tennis in 12 Months?
- Are You Too Old to Start Playing Table Tennis?
- How to Return Spin Serves
- The Four Basic Table Tennis Strokes
- How to Play Aggressive Table Tennis at 50+ Like He ZhiWen
- Why is China So Good at Table Tennis?
- 1 Key Tip to Improve Your Serve
- Common Table Tennis Injuries and How to Avoid Them
- How to Play ‘Relaxed’ Table Tennis
- 5 Tips to Improve Your Table Tennis Fitness
- ETT 001 – Matt Hetherington: Consistency vs Power
- ETT 003 – Alex Polyakov: Breaking 2000
- ETT010 – Rory Scott: Expert in a Year Mark II
- ETT 019 – Jesper Ratzer: 6x World Racketlon Champion
- ETT 020 – Larry Hodges: Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
- ETT 026 – Brett Clarke: How to Serve Like a Boss!
- ETT 028 – Brian Pace: Shadow Training for Table Tennis
- ETT 032 – William Henzell: Time to Retire
- ETT 033 – Sean O’Neill: Top Tips for Intermediate Players
- ETT 038 – Colin Wilson: How to Fulfil Your Potential
- How to Improve Your Shakehands Table Tennis Grip
- The Power of Practice
- How to Build Your Own Custom Table Tennis Bat
- Metronome Table Tennis Training
- Expert in a Year Q&A Session
Big Projects, Guides, & Free Downloads
And here’s some of my cornerstone content. The work I’m most proud of. I virtually dedicated the whole of 2014 to The Expert in a Year Challenge!
- How to Play Table Tennis in 10 Days
- The Expert in a Year Challenge
- The Ultimate Guide to Table Tennis Psychology
- The Table Tennis Playbook
- A Parent’s Guide to Table Tennis
- 1001 Table Tennis Tips