This is Episode 040 of the Ask a Table Tennis Coach podcast. Today’s question comes from Olariu and is about table tennis fitness.
“How can I increase my stamina because I don’t think that my endurance is exceptional? A while ago I played against some pretty decent players. We played six matches, but I lost the sixth match. Got skunked by one of them in the last match. I really need to know how to increase my stamina.”
Lots of people laugh at table tennis as a form of exercise or even as a sport. But once you start playing properly it pretty quickly becomes apparent that it’s important to have a good base level of fitness, stamina and endurance. Especially if you’re going to be playing lots of matches in a row.
Perhaps you’re at a tournament that’s over a weekend, or a three-day tournament, you’re going to be playing loads of different matches. You need to have a good base level of stamina and table tennis fitness in order to stop your performance from dropping off as the days go on.
So in this episode, I’m going to be talking about general stamina and table tennis specific stamina. Two halves, let’s get into it…
How to boost your stamina generally
Generally just to improve your stamina and endurance there are loads of things you can do. We’re talking about cardiovascular exercises. Things like walking, running, and cycling. These are all really good starts.
Personally, I’ve always done a good amount of running and cycling, therefore my general fitness was quite high compared to some other table tennis players. This always made it a bit easier for me to train, and train hard. It also meant I was able to get more training in because I wasn’t getting tired and having to stop all the time.
It’s a really good idea to have that base foundation of fitness as it gives you something to build on top of when you’re doing all of your training.
One thing that I really like is walking up stairs as it can be really good exercise. It’s quite high intensity but it has really low impact on your joints. Gym memberships and fancy equipment are thrown out of the window with this idea. Climbing stairs is free, can be done by anyone of any age and of any fitness level.
Slimming down can be a really good idea too. There are plenty of high-level table tennis players who are overweight, but it certainly helps with your table tennis. If you’re in reasonably good shape physically it will be easier to move around the table and you’ll have loads more energy to expend on the table.
Have a think about ways you can incorporate endurance training generally into your week. For some people, it might be a good idea to slim down a little bit too, which is great for overall health as well.
Table tennis specific stamina training
If we’re talking about table tennis specific things I really like multi-ball for this. So you could get a coach or another player to feed you multi-ball for maybe 20 minutes. Then you can get them to control the pace of the training and you could do some footwork drills and push yourself physically.
There are different ways that you can do this. You can get them to increase the speed so that they’re feeding faster and faster. You can also push yourself by increasing the length of the drills by getting them to feed you more balls before you stop and have a break.
In a match you’re only going to be expending effort for maybe five or ten seconds in the point, then someone will collect the ball and you can have a short break. So if you can get used to doing that kind of training where you’re pushing yourself for longer and longer periods of time at a high intensity then that’s going to make it a lot easier when you’re playing matches.
You could do robot training as well if you don’t have a coach or another player to feed you the balls.
Another thing that I would recommend is Brian Pace’s Shadow Training DVD. That’s a table tennis specific workout. I had Brian on the Expert Table Tennis Podcast talking about that a while back. It’s really tough and will definitely boost your stamina.
It’s about thirty minutes long, this is the forehand loop one I’m talking about, and it goes through all sorts of different footwork drills and stroke combinations. Guaranteed to have you sweating and exhausted by the end of it. If you watch the video you’ll notice that Brian is in a pool of sweat by the end of the thirty minutes.
So it’s a really hard work-out and it’s all table tennis specific as well. That’s definitely something that you should try.
Loads of ideas there. I suggest trying to do all of them if you can. It would be great to get some general endurance training into your week, maybe once or twice. Some walking, cycling, running or swimming.
If you can find a coach or someone to feed you multi-ball get some high-intensity multi-ball going. Definitely, have a look at buying Brian Pace’s DVD. You can find that at DynamicTableTennis.com.
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