1001 Table Tennis Tips

Table tennis tips, or a good piece of advice, can have a huge impact on your development as a player. I am going to be contacting as many top table tennis players and coaches as I can, asking them for their #1 tip, and sharing them here. I hope you enjoy the following table tennis tips…

“Control your reaction to the point”

by Dora Kurimay (Former pro player and mental performance coach)

Dora KurimayIn a competitive environment, with high levels of pressure, the time you spend between points is very important. The first action to take right after the point ends is to control your reaction. Your reaction includes your thoughts, emotions, and body posture. The most successful players control their reaction as soon as the points ends. This is part of their routine between points, regardless of their current situation in the match. This is the most important step because if it fails the rest of your routine doesn’t matter.

“Keep your head still”

Steve Brunskill Table Tennis Coachby Steve Brunskill (Professional English table tennis coach)

“Try to keep your head still as you play with your eyes level. If you let your head bob up and down as you move you will find it more difficult to accurate track and adjust to the ball.”

“Keep your racket high”

Matilda Ekholmby Matilda Ekholm (Professional Swedish table tennis player)

“Keep your racket high in all situations. It’s a lot easier to adjust the racket downwards if you don’t want to play the ball early. If your racket is already too low you will never catch the ball as high, or early, as you usually need to in order to put your opponent under pressure.”

“Always give 100%”

Philipp Floritzby Philipp Floritz (Professional German table tennis player)

“If you always give 90% or less in your practice you’ll play also with 90% or less in important situations. So enjoy playing table tennis and always fight to give 100% effort in good times and also in bad times.”

“Stop elbowing me”

Sean O'Neillby Sean O’Neill (American table tennis player and coach)

“Most aspiring players are more focused on power than placement. Unfortunately this is a mistake that will need changing if they want to reach the next level. When playing a shakehands player the best location to play a strong shot to is the transition point between their forehand and backhand. Resist the urge to go cross-court and aim for the elbow!”

“One mentality”

Shane Overmeyerby Shane Overmeyer (South African table tennis player/coach)

“Players should always train with the ‘match mentality’ putting the focus on every ball. In this way you will have more quality sessions and play better at vital stages of the game.”

“Make more mistakes”

Greg Lettsby Greg Letts (Professional Australian table tennis coach)

“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes when training. If you aren’t making mistakes, you probably aren’t under enough pressure, and you probably aren’t improving. Many people want to train at a level where everything feels easy. Instead, try training at a level where it all feels a little too difficult, where you are constantly making mistakes due to the pressure, and then focus fiercely on correcting those mistakes. You’ll see the results in your matches.”

“Be yourself”

Eli Baratyby Eli Baraty (Professional table tennis coach)

“Be yourself. Develop your game by focusing on what suits you and feels right. Try to incorporate a personal ‘trademark’ rather than simply emulate others.”

“Small points win matches”

Liam Pitchfordby Liam Pitchford (Professional English table tennis player)

“Don’t focus all your energy on winning the big rallies. It’s the small points that win you matches and tournaments, things like; serve, receive and short play.”

“Create match situations in practice”

Marcos Madridby Marcos Madrid (Professional Mexican table tennis player)

“I think it’s important, in practice, to create match situations. For example, for ten minutes you play a simulation of a match where you start 9-7 down every time. This will get you used to winning matches from all sorts of different positions.”

“Avoid playing it safe”

Britt Eerlandby Britt Eerland (Professional Dutch table tennis player)

“My coach always told me it’s better to spin wrong than just try and push the ball onto the table. You shouldn’t be afraid of missing a shot or misreading the spin. You can learn from a misread and play the correct stroke next time but you learn nothing from just pushing it back and hoping it goes on.”

“You can always do more”

Matt Hetheringtonby Matt Hetherington (Professional coach and blogger)

“Remember there is always someone working harder than you or doing more than you. Even if you become world champion there is always more to learn and more to improve. The road to becoming a champion is full of endless opportunities, you just have to be driven enough to take them.”

“Forget about winning and losing”

stephen fosterby Stephen Foster (Professional English table tennis coach)

“In matches, focus on doing the best you can and going for the right shots rather than concentrating too much on winning or losing. This can put unnecessary pressure on yourself, have a negative effect on performance, and takes the fun out of playing.”

“Think technically”

Will Maybanksby Will Maybanks (Professional table tennis coach in Hungary)

“Think technically when you are practicing strokes. Make sure you know where you should make contact with the ball, the movement and the finish. A clean, smooth technique will lead to a faster and more dangerous shot.”

“Strive for perfection”

Sam Walkerby Sam Walker (Professional England table tennis player)

“Always strive to do more. Nothing is ever perfect and you can always improve. Even after achieving something, or reaching a goal, learn from your experience and keep pushing to improve every aspect of your game.”

“Focus on plays, not players”

Mike Mezyanby Mike Mezyan (Online table tennis artist)

“During a tournament your focus should be on the plays, not the players. And don’t forget… if you don’t smile at least once before, during or after your matches you’re missing what table tennis is really all about.”

“Practice makes permanent”

George Downingby George Downing (Professional English table tennis player)

“It is very important to have high quality and intensity in your practice. It is easy to develop bad habits in practice that will find their way into your matches. If you want to be the best, practice like the best, no matter who you are training with.”

“Small improvements create big results”

Megan Phillipsby Megan Phillips (Professional Welsh table tennis player)

“Try to make keep making small improvements to every single aspect of your game. Even improving each aspect by 1% will then result in a large improvement to your overall game.”

“Be brave”

Ovidiu Ionescuby Ovidiu Ionescu (Professional Romanian Table Tennis Player)

“Often during a match you must make a decision and you are unsure what to do. In these spots you must be brave and trust your instincts. It’s better to know you did everything possible to try and win, even if you lose, than to walk away with regrets.”

“Find your zone”

mark simpsonby Mark Simpson (Table Tennis Player & Sports Psychologist)

“Think back to how you felt when you played your best table tennis; how pumped up or relaxed you were. Work on staying in that zone every time you train and play a match.”

“Practice what you do in a match”

Larry Hodgesby Larry Hodges (Professional USA Coach and Hall of Famer)

“Practice what you need to do in a match (strokes, footwork, serve, and receive). If you work hard at each of these in practice, you’ll become proficient at them, and then it’s just a matter of time before you are equally proficient with them in a match.”

“Be balanced between shots”

Jan Bernerby Jan Berner (Professional Norwegian table tennis coach)

“We all know that balance is an important part of a correct table tennis stroke but it is even more important to have good balance between your shots.”

“Stay positive”

Tin-Tin Hoby Tin-Tin Ho (Professional English table tennis player)

“Don’t stress over what is going badly but instead focus on how to correct it. There’s nothing worse than spending a huge amount of energy and time worrying about what isn’t going well. Instead, concentrate on what is going well and how you can make things better. Stay positive.”

“Make practice fun”

Hampus Nordbergby Hampus Nordberg (Professional Swedish table tennis player)

“It takes many years of very hard practice to become a good player. My advice is to have fun whilst practicing. If you are going to stick with the training for thousands of hours you need to have fun as often as possible. But the important thing is, you don’t need to be unserious to be having fun. Make hard work fun.”

“Practice hard with maximum focus”

Galia Dvorakby Galia Dvorak (Professional Spanish table tennis player)

“Make sure you always practice hard with maximum focus. That is the only thing I know to work 100% of the time.”

“Treat every match the same”

David Wetherillby David Wetherill (British Paralympic table tennis player)

“Treat every match exactly the same, no matter the stage or occasion. At the bigger tournaments this helps me to stay calm, relaxed and focused but it also helps me to beat players I ‘should’ beat, by respecting everyone I come up against. I find this attitude helps me to play better and enjoy myself more.”

“Get your foot there”

Tony Chiang-Linby Tony Chiang-Lin (Professional coach in South Africa)

“Get your foot there. Once your foot is there, your body can get there. Once your body gets there, your arm can get there. Only when all that is in place can you correctly use your weight transfer and execute a stroke with accuracy and consistency.”

Table Tennis Tips from Werner Schlager

werner-schlager-table-tennis-bookWerner Schlager is a former world champion table tennis player from Austria. Here are five blog posts I put together back in September 2016, sharing table tennis tips direct from Werner Schlager himself.

These tips are taken from Werner Schlager’s fantastic book Table Tennis: Tips from a World Champion. In my opinion, it should be compulsory reading for all aspiring table tennis players!

5 Tips to Improve Your Table Tennis Fitness

Sean O’Neill’s Top Tips for Intermediate Players

3 Tips to Help You Beat Everyone in Your Office

Table Tennis Tips for Parents

For something a bit more light-hearted, I can recommend following @TTParentTips on Twitter.

Table Tennis Tips for Racketlon Players