Fundamentals of Table Tennis

Rowden 2011

• Table tennis is all about CONTROLLING the play (which means being consistent) until you can win the point by some form of CHANGE (more power or spin, different timing, better placement or angle, softer, shorter ball etc). These combinations of change whether in speed, spin or placement are the way our game is going to develop. This aspect of change must be executed by you FIRST before the opponent can do it

• Serve and receive and short play are an essential ingredient to getting in your own strengths – if you can’t control these areas then you will not be able to reach a high level. In Europe we are not precise enough in serve/receive and short play and are limited as a result in what we can do with the subsequent ball. Always look for the opportunity to go on the offensive and try to develop your attack system and your own personal style within the serve and receive scenario
• If you move faster you are better placed and have a sounder base to attack strongly. There is then a better chance that your first attack stroke will have quality. If you can play quality shots you will get weaker returns and have more chance to dominate
• Speed is always the most important factor in any style. Speed includes quickness in all areas, bat, body and mind, change and tactics, footwork, reactions and adaptability
• Winning the battle of placement enables you to use your tactics to the fullest extent. Attack should as much as possible be constant and varied and should keep the opponent under pressure in one way or another. However bear in mind that change in any form can keep the opponent off balance and create openings
• To progress to higher levels players must be innovative and creative. Too many players are conservative and fail to take the necessary risks to achieve greatness
• The mentally strong will win the initiative battles
• Always consider the differing types of power, these are part of the various forms of change. Power can be:
1. Full (90% sufficient)
2. Medium (60 – 70%)
3. Using the opponent’s force (40 to 50% of own to gain 70 to 80% effect). This is a safe way to be aggressive
4. Absorbing the opponent’s power

• In today’s game all-round skills are vital. Top opponents are very quick to see and to take advantage of any weak areas
• Even in defence, keep applying pressure, maintain control, but look for an early opportunity to change the form of the rally and counterattack
• Timing and style will affect stance and movement patterns
• Sequential play is vital – to connect up the 3rd and 5th shots for example, to play sound linking shots and create combinations. Don’t get in the habit of playing weak or safe shots before attack; keep the opponent wrong-footed.