High Level Performance (Summary)

Rowden 2011

The 7 essential aspects of top-level table tennis:

• Receive of Serve

• First 3 Balls

• Opening

• Effective Pushing over the Table

• Control of the Rally

• Ball Placement, the Special Areas

• The Specialty


The Psychology of the Rally

Gunther Straub 2010

Manfred Muster quotes statistical evidence to show that players are impressed or motivated by the quality (or lack of quality) of a shot produced by themselves or their opponents respectively. According to Muster´s data a piece of luck or a sense of frustration at a certain point in a rally both might have an impact on the result. Thoughts like ‘Saved by the bell!’ which occur because an opponent has neglected to convert a chance, are rather more performance-enhancing than ‘I just blew my chance!’ – despite the fact that both situations are the result of a mediocre shot by the opponent.

Mental Grip

Rowden 2011

The Problem

Why are so many of us inclined to mess up at the precise moment when messing up is the last thing we want to do? Why are we so prone to fail when we most want to succeed? For years the paradox of ‘choking’ seemed incomprehensible to psychologists and sportsmen alike. It is only in recent years that neuroscientists have glimpsed the answers, and they are both intriguing and revelatory.

The Young Brain

David Dobbs 2011

Parents often find themselves unable to understand why youngsters, not only teenagers but also young adults into their early and mid 20’s, act the way they do. They often seem quite arbitrarily ready to take life-threatening or life-changing risks, without seeming to evaluate logically what can happen. In the late 20th century brain-imaging technology was developed and researchers were able to track both the physical development and the patterns of activity. The results were surprising. The brain takes much longer to develop than most scientists had thought.

Women: Is practice in Europe relevant?

Rowden 2011

If we want to compete against the best women in the world, then we need to study how they play and what tactics they use. What do we find when we carry out an in-depth evaluation of how points are won and lost in women’s play at top level?

High Level Performance

Rowden 2011

High-performance athletes are able to assess the quality of a shot much more effectively than lesser players and also can more easily predict the advantage or disadvantage arising from a ball which just has been hit by an opponent. This major difference between players of different skill-levels is applicable significantly to the first three strokes of a rally.

Have You the Right Weapons?

Rowden 2011

To be a champion at table tennis requires you to have the right weapons, both generally and specifically. By generally we mean for the men’s or the women’s game, by specifically we mean relevant to the way you play as an individual. Weapons usually refer to 3 areas, physical, mental and technical/tactical.

Shot Selection and the Use of Power

Rowden 2011

Table tennis is an ‘antagonistic’ sport. This means that it involves power and judgment from two opposing parties, who both influence what happens to the ball. To play the most effective shot to suit the situation at hand we have to consider both:
• the type of incoming ball
• the precise amount of effort needed in our stroke

Research into Women’s Table Tennis

Rowden 2011

Q. Is there really a big difference in coaching male/female players?

Until we fully understand that the men’s and women’s games are ‘two completely different sports’ we will never raise the level of women’s play throughout Europe. Women have many more differing styles of play which are effective at world level. The men don’t. In the women’s game it is almost always speed which wins over spin, which is exactly the opposite of what happens with the men. There are also many more material players among the ranks of the women and coaches must be more fully informed as to the why, the how and the what. The mental and physical capabilities are also radically different. To work with and develop girls/women demands a great deal more from the coach.

Prime Thinking Points in Modern Table Tennis

Rowden 2011

• Value speed, spin and accurate/effective change; aim to use your strengths and take the initiative within the framework of all-round control
• Attack constantly and keep the opponent guessing. Any attack should be constant and varied and should keep the opponent under pressure in one way or another. Change in different forms will also keep the opponent off balance

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