Developing Speed for Table Tennis

Extracts from Seminar. Dr Larry Van Such

We have all heard of fast and slow twitch fibres in muscles -- in almost every sport the secret to improving your athletic skill is to make your muscles not only stronger but also faster. Fast muscles give you a big advantage in almost all sport related skills but especially in fast reaction sports.

Prime areas in the Development of Women

Rowden October 2012


Speed, which is the most important of the 5 basic elements (speed, power, spin, flight trajectory, change) covers all aspects and is the central core and the prime factor of development; it doesn’t just cover the ability to play fast and to control speed, but to think and to react swiftly, to adapt quickly, to move rapidly and with the right footwork patterns. It also covers the aspect of combining the other four elements at differing speeds.

Long-term Athlete Development

Rowden August 2012

LTAD is basically a model which looks at an in-depth and long-term approach to maximising the potential of an individual and helping him/her to tailor the developmental program to suit the stages of physical and mental growth. It is also intended to encourage and motivate the athlete to be involved lifelong in his/her sport. The model is split into a number of stages taking the child from simple, generic movements to more complex, sport specific skills and building a pathway.

It’s all in the Preparation

Rowden August 2012

The GB cycling team has been enormously successful at the London Olympics, 2012. So successful in fact that there have been complaints from other teams claiming that GB cycles are in some way ‘fixed’ to provide superior performance! Or that perhaps our athletes have some super- energy drink which is not available to other countries!

Blueprint for Champions: Ideas from Clive Woodward (2008)

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. Muhammad Ali

Success: Belief, Method and Vision

Rowden July 2012

If the coach doesn’t believe in the player, then he/ she will find it difficult to win. Players sense very quickly whether the coach is fully behind them and supportive or if he/she is just going through the motions and is really quite certain they have little or no chance. It often happens in Europe for example when Europeans meet Asian opponents that the lack of belief from the coach impacts on his/her player’s performance.

The Modern Game: Recent Changes

Rowden 2012

The modern game is changing dramatically at the moment. For a number of years now, men’s table tennis has focused on the short game and the player who has had the best control in the short play situation has almost always been the winner.

Zen and the Art of Table Tennis (Peter K. Tyson)

Peter K. Tyson 2011

An interesting approach from Peter Tyson exploring the Eastern philosophy and its relevance to Western sport, particularly table tennis. It is also stressed that many of our top players already use a very similar mental approach! A number of excerpts from the book appear below.(Amazon UK Kindle version is reasonably priced)

Technique, Tactics and Style

Rowden 2012

Many coaches will tell you that ‘Technique is the basis of all Tactics’. But just how does this work and how does style fit in as all players are individual and even players who are very similar will do things in different ways?

Developing Players: Move with the Times

Rowden 2012

Do we want ‘New players, old styles’, is this the way forward? Even more so do we want ‘New Coaches, old ideas’? Surely if we do not continuously seek new things we will stagnate. Are too many players in these modern times of athletic, dynamic table tennis just too ordinary, too conservative and too predictable? Do they fail to take risks or try new techniques/tactics through fear; are they afraid of losing what they have? And are they influenced by all the players around them to become just one of the herd and to ignore their individual talents?

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