Coaching and Playing Points

Rowden Fullen (1970s)


  • Directed training and directed development will always achieve better results.
  • Always have style development in mind.
  • Together with technical skills develop tactical awareness – while carrying out exercises bring in tactics by varying table placement, length, angles, ball speed and spin and timing.
  • Look at grips – does the player have a forehand or backhand bias?
  • Does your player know the secret of elastic energy?
  • Movement is the key to the future.
  • Evaluate balance and recovery.
  • The essence of all stroke-play is the instant of impact between the ball and the racket. Does your player feel the ball?
  • Consciousness – what is the degree of awareness of oneself, one’s own feelings and what is happening around? Assess your player.
  • Total concentration — table tennis is a switch on/switch off game, 100% focus when the ball is in play, relax and switch off when out of play. How does your player cope?
  • There is no room for feelings, especially anger. A relaxed calmness will pave the way to being in control, clear headed and able to think at all times. This does not mean that there is no place for controlled aggression – there is always a time to fight and many of the great players have total unshakeable determination. Evaluate your player.
  • Feel one’s strokes, feel the ball at impact — flat and brush strokes are the essence of table tennis. Assess your player.
  • The ability to keep track of the game, to know where you are winning and losing points, aware of serve/receive ratios, where opponents are weak or strong and the capability to take the initiative and adapt to changing circumstances are the mark of a champion. How does your player measure up?


  • ‘Stare’ at the ball — focus 100% all the time.
  • Be aware that the time to assess the spin on the ball is about 5 –15 cms. before the bounce on your side.
  • Be conscious of balance and the movement of the feet.
  • Be aware of recovery, the end of one stroke is the start of the next.
  • Be aware of contact points and differing timing, what happens and how to use these aspects.
  • Be conscious of placement of the ball.
  • Be ready to take the initiative in attack.
  • Be aware of the use of spin and no spin.
  • Be aware of adjustments in playing the stroke, less or more force or back-swing, timing, angle of the racket and where on the racket you contact the ball.
  • Be aware of the method of applying force, use of the wrist, movement of the fingers etc.
  • Have the desire to vary pace, spin and placement and know the different ways to do this.
  • Use your own strengths to the best advantage. Be aware of how you win points. Play to your strengths.
  • Block out all thoughts that are not relevant to your training/match/tournament.
  • Think of every training session in a positive manner and do not allow anything to interrupt your training focus.
  • Visualize success.
  • Cultivate a desire to achieve, to put up a good show and behave well at all times. Be competitive but a good sportsman.
  • Cultivate a positive approach to your sport, industrious but always ready to listen and to try new things.