Player Evaluation

Rowden Fullen (1970's)

In any evaluation of how effectively a player performs it is necessary to conduct an in-depth examination of a number of factors.

• Attacking and control strokes, what are percentage and type?
• FH and BH strokes, percentage and type, plus table area and coverage.
• Looking at over-the-table, at the end of the table and back from the table strokes, what are the percentage and type in each area?
• What are percentage and type of strokes taken at early, ’peak’ and late timing?
• Use of pace, slow, medium or fast: percentage and type of stroke at each speed.
• Use of long, short and angled strokes, percentage and type of stroke in each area.
• Spin, use of topspin, backspin, sidespin and float: percentage and type of stroke with each spin.

Effect of technical execution on strokes and further development

GRIP -- Does this change from one stroke to another and does it affect performance?

LIMITATIONS -- are strokes executed in such a manner that the player is limited either in what he or she can do now or in how he or she will be able to develop in the future? Is footwork being developed in such a way that it does not limit present or future performance?


• SERVE/RECEIVE -- Is the player in control in these areas and able to keep the play ‘tight’ when necessary?
• ‘MIDFIELD’ -- Is the player proficient in this area and does he or she control and exploit the play?
• SWITCH-PLAY -- Is the player able to break out from a control play situation and get on to the attack? Is he or she capable of switching from drive play to topspin or vice versa and of doing this fluently and at different stages in the game?
• ERROR RATE -- Is the player safe in his or her game or are there unforced errors? What percentage are we talking about?
• RECOVERY ABILITY AND TIME SCALE -- Does the player have good recovery in all aspects and under pressure and is he or she looking for the next ‘angle of play’ after each stroke?
• FORTÉS -- Just how does the player win points? Does he or she have one or two strong fortés which opponents have problems coping with?
• SET PIECES -- How does the player use set pieces, serve and 3rd ball, receive and 4th ball?
• ADAPTABILITY -- Can the player change his or her game to cope with different opponents and playing styles? Can he or she handle differing materials and rubber combinations?
• RECOVERY -- What are the player’s recovery rates, physical, mental and tactical, when put under pressure?


Proportion of --

• Through and chop strokes to topspin.
• Spin to drive strokes.
• Push to other strokes.
• Switch-play strokes.
• Forehand to backhand.
• Neutral strokes, just keeping the ball in play.
• Attack to control or defence.
• Short, over the table strokes to those from a deeper position.
• And classification of strokes (attacking, ‘brush’, through, neutral, forehand and backhand), played over the table.


• Points won and lost as per table areas.
• Points won and lost as per stroke-play.
• Points won and lost in serve and receive areas.
• Points won and lost with set pieces.
• Points won and lost with power.
• Points won and lost with control play.
• Points won and lost with spin.
• Points won and lost with deception.
• Points won and lost in short play.
• Points won and lost in the middle game.
• Points won and lost against material combinations.
• Points won and lost with tactics.
• Points won and lost in relation to the length of the rally (early or late in the rally).
• Points won and lost when the player changes direction, spin or speed.
• Points won or lost when the opponent changes direction, spin or speed.
• When, where and how the player is outmanoeuvred.


It is a simple matter to draw up an assessment card where you can plot the number of points won or lost on both the BH and FH side and see as a result the patterns that emerge from this exercise.

• Loop
• Topspin
• Drive
• Push
• Block

• Chop
• Float
• Serve
• 3rd Ball
• Receive
• 2nd Ball

• Over the table
• Back from the table
• Others


In the same way you can assess how effective your player’s serve and receive are functioning in match-play and where points are won or lost and on which wing.

• Short
• Half-long
• Long

• FH Push
• FH Drop
• FH Flick

• BH Push
• BH Drop
• BH Flick


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