Sayings from the Past

J. Carrington (1960’s)

Jack Carrington was one of the greatest coaches of all time and many years ahead of his time in his approach to table tennis

Most players expect the coach to teach them new or better strokes, but the coach could do much more if they would allow him to teach them new or better thoughts.

The importance of BH/FH practice is that over 50% of all points lost in matches occur on a change of stroke between left and right-side play. This practice reduces the mistakes because it teaches you to be ready to turn. It also teaches you that after each turn there is a fraction of a second to think.

Baseline to baseline and short to short is the golden rule for non-expert players. Long shots need longer strokes, short shots only need short preparation and follow-through.

There is a whole family of push strokes – the push is a preparation for many other skills. Conversion is also a whole new field but don’t neglect the conversion of slow push to fast push.

In attacking shots the body weight should be moving upward and forward at the moment of contact – in defensive shots downwards.

There is a topspin answer for every ball, but it’s not always the best answer. Training for advanced players should include –

  • Discipline Tasks
  • Skill Tasks
  • Speed or speeding-up tasks
  • Ingenuity Tasks

‘Soft-touch’ skills are important, but possessing the skills is not enough, using them sensibly is what makes you advance in match-play. In classic defence the intention is to recover some time – recovering time is important to both defensive and attacking players. If attackers are blocked wide they too must know how to take the next ball later. Anticipation depends on watching what is happening at the other side of the table, good judgement, alertness and rapid movement into position.

A quick take-off to any position is something every player can train for until it is automatic. In advanced stages a very quick retreat over a short distance is often more effective than waiting a long way back.

It is in the field of mobility that the biggest advances can and must be made. Improve your mobility by 15% and this will immediately lift your game by one or two levels. Make it a habit to move somewhere, even if it’s just a few inches, immediately after each stroke. This creates an automatic ‘rebalancing’.

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