Stroke Analysis

Rowden Fullen (1990’s)

In trying to learn a new skill we must endeavour to be as systematic as possible. Try to break down and isolate the different areas of the stroke — in this way it’s much easier to single out which aspects are causing problems.

  1. Preparation — the stance, the position of the feet and the body, the back-swing. Look at the preparation particularly in terms of results and economy. Are we achieving the required effect, but are there extra, unnecessary movements in the build-up? Is there enough movement so that we utilize elastic energy to the full? Modern table tennis is such a fast sport both in terms of reaction time and movement that there is just no time for superfluous components and balance at all times is a priority. The content and method of training of players assume rather more importance than we may have initially thought, especially in the formative years. It is vital that the ‘automatic’ reflexes, the conditioned responses, that the player has to work so hard to build up, cover as large a series of actions as possible. In this way it is easier for the player to establish a valid pattern and to have the capability to adapt to new situations as they arise.
  2. The instant of contact – the use of the body and legs, length and position of the bat arm, the timing and the angle of the racket. Are we achieving maximum effect from the contact and are we combining the movements of the legs, body and arms and in the right way? Are we applying the force in the right way and in the right direction?
  3. Follow-through – the length, trajectory, use of body, transfer of weight. Do we retain balance at all times, is there enough follow-through to achieve good effect with the stroke or does the manner of follow-through limit stroke effect and development or even recovery to the next ball?
  4. Recovery – to the ready position, position of playing arm, balance, coordination. Does the player react to the next angle of play? Is he or she always ready to play the next shot? Are the feet and racket well placed for the next ball? Recovery is what links one stroke to the next and gives control of the table.

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