Before it was allowed in as an Olympic event, the game of Table Tennis was, for many of us, just something that was played on weekends in bars, pubs and basements. After it became part of the Olympics, the popularity of the sport spiked, and suddenly there were more amateur teams than ever before.
If you’re looking to improve your table tennis game or just seeking to prevent injuries, these drills & tips will help you get better than you currently are.
#5 – The Holy Trinity
The holy trinity of grip, stance and footwork are the foundations you need to lay at the beginning. Many coaches skip over these and jump straight into hitting balls. Weak foundations can cause your whole game to fall down or prevent you from being able to progress your abilities further.
When you play, all these three different aspects must be coordinated perfectly in order to achieve the desired results.
#4 – Short sprints
Table tennis is a high-intensity sport and requires explosive power. Break your running distances down into short sprints of 10, 20, 30 and 40 metres. Repeat these sprints several times and allow plenty of time to recover in-between bouts.
A lot of players don’t realise that short intense sprinting improves cardiovascular and endurance in about half the time as traditional cardiovascular training, such as long distance running and cycling. So even if you are only trying to improve your “general level of fitness”, sprinting is probably still the best way to go about it!
#3 – Strength training
Additional training of the non-playing side is absolutely necessary for this game. Playing table tennis might mean using one side of the body more than the other. However, developing uneven strength will lead to balance problems later on, if it has been caused by many years of training.
Good efficient swinging movements save energy. Learning this efficiency is the key to modern table tennis. In order to be efficient, the body needs to be balanced properly.
#2 – Lateral movement
Table tennis is mainly a lateral (side-to-side) movement game. Consequently, a lot of the table tennis fitness training needs to be made up of lateral movements, such as lateral jumping. Powerful legs are the basis for all top athletes.
Training laterally increases your ability to change direction quickly, improves leg strength, explosive power, stability, balance and coordination. General conditioning exercises such as press ups, sit ups, lunges, squats etc. are all great for table tennis. However, the emphasis should be on speed, quickness and explosiveness, rather than the simply good technique of exercise.
#1 – Power
At the highest levels of the game, shot power can play a crucial role. Although raw pace might prove useless in the long run, it can definitely be useful to put the occasional whack on the ball, whenever your opponent is least expecting it.
Add jumping exercises to your fitness program, such as tuck jumps. These are great for improving your dynamic power and agility. They also need no equipment and can be performed when you only have a limited amount of space. You can adapt them in many ways by using different leg positions such as a pike jump or split jump. You can also add sprints and sidestep movements on landing. These are the best types of exercises for developing explosive power.
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