Last updated on 19-Nov-2007 01:38:34 PM
I've recently started table tennis again after a 20 year break. In order to try and get myself back up to speed, I've been watching a lot of instructional videos on youtube. But such videos always shows how to hit the 'standard' forehand/backhand when the ball is hit to you at a convenient height, direction and speed. In a game, though, playing against opponents of all levels of skill, many of whom play highly unorthodox, the ball doesn't always come at you where you can just mimic the 'standard' swing. I recently entered a tournament, to get experience playing against different styles again, and found it very hard to get the length right on forehand drives when the opponent hit a very weak ball to me and I had to generate all the pace. I either tried to graze the ball too much for spin, and hit it into the net, or I compensated too much and hit it long. It was highly frustrating. In the long run, I know the only solution to get back into the swing of things is lots of practice and experience, but do you have any advice to help cope with adjusting your swing for weaker balls / higher balls, etc? Thanks.
Great that you are back into table tennis. You have hit on why the game is difficult for someone startng out or getting back into it and you are also part of the way to the solution by entering a tournament.
There are 3 things that can vary in a game; 1 Placement, 2 Speed, 3 Spin.
Drilling endlessly can not work totally. The variations that can come your way are endless. That is why you need to play a lot of table tennis and get back into as much competition as you can. This will provide you with a lot more of those variations that you need to get used to.
To assist to speed up the process however, you can work on;
1. Footwork (Placement): This eliminates one of the variables of placement to some degree. Once you make good position you are more of a chance to play that stroke you have drilled.
2. Drilling of strokes (Speed): By having your stroke well drilled it requires less time to react and execute the correct stroke which will buy you some time to react appropriately to the variable speed.
3. Tournaments, Practice Games & Service return practice (Spin): No amount of drilling can prepare you properly for the subtleties of spin that someone can give you during a game. Each player has their own slight changes that can lead to a small difference in the stroke that is required. Enter as many competition as you can,play games with as many different people as you can, this will help greatly.
Good luck on the comeback. With your interest you will get there.