Eyes on the ball

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 5 years ago

luka pipinic

luka pipinic Asked 6 years ago

How do you keep your eyes on the ball?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Luka,

This is a very important part of improving your game.

It is often underestimated as to the importance of doing this.  In training, focus some time on just watching the ball all the way during the rally.

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Thoughts on this question

Duane Millslagle

Duane Millslagle Posted 5 years ago

Keep the ball traveling to you within your field of vision.  The head should be up and stable.  If you ever shake your head and try to hit the ball, you will find that it is very difficult to make ball contact.  But if your head is up and stable, the eyes will operate optimally.  The human eye cannot do smooth, continuous tracking of a traveling ball at speeds over 11 mph.  If you see the ball come off the opponents blade and just a few milliseconds of ball flight, you will be provide information of the ball direction and speed. What will happen is the visual system will provide you time-to-contact information (this is a automatic, innate ability).  What is necessary for you to make contact with the ball is being able to see the ball come off the blade, early ball flight info, proper ready position, and end of ball flight information.  You only need ball flight information at the beginning and end of ball fight.  To prove my point is where a baseball outfield sees the ball coming off the bat and processes initial ball flight information then turns their back and runs to the spot on the field turns around and then processes final flight information which provides glove positioning and then catches the fly ball.  The more and more practice you have with balls coming to you at different speeds, direction, and spin will enable you to make better returns.  Keep you eye on the ball all the way to contact works for ball coming to you in a arch below 11 mph but this does not happen often in table tennis where the speed of the ball is well over 11 mph.  Better cues are: proper ready position for a return, find the ball off the opponents blade at point of contact, and initial and end ball flight information.  One other thing, if you watch a rally.  View the ball not from the side but from behind the hitter as if you were the hitter. This view will train one in seeing the ball come off the opponents blade and provide initial and end ball flight information.  Take note on the returners ready position for each ball.     

Abhinav Chauhan

Abhinav Chauhan Posted 5 years ago

Really well explained by Duane Millslagle. I had observed that how i watch the ball affects very much how i reacte to a return especially fast ones. I was wondering if i could find something somewhere in this regard. Really appreciate your helpful explanation.

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