Last updated 11 years ago
this is a slightly esoteric question so hope this makes sense.
When you hit the ball, should the focus be on aiming the ball at a certain point on the opponent's side of the table (you could describe it as a virtual bullseye you've overlayed on the table), or more on hitting the ball with a certain speed, spin and direction and letting the actual landing spot of the ball take care of itself?
In effect these are same approaches, but at the same time slightly different. Is one preferable?
Your questions are always interesting and challenging.
Firstly remember the golden rule, 'Your focus needs to be on the ball'. However your subconscious is working on the other three things as a combined package, i.e. where you are hitting the ball as well as the spin and speed. They are a combination that can't be separated in a match situation because you don't have time to process them individually. The landing spot is part of the package of spin speed and placement.
If your focus remains on the ball, you will naturally pick up where the best place to hit the ball and at what speed and spin. These are not decisions that you can make consciously with any effect and in time. While focusing on the ball you are still seeing what your opponent is doing through your peripheral vision.
You need an overall focus of where you should be hitting the ball and what type of ball your opponent does and doesn't like (your tactics). This should be thought through before a match and perhaps between points and games. During the point it is all about watching the ball and letting your subconscious take over.
When you are playing well and thinking clearly, these tactics become obvious. You can see gaps in where you should place the ball and at what speed. Everything flows and it feels like your opponent is almost giving you the ball where you want it and that he is reacting slowly because you are finding gaps in his game. When you are not clear minded, these are difficult to see and your decision making becomes very conscious.
Table Tennis is too fast to be able to make these decisions like in golf for example. Let your body make those decisions on the run.
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