Limitations, does everyone have it

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 7 years ago

Michel Ichiy

Michel Ichiy Asked 7 years ago

I've practising table tennis for about 5 years now, and start to notice that my game has not improved too much lately. I know it is normal to have some issues and with some training you get better eventually.

But when it comes to professionals, specially Europeans, when compared to chinese players they always seem to underperform. I am sure they do have similar training volume.

The question I have been wondering is: Does every person have a limitation?

Even with outstanding amounts of training some people, such as myself, seems to hit some sort of ceiling on which one cannot improve further.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Michael,

This is an interesting thought.

I guess there are limitations for everyone depending on what experiences they have had, their ability to learn as well as their learning environment.  There are probably a lot more factors.  There is also the nature versus nurture argument.

As far as the Chinese, I think they success is largely due to the volume of training.  If they don’t survive the volume then they drop out but there are many more to take their place.  In Europe and around the rest of the world, if the good ones drop out there is a bigger gap to the next best.

Interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on this one.


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Thoughts on this question

martinand bernard

martinand bernard Posted 7 years ago

everybody can't be usain bolt, learn very young a big volume with quality and a big concentration and a big mental, to want to be a champion very young


Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Posted 7 years ago

Everybody has their limitations. I know that, having started at 42, I'm likely to end up in the bottom half of Belgium's rank and if I put in the training volume required to do better, I'll probably end up injured. Still I put in 8 hours a week and aim for the best possible level. Even if I had started at the right age, I'd rather have won the lottery than beat Ma Long. The guy is more gifted and so are thousands of others.

As for Ma Long and the Chinese, they put in more training volume, but there is more. There IS a reason why certain countries produce better players in certain disciplines, despite being lower in even affiliated members. Look at how the tiny Uruguay has historically outperformed much larger football countries.

The reason is a culture of top level achievement (in that discipline). Kids get role models. Coaches know what to do. And in China, it might even be that you're measured not to have the genetic predestination for the sports of your choice (I don't know if this is a modern legend).


Nigel Fewster

Nigel Fewster Posted 7 years ago

I believe limitations fall into two areas 

1 Physical 

2 Mental

Physical in the fact the body can't take the training at the level required to continue improving at a noticible rate. As you get older both injury and recovery take longer so more rest periods are required between training and after matches.

Mentally the brain becomes hard wired as time goes on and learning new techniques becomes slower and slower, a good example of this is language , children pick up language early but in later years it seems for most people difficult to learn a new language. Another problem mentally is life experience as we get older the majority of people become more cautious and tend to stick to the the shots that have worked in the past, where as young people are much more willing to give something new a go and keep trying till the succeed. 


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 7 years ago

I think that for amateur players, assuming they have no health problems, there are only enviromental limitations:

1) Amount of weekly training they can do while maintaining other life responsibilities
2) Availability of good onsite (not an online one, though PingSkills is awesome) coaching
3) Availability of sparring partners of higher or at least comparable level

I believe that with a desire and passion any other problem can be overcome, while the ones above can be tricky or impossible to deal with.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 7 years ago

And I don't think any amateur adult should ever worry about a thing like natural abilities or talent. I think that if they pose any limitations, one can only hit this ceiling after getting amount of training that a professional player had, which is extremely unlikely for an amateur to do.



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