Struggling to improve at recreational group

Table Tennis Training and Drills

Last updated 4 years ago

Jose TableTennisGuy

Jose TableTennisGuy Asked 4 years ago

Hi everyody. First time posting a question here! First of all, thanks for all your work on Table Tennis.


My question is: I'm a beginner player (USATT 800). I train with a coach once a week, and the rest of the time I go to different clubs, most of them not very well organized, where people play mostly recreational TT. I find it hard and sometimes frustrating to play in an environment that doesn't encourage improvement and it's not "goal oriented". People in these clubs just play "for fun", ie, no further expectations. Many times their levels are also below mine. I myself have the goal to move on to bigger leagues and tournaments.


On the other hand, I do have some opportunities (not very frequent) to play in a competitive environment, where ranks are kept and there's a tournament structure. This I enjoy a lot.


My question is: should I stop attending the purely recreational clubs, or stop playing with people that don't really have a goal? If not (because all practice can be beneficial), how can I get the most out of that practice, and use it to improve myself? How could I avoid being "stuck" at that level or environment?


Thanks! BesTT for y'all.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 4 years ago

Hi Jose,

Thanks for the encouragement.

I think attending the recreational group can be useful if you play some matches with them.  It may also give you exposure to a wider variety of styles.  This could be finding different serves or shots to play against.  If you feel you can get that then continue going. If it frustrates you then see if you can find another playing opportunity somewhere else.

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Thoughts on this question

Rohan Keogh

Rohan Keogh Posted 4 years ago

Jose, another approach is to forget about winning or losing in these recreational 'matches' (easier said than done) but instead treat every shot as an opportunity to refine and improve that particular stroke.  Use the recreational players as training/drill partners instead of match opponents, pretending the games are randomised drills.  Everyone wins - they get games, you get practice/training.

Jose TableTennisGuy

Jose TableTennisGuy Posted 4 years ago

Thanks, Alois and Rohan! I'm just going to keep on going, because as you said all practice is good. Hopefully it will help my development! I think it actually does, little by little. Thanks for the encouragement! 

Marv Anderson

Marv Anderson Posted 4 years ago

I also play occasionally against players that I can beat easily.  I have found that I can limit my game to only particular shots, and that will even the match up while improving my skills at those particular shots.  For example, always serve in a way that is easy for the opponent to return, instead of trying to win a point with a serve.  Or never use your loop if that is a strength of yours.


The other thing you can do is to focus totally on fundamentals, since you do not have to worry about whether you win the point or not.  Concentrate on always having perfect footwork for any shot, or making sure that you watch the ball all the way to impact (a weakness of mine.)


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