Watching the ball

Table Tennis Mental Preparation

Last updated 8 years ago

sebastian navarro

sebastian navarro Asked 8 years ago

Hi Alois/Jeff

I know this has come up several times already, however in your responses you really seem to emphasise the importance of this skill, hence my followup question. 

like many other players, until very recently I centred my practice around learning new techniques etc, and never really thought about tracking the ball as a skill in itself. As a result I've spent a lot of time focussing on other aspects of the game (eg footwork) that I thought might be the reason for my lack of  consistency, but now it seems to me the problem might be more fundamental.

My question is: should I focus on really being able to track the ball very well until it becomes second nature, and then work on developing more advanced techniques or should they be done in tandem? The last few sessions I have really focussed on trying to watch the ball as closely as possible with decent results however it felt quite unnatural, almost as if the mental effort required to watch the ball was affecting my ability to actually play my strokes.  

What would you suggest?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Sebastian,

It is great that you are starting to put a little more emphasis on the tracking of the ball.

It will feel strange to start with.  It is like when you were starting to learn the forehand counter hit.  It needed a lot of conscious thought.  Same with this, it will feel like you are really straining to watch the ball at times.  The more you do it the better you will get at it.  In your practice session spend a little time each session where your total focus is on watching the ball.  A good time is during the warm up of forehand to forehand and backhand to backhand.

With any of the drills that you do, also take some time during some of the drills to forget about the footwork or the strokes and just focus on the tracking.

So, during your session to the outsider it may look like you are doing the  same thing but in fact your focus can be on something completely different.

You can do this with more advanced techniques as well.  Sometimes the body can surprise you with what it is able to do naturally when you just watch the ball.


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sebastian navarro

sebastian navarro Posted 8 years ago

Hi Alois,


Thanks for your response, I will continue to persevere with it. So overall, it is correct to assume that when this skill is under-developed, it forms a significant gap in standard ? I think that with most top players, it is already highly developed at quite a young age.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

Yes I think it is a crucial skill to achieve your potential.

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