What is timing

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 3 months ago

Oscar Moe Myint

Oscar Moe Myint Asked 7 months ago

Dear Sir,

Let me know how would you define 'Timing'? Does it refer to right movement or right contact to the ball?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 months ago

Hi Oscar,

It is the contact on the ball.  As it suggests it is when you are hitting the ball.

You can use different timing for the same shot with different effect.  Experiment with the timing and see what happens.

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Oscar Moe Myint

Oscar Moe Myint Posted 7 months ago

  1. Thanks,Sir.

Rohan I am

Rohan I am Posted 7 months ago

Alois, I recently heard Mariann Domonkos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9gklftSy1Y) describe timing as being when in your stroke you contact the ball rather than when in the ball's flight.  Her concept makes sense, but by definition 'timing' can relate to any aspect of TT, can't it - timing of your footwork, timing of your weight transfer, timing of your shot preparation, timing of the contact point in the ball's flight path, timing of the contact in you stroke path, timing of your victory (or anguish) cry ...

Obviously all these different elements combine to create an overall, and unique, timing for every shot and a changes to the timing of any of one the elements can have a significant (albeit sometimes subtle) impact the shot outcome.  So why do we focus so much on the ball flight path?

Oscar Moe Myint

Oscar Moe Myint Posted 7 months ago

So do you mean timing is a combination of every right movements?

Rohan I am

Rohan I am Posted 7 months ago

Yes and no Oscar.  It is semantics really but timing is a generic word to describe both the big picture and also the individual, detailed aspects. While there is no right or wrong timing (timing is what it is), optimal timing of all movements in response to the incoming ball (speed, direction, spin, placement, depth, etc.) will produce the optimal outcome.  Optimal does not necessarily mean 'perfect', it means the outcome you were intending.

'Timing' is the PIT (point in time) at which any 2 or more things (objects, actions, etc.) intersect. So that can describe the intersection of 2 or more things within one of the elements, 2 or more of the elements or any combination thereof.

For example, the flight of the ball and arc of the stroke, or the placement of your feet as your weight has shifted 80% to your trailing leg at the moment your stroke has reached the beginning of the forward movement at the instant the approaching ball makes contact with the table, as your opponent moves in anticipation of your return, etc.  There are so many variables (not all controlled by you) that altering the timing of a few variables could actually deliver very similar outcomes, i.e. "there's more than one way to skin a cat" but the outcome is the same.  You and I could employ very different 'timing' in response to the same incoming shot but we may both may produce a fast, low topspin down the line into the opponent's back hand corner.

Not being a 'natural' player I need to break things into sub-processes, improve those then rebuilt the whole. So to improve my overall timing I focus on individual intersections, e.g. weight shift relative to footwork, weight shift relative to stroke preparation, etc. and then bring together weight shift/footwork with weight shift/stroke prep, etc. and then incorporate the next sub-process.

That said, one thing I know without any doubt is that the right timing just 'feels' right - you instinctively know whether you got it right or wrong to achieve the outcome you were after, usually well before you observe the outcome.


Oscar Moe Myint

Oscar Moe Myint Posted 6 months ago

It's so interesting. Insightful !

Thank you so much, Rohan I Am.

Rohan I am

Rohan I am Posted 6 months ago

You're welcome Oscar, although I'm not certain it helps.  It may just make the process of learning and improving TT more complex. 

The Chinese way of coaching is critical of the process-oriented one I describe above as they believe it leads to a more 'robotic' playing style.  My previous coach used to say I was too analytical during play and played too mechanically.  He was Chinese. They prefer a more holistic, natural approach that incorporates all the elements to develop a natural feel for the timing of every PIT throughout the stroke, believing this makes a player more instinctively adaptable.  I suspect they are correct but I'm analytical, detailed and process-driven by nature (I'm a project manager) so it is difficult to adopt any other approach.

Good luck with the TT.

Oscar Moe Myint

Oscar Moe Myint Posted 3 months ago

If so, Roham I Am, how would you define 'Timing' 'in brief?

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