Which is more important: style or keep the ball on table?

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 9 years ago

Hamid B

Hamid B Asked 9 years ago

Hello Jeff and Alois,

I have a question that has been bugging me for years. I am really seeking the answer , but couldn't find a satisfactory one yet.

Here it is (the dilemma):

When one is playing a casual competition (as well as during the training), is it more important to keep the ball rolling (so bring the ball back), or rather to stick to his style? (my goal here is to improve the table tennis skills, not gaining points).

To visualize how one aspect is conflicting the other, you can picture in your mind someone who tries to give a serve with his best concentration (a short one) , immediately after the serve, he takes the standard (and correct) position to prepare for receiving the ball. He gets the ball back completely off the corner (too far) or just get the ball where he didn't expect it at all. Now, since he is not skilled enough, he can try to either bring the ball back - so he jumps towards the ball to successfully bring it back, or alternatively he can keep 100% of his concentration on his style/strokes to perform them as they should be performed and doesn't give a damn about hitting the ball (If the ball is hit, nice, if not, no regret).

I should say the mainstream is the first one. Out of 100 players, 90 go for the first approach. The other 10 are people who really want to just-do-it-right-at-any-price.

Man's mind also has tendency toward the first approach, but apparently the 2nd one is better (well, this is just my opinion)

What is an experienced coach's opinion on this?


Hamid (from Netherland)


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Hamid,

Interesting dilemma.

I think there is a place for both approaches.  I think initially when learning the game it is good to focus purely on technique.  As you progress though it is also important to learn how to win games.

The approach I suggest is that in a match where the result is known at the start (you are playing a much better or much worse player) think about your technique.  Try to do things technically well.

However in a match where the result isn't known against a close rival, then think about winning the match and finding ways with tactics and strategies to win points.

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