How to Improve Your Game

There are many ways to improve your skill level, either free or paid. Try some of the methods below and reach your potential!

  1. Get a Coach ($20-40/hr)

    A professional coach is definitely the number one way to improve your game. Coaches are experts with a lot of experience and the proper knowledge of all the strokes, serves and strategies of the game. They'll teach you new strokes, critique your form and accelerate your learning.

  2. Perform Proper Drills (Free)

    A lot of players go to a table tennis club and spend 90% of the time playing games. While it's important to play matches and get used to various game situations, it's much more important to refine your strokes and footwork by doing drills. Repeating the same stroke over and over again will do wonders to improve your consistency and eventually these strokes can become second-nature and you'll be able to execute them without thinking.

    It is commonly recommended that you spend 66% of your time doing drills and 33% playing games.

    • You can start with simply drills like doing the same stroke over and over again. Have the coach or partner feed the ball to the same location each time so you can drill that stroke for consistency.
    • Then have the partner feed the ball to different locations so you'll have to move to get into position for each stroke. This will train your footwork.
    • Then mix up different strokes with different locations, mixing in forehands, backhands, loops, smashes, etc.
    • You can also try known drills like the Falkenberg, a very popular footwork drill.

  3. Videotape Yourself (Free, if you have a camcorder)

    We all think our strokes look great until we see ourselves on video. You'll notice major flaws in your form and see what you're doing wrong. Videotape yourself during practice, and also in games and tournament matches. Look for problems with your form, as well as strategic mistakes. You can even post these on YouTube and go on a forum and ask people to critique you. Many people will gladly offer their advice.

  4. Watch Training Videos ($0 - 30 per DVD)

    There are many training videos available to guide you. Most DVDs cost around $30 each. You can also find some free videos on YouTube.

    Also try browsing the Training Videos section on the Table Tennis Database. Videos there are categorized by each stroke.

    I also recommend the Table Tennis Master series of DVDs on Looping (heavy topspin attack) and Smashing, which contain tons of helpful tips on the stroke, as well as a series of training drills that progressively develop your stroke and footwork:
    Forehand Loop Mastery
    Forehand Smash Mastery

  5. Get a Robot ($)

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  6. Play in Sanctioned Tournaments ($15 per event)

    Playing in tournaments will help you to develop your mental game. In practice you can easily play at your best because there's no added pressure of a tournament match. Once you enter the big stage, you're likely to get nervous and often that leads to losing your confidence and playing a more defensive style that you never intended. Play more tournaments in high-pressure situations to develop your mental strength so you can play with confidence just like you do in practice matches.

    Some indicators of mental strength problems in pressure situations:

    1. You commonly have trouble getting the last point when you have Game Point (eg. 10-6).
    2. You lose to opponents in a tournament who you always beat in practice.
    3. You make more mistakes on serve (ie: hit the net, miss the table, etc.)

  7. ooo ($30)

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